History of Art PhD Students

Take a look at what our current History of Art PhD students are researching.

Vivien Bird

Vivien Bird, History of Art PhD studentVivien holds a BA in the History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art and an MA from Birkbeck College, London. She was the Anne Christopherson Fellow at the British Museum’s Department of Prints and Drawings (2017/18).

Vivien’s PhD research focuses on Richard Payne Knight (1751-1824) and his collection. Payne Knight was a member of the Society of Dilettanti, one of the founders of the British Institution, a Trustee of the British Museum, and he enjoyed a considerable reputation during his lifetime as a art connoisseur and authority on ancient art. His collection of ancient bronzes, coins, cameos and Old Master and British drawings was one of the best known in Britain, and was bequeathed to the British Museum in 1824.

The aim of her thesis is to provide a thorough reappraisal of Payne Knight’s activities as a collector and patron whilst situating his collection within the cultural and intellectual history of late eighteenth-century England. For this research she explores specific contextual factors that could have impacted the assemblage of the objects in his collection that have not yet been discussed in the scholarly literature, in addition to relating them to eighteenth-century debates on the origins of mythology, symbolism and culture, themes which were of central importance to Payne Knight and his circle.

Supervisor: Adriano Aymonino

Margaret Iacono

Margaret Iacono, History of Art PhD studentMargaret received her Master of Arts degree from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Barnard College, Columbia University, with a dual major in History of Art and English Literature. She is currently Associate Research Curator at The Frick Collection, where she has been a staff member since 2000. Her research interests include northern European art of the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries and the history of collecting. She has received research grant awards from the Paul Mellon Centre, London (2016), The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2014), and a Francis Haskell Memorial Scholarship/The Burlington Magazine (2014).

Margaret’s PhD research concentrates on the art dealer Charles Stewart Carstairs (1895-1928), a member of M. Knoedler & Co. and director of the firm’s London headquarters for more than two decades. Carstairs was an adviser to eminent American collectors like Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919) and Andrew W. Mellon (1855–1937). Despite this, he has never been the focus of a comprehensive study and has consequently remained a largely overlooked figure in the history of collecting. Her dissertation will examine Carstairs’s career from several perspective including his role within the Knoedler firm, relationship with fellow art dealers, business strategies and overall influence on the art market and history of collecting.

Supervisor: Barbara Lasic