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Making a Market for Art: Agnew’s and the National Gallery, 1850-1944

Making a Market for Art: Agnew’s and the National Gallery, 1850-1944

A fully-funded PhD studentship in partnership with the University of Manchester.

Collaborative Doctoral Partnership

Starting in October 2014 as part of the AHRC’s new Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme, the award provides an opportunity to undertake high quality research combined with an exceptional opportunity to gain practical work experience within one of the world’s foremost art galleries - leading to a PhD with one of the UK’s leading universities.

Research project

The aim of the project is to investigate the relationship between Agnew’s and the National Gallery, particularly studying how an art dealer creates a market for their goods, and how a public collector (specifically, the National Gallery) responds to and shapes that market. The research will investigate the history of the National Gallery’s engagement with Agnew’s and the impact of this influential dealer on the formation of the Gallery’s collection; for example, by examining the tensions and synergies between commerce and philanthropy, and between profit and patriotism. This will be the first in-depth study of a remarkably long relationship between a particular dealer and the National Gallery; in turn, it will provide an important historical and critical perspective on the operation of the Gallery within the art market.

The recent acquisition of the Agnew’s Archive by the National Gallery provides a very significant research resource, which has not previously been available to scholars for sustained, critical study. This project will constitute the first disinterested analysis of the data contained in the Agnew’s Archive, contextualised in relation to the parallel history of collecting contained in the National Gallery records.

About the Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships

The National Gallery offers a small number of Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and run in partnership with higher education institutions. These studentships focus on specific themes relevant to the Gallery's collection and wider research themes.