Sketching the Sublime

Sketching the Sublime

Date and time

Saturday 23 March, 10am–1.15pm

Christopher Riopelle, Christopher Baker, Margaretta Lovell, Jennifer Raab and Sarah Turner


£10/£8 concessions (£5 students with valid student ID)

Online sales for this event are closed. Tickets will be available for sale outside the Sainsbury Wing Theatre before the event (cash only)

Is it possible to surpass scale and sketch the sublime?

With a focus on American landscape painting, including the oil sketches of Frederic Church, this study morning will trace the development of sketching in oil.

You will hear from experts on American landscape and the relationships between American and European traditions.



Arrivals and refreshments


Introduction: Christopher Riopelle, Curator of Post 1800 Paintings, National Gallery, London


Sarah Turner – A broad brush? The landscape oil sketch in 19th-century Europe and America


Jennifer Raab – The Scientific and the Sublime: Frederic Church's Landscape Sketches




Short break


Christopher Baker – Church’s 'Niagara Falls from the American Side': The Creation of an American Masterpiece and its Early History


Margaretta Lovell – Varieties of Landscape Experience: Painters, Paintings, and Patrons


Discussion and questions


End of study morning


About the speakers

Sarah Turner is a lecturer in the Department of History of Art at the University of York specialising in 19th- and 20th-century art in Britain and the British Empire, with a particular focus on the reception and display of South Asian art in Britain. She joined the Department of History of Art in 2008 after completing her PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and teaches modules on 19th- and 20th-century American, European and South Asian art.

Jennifer Raab received her PhD from Yale University and is an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Her publications include articles on Frederic Church in 'Art History' and forthcoming in 'The Art Bulletin', and a catalogue essay on Dan Flavin’s collection of Hudson River School drawings for the Morgan Library & Museum. She has just completed a book manuscript, 'The Art and Science of Detail: Frederic Church and Nineteenth-Century Landscape Painting'.

Christopher Baker is Director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh. He was Deputy Director of the Scottish National Gallery (2003–2012) and is currently cataloguing the English and American paintings in the Scottish National Gallery’s collection. Exhibitions he has organised include 'The Discovery of Spain' and 'Turner and Italy' (both 2009), while his books include 'The National Gallery Complete Illustrated Catalogue' (1995: co-author); 'Collecting Prints and Drawings in Europe, c.1500-1750' (2003: co-editor) and 'English Drawings and Watercolours 1600-1900: The National Gallery of Scotland' (2011).

Margaretta Lovell is the Jay D. McEvoy Professor of History of Art at the University of California, Berkeley. She received her PhD in American Studies at Yale and specialises in American and British art, architecture, design and literature. Her books include prizewinners 'Art in a Season of Revolution: Painters, Artisans and Patrons in Early America', and 'A Visitable Past: Views of Venice by American Artists, 1860-1915'. She is currently working on a book on the antebellum landscape painter, Fitz H. Lane.

Find out about the exhibition Through American Eyes: Frederic Church and the Landscape Oil Sketch

Image above: Frederic Church, Hudson, New York at Sunset (detail), 1867
© Smithsonian Institution, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution/Art Resource, New York/Scala, Florence. Photo: Matt Flynn

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