Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme

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The National Gallery offers studentships in partnership with higher education institutions, to enable students to study for a PhD at a UK university. These studentships are funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme.

The studentships focus on specific themes relevant to the Gallery's collection and wider research themes. For examples of our current doctoral studentships, see the Gallery's research partnerships. For more general information, find out about the scope of National Gallery research and its four research themes

Each studentship will be jointly supervised by a member of the Gallery's staff and an academic from a UK Higher Education Institution (HEI), as with the existing Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDA) scheme. The HEI administers the studentship, receiving funds from the AHRC for fees and to cover the student’s maintenance. The Gallery provides additional financial support to cover travel and related costs in carrying out research.

More information about Collaborative Doctoral Awards is available on the AHRC website [External link]

Further details

Information for universities

Proposals for new studentships are developed by National Gallery staff (as co-supervisors) together with a named university partner (as principal supervisor) and are chosen on their academic strengths and clear support for the National Gallery’s research objectives. We welcome expressions of interest and project ideas from any UK university. The deadline for applications for the next round of projects will be advertised here.

For more information about partnering with the National Gallery, advice on potential internal collaborators and guidance for applications contact Marika Spring, headofresearch@ng-london.org.uk.

Information for students

Doctoral studentship: Navigating the Canals: Making and Moving Venetian Renaissance Paintings

The University of Warwick and the National Gallery, London invite applications for a fully funded AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award PhD studentship: “Navigating the Canals: Making and Moving Venetian Renaissance Paintings”.

This project intends to study the challenges posed by Venice’s unique physical and geographical environment on the manufacture and delivery of paintings, particularly large scale, within the lagoon city and further afield to local and distant markets.

The research will concentrate on Venetian paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries and aims to recover lost processes, peregrinations and alterations to the paintings’ supports through a combined study of historical records and technical evidence from the paintings themselves, framed by new research questions.

Deadline: 1 May

Further details and how to apply here

Doctoral studentship: The Imagined Made Real: the interaction between sculpture and painting in the work of Carlo Crivelli

Oxford Brookes University and the National Gallery, London invite applications for a full-time 3-year Collaborative Doctoral Partnership award, funded by the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme, to conduct research on the theme: ‘The Imagined Made Real:  the interaction between sculpture and painting in the work of Carlo Crivelli’.

The PhD will make a focused study of one relatively unstudied 15th-century painter whose work was profoundly influenced by sculpture and three-dimensionality:  the Venetian Carlo Crivelli (1430/5 – c. 1494). The National Gallery holds one of the two richest collections of his work (the other is the Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan), and it is arguably the most varied and representative group of paintings by Crivelli in existence. This project will allow for a re-appraisal of the interaction, both physical and ideological, between painting and sculpture in 15th-century Italy. This research project would build on the shifting paradigms of our understanding of the relationships between the ‘real’ space of sculpted relief and the imagined space of a painted scene, concentrating on one painter. Crivelli not only depicted sculpture in his paintings, but also used many 3D elements as part of them. This makes his work an ideal candidate for this study.

Deadline: 15 May 2015

Further details and how to apply here

Doctoral studentship: Aspects of manufacture, trade and history of the blue pigment smalt and the relationship between its use in painting and other branches of the arts

The University of Glasgow and the National Gallery,  London invite applications for a fully funded AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award PhD studentship: Aspects of manufacture, trade and history of the blue pigment smalt and the relationship between its use in painting and other branches of the arts.

Smalt is a blue pigment composed of cobalt-containing glass ground into a powder. It was most common as an artists' pigment between the 16th and 18th centuries and was widely used in all types of painting, including in oil, watercolour, wall paintings and polychrome sculpture. Its instability and the mechanisms and factors influencing the extent of deterioration have been well studied by various research groups. Some aspects of its trade and manufacture have also been investigated. However, more recent research at the National Gallery, studying the elemental composition of smalt in paintings in the collection through quantitative analysis, has raised new research questions. Some interesting differences in cobalt content that show trends over time were observed, as well as variations in the elements associated with it, both of which may perhaps relate to aspects of the history of its manufacture, such as preparation of the ore, or different recipes. Other variations in composition that seem to correlate with differences in its stability between different batches of smalt on the same paintings have been noted on paintings. Cobalt was used as a colorant more widely, including in glass, ceramics and enamels, and smalt was used not only in painting but also for the decorative arts and even as a laundry blue. There are many connections to be made, therefore, with other branches of the arts and other industries that shed light on the history and manufacture of smalt as a pigment, giving interesting opportunities not only for research outcomes but also for dissemination activities that draw attention to these relationships.

Further research would help us better understand the history of this pigment, and ultimately the implications for interpretation of results from examination of smalt in paintings. This concerns dating, but also artists' intentions, by being able to define more effectively the choices that were made, such as the use of different grades of the pigment either for aesthetic or economic reasons. New research on archival sources is needed, informed by the new observations from quantitative analysis. This historical research will be enhanced by practical experiments reconstructing historical recipes in order to help interpret and understand how they influence the properties and characteristics of the pigment. The project aims to establish developments in these manufacturing processes, and the artists’ choices and use of smalt, through a combined study of historical sources from a variety of disciplines, as well as technical evidence from the paintings themselves.

Deadline: 15 June 2015

Further details and how to apply here