My research is focused within the 18th and 19th centuries, and has dealt with French material, and also Rome. Topics I have worked on include iconoclasm, various aspects of the visual culture of the French Revolution, Italian travel (especially to and in Rome). My current work centres on questions of health, disease, and hygiene, and their significance in shaping in material and metaphorical terms the experience of Rome; a particular aspect of this project is to reassess the Roman landscape as a subject for visual representation.
I have recently edited two volumes of essays, Regarding Romantic Rome (Peter Lang, 2007), and Cinematic Rome (Troubadour, 2008), and curated Ruination, an exhibition for the Djanogly Gallery (Feb.-April 2008). My most recent book, Roman Fever: influence, infection, and the image of Rome (Yale University Press, 2013), discussed how ideas about influence and its workings were shared across medical and cultural fields. My future plans are:
to write a book on the origins of the flâneur;
two articles on the critical reception of Ingres' portrait Monsieur Bertin;
and to reflect on the evolving representation of Rome in the early 19th century, with particular reference to the impact of photography, more specifically the work of the great Rome-based Scottish Robert Macpherson.
I taught the following topics:
French art and architecture from the Renaissance to the 19th century
Histories of Paris, and of Rome
The French Revolution
My research has focused on aspects of French art from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Particular interests include:
Art criticism - its invention, variety and political significance, before during and after the era of the French Revolution;
The way dress became a highly sensitive indicator of status and allegiance during the Revolution after 1789;
Travel to, and experience of Rome, and also the interplay between photography and pre-existing visual media (painting, drawing, prints) in representing the city and its surroundings. The work of Robert Macpherson is an important element in this topic.
Other themes I have looked in to include iconoclasm, shopsigns and the presence of imagery in urban spaces.
I am currently working on a book on the origin of the flaneur - the pedestrian observer associated with 19th-century Paris. My approach is to trace the formation of this type in the changing attotudes to the politics of space in revolutionary Paris, and subsequent decades. In parallel, I am investigating the passages or arcades, and their contents, since they have been assumed to be the quintessential site for the flaneur's scrutiny and traversal. I also address the existence of the flaneuse, and suggest that this female equivalent in abundantly evident in aspects of early 19th-century Parisian social life and imagery.
2021. 'C'est un bourgeois, mais non un bourgeois ordinaire': the contested afterlife of Ingres's portrait of Louis-Francois Bertin' Zeitschrift fur Kunstgeschichte. (In Press.)
2021. Ingres's portrait of Louis-Francois Bertin at the Salon of 1833 and the problem of the juste milieu Oxford Art Journal.
2019. In: MIKE BROERS, ed., ‘Charles Philipon’s ‘Mascarades improvisées’ and the imagery of change in Restoration France’, in Mike Broers and Ambrogio Caiani (eds), The Price of Peace: Modernising the Ancien Regime (IB Tauris, 2019)