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Professor Matthew Potter


Department: Arts

I am a Professor in Art and Design History in the Department of Arts.

After completing my undergraduate degree in Modern History, at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, I studied the History of Art at a postgraduate level at the Courtauld Institute and Birkbeck College, University of London. Between 2004 and 2011 I taught at Oxford Brookes, Plymouth, and Leicester Universities, before joining Northumbria University in October 2011.

My research is on the history of visual culture, with a particular focus on the period between 1800 and 1950 and themes including art education, art collecting, historical art practices (artworks with historic subjects), and international cultural debates and exchanges, primarily in relation to the British World.

I teach on art historical and theoretical modules that feed into the BA Fine Art and MA Conservation programmes.

Matthew Potter

My first monograph was The Inspirational Genius of Germany: British Art and Germanism, 1850-1939 (Manchester University Press: hardback: 2012; paperback: 2016) which used materials from fourteen UK archives to recover the British investigations of German art and artistic ideas overlooked by modern historians largely due to the geopolitics of the Cold War. I followed this with articles on topics including Germanism and art history at Cambridge University (2009); Kenneth Clark’s lectures on German art historians (2014:; German art exhibitions in London, 1853-1934 (2018); the fin-de-siècle German reception of James Gillray and Thomas Rowlandson (2019); and Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s reception in Germany, 1873-1912 (2019).

I am the editor and a contributing author to The concept of the ‘Master’ in art education in Britain and Ireland, 1770 to the present (Ashgate: hardback: 2013; paperback: 2016). I have also written articles on the teaching activities of Ford Madox Brown and Kenneth Clark.

My second monograph was on British Art for Australia: The acquisition of artworks from the United Kingdom by Australian national galleries, 1860-1953 (Routledge, 2019). This used material from twelve Australian and five UK archives to explore, for the first time, the engagement of the five ‘national’ art galleries of the different regions of Australia with the UK art market. The history of their collecting activities offers insights into the cultural diplomacy Australians engaged in to negotiate their own hybrid British identity and relation to the British empire, challenging assumptions that Australian art galleries unquestioningly followed UK examples and instructions.

I am the editor of and a contributing author to a second edited collection on Representing the past in the art of the long nineteenth century: Historicism, Postmodernism, and Internationalism (Routledge: 2021) which examines globalised visual historicism in the long nineteenth century.

I am currently working on my third monograph on the afterlife of Georgian satirical cartoons: for details please see

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • British Art for Australia, 1860-1953: The Acquisition of Artworks from the United Kingdom by Australian National Galleries, Potter, M. 14 Jan 2019
  • The inspirational genius of Germany: British art and Germanism, 1850-1939, Potter, M. May 2012
  • Representing the Past in the Art of the Long Nineteenth Century: Historicism, Postmodernism, and Internationalism, Potter, M. 2022
  • The concept of the ‘Master’ in art education in Britain and Ireland, 1770 to the present, Potter, M. Oct 2013
  • ‘Bold liberals who fought for the cause of freedom’: the German Reception of the Graphic Satires of James Gillray and Thomas Rowlandson at the Fin de Siècle (1895-1908), Potter, M. 4 May 2019, In: Visual Culture in Britain
  • National intelligence, spiritual rapprochement, and mystic beefsteak/Nationalcharakter, geistige Annäherung und mystisches Beefsteak: the reception of modern German art exhibitions in London, 1853-1934/Rezeption der Londoner Ausstellungen moderner deutscher Kunst 1853-1934, Potter, M. 1 Jul 2018, London 1938 - Defending ‘degenerate’ art, Wädenswil, NIMBUS
  • Breaking the shell of the humanist egg: Kenneth Clark’s University of London lectures on German art historians, Potter, M. Dec 2014, In: Journal of Art Historiography
  • Fostering in the people the purest types of beauty: Ford Madox Brown and democratic art education, Potter, M. Nov 2014, In: Visual Culture in Britain
  • Orientalism and its visual regimes: Lovis Corinth and imperialism in the art of the Kaiserreich, Potter, M. 2010, A History of Visual Culture: Western civilisation from the 18th to the 21st century, Oxford, Berg
  • The ‘Abysmal inexcusable middle class’, Painting, Commemoration, and the First World War, Potter, M. 2017, The Edinburgh Companion to the First World War and the Arts, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press

  • Andrew Schaer Gustav Stickley and His Daring-Byzantine Circus of Dreams Start Date: 25/09/2013 End Date: 22/08/2023
  • Lucas Ferguson-Sharp Miner Painter or Minor Master: Norman Cornish's Modernism and his Relationship to the Art Historical Canon Start Date: 10/05/2023
  • Edward Lawrenson An experimental study into social history archives at Beamish Museum, challenging the credibility of existing narratives and developing alternative interpretations and methods of communication. Start Date: 01/10/2022
  • Catherine Wilkinson Exploring a relationship between rasa theory and British metamodern visual art. Start Date: 01/10/2022
  • Ben Thompson Painted caricatures, comedies and humorous images in Britain in the long nineteenth century. Start Date: 01/10/2021
  • Valerie Webb Edward Stott (1855-1918): The Forgotten Artist Start Date: 04/10/2011 End Date: 25/02/2016
  • Laia Anguix Vilches From wood shavings to an art collection: the early history of the Laing Art Gallery (Newcastle) and the creation of its permanent collection (1904-1957) Start Date: 01/03/2017 End Date: 15/07/2020

  • History of Art PhD September 01 2002
  • History of Art MA August 31 1999
  • History BA (Hons)

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