University of Oxford
Supervised by Dr Hannah Smith, University of Oxford and Tabitha Barber, Curator (British art to 1800), Tate
October 2017 –

Antonio Verrio, The Heaven Room c.1690–8

Antonio Verrio
The Heaven Room c.1690–8
Burghley House, Lincolnshire
Photo by Amy Lim

This research will investigate networks of art patronage linked to the later Stuart courts. This was a period of significant political upheaval, encompassing the Restoration of the monarchy, the forced abdication of James II, a shift in power from the monarch to the aristocracy following the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688 and a period of two Queens Regnant, in Mary II and Anne.

This research will question whether the erosion of the monarch’s political power during this period was reflected in matters of artistic taste and commissioning. To what extent did the crown relinquish its role as arbiter of taste, and to whom did this leadership pass? Leading members of the aristocracy, a growing mercantile class and new networks of power and interest were all significant commissioners of art. Following the upheaval of the mid-seventeenth century, wealthy individuals invested in building, decorating and furnishing lavish properties in London and the countryside, commissioning works of architecture, canvas paintings, decorative painting, wood carving, moulded plaster and tapestries. Focusing on case studies of key art patrons, this project will trace the influence of the court on their commissions, either directly, as leaders of artistic patronage and fashion, or indirectly, with the court as a centre of political, social and artistic networks.

Under the AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme, this research will contribute to the development of an exhibition of art from this period to be held at Tate Britain in 2020.

What led you to do a collaborative PhD with Tate?

My research is supporting the exhibition British Baroque: Power and Illusion (4 February – 19 April 2020, Tate Britain) which brings together many magnificent but lesser-known works of art from a period that is often overlooked. Working on the exhibition is a fantastic experience and it means that my research will have an audience beyond the library shelf.

About Amy Lim

Amy Lim is a historian with a special interest in the art and architecture of the long eighteenth century with published and forthcoming articles on related topics.

University profile

Twitter @amyplusthree