Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships

In 2013 the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) awarded the Thames Consortium, comprising the National Portrait Gallery, the National Maritime Museum and the National Archives, six Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships (CDPs) per year for the next three years. These CDPs are intended to support doctoral research within the Thames Consortium in collaboration with various UK Higher Education Institutions. The aim of these awards is to sustain and promote high-quality research and skills within the arts and humanities sector, also providing doctoral students with opportunities to gain first-hand experience of work outside an academic environment. Through these awards, the National Portrait Gallery and its Consortium partners are able to offer increased opportunities for interdisciplinary research, knowledge exchange and training. Details of the current studentships within the Consortium are below.


Applications are invited for an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with the National Portrait Gallery in partnership with the University of Bristol:

‘The production, transmission and reception of engraved and photographic theatrical portraits in the mid-19th century and their contribution to the promotion of celebrity’

About this project

This project aims to investigate popular forms of theatrical portraits (predominantly engraved and photographic formats) across the mid-19th century (broadly 1830-1870) and examine the ways in which visual representation of performers was transmitted and received and, through their transmission and reception, contributed to the construction of celebrity identity.

The mid-period of the 19th century is significant because it marked the gradual transition from print to photographic media and forms of reproduction/illustration for the dissemination and consumption of popular portraiture.  By focusing on theatrical portraiture of this period, the project addresses a significant historical gap in the literature of theatre studies, which has largely focused on the periods up to the Regency and from the late nineteenth century.  By investigating the relationship between popular portrait formats and the construction of celebrity, it also addresses a recognised gap in the existing literature around celebrity studies and throws light on a period that is significant to the emergence of popular celebrity, as the precursor to twentieth century interpretations of celebrity and stardom.

Project Supervisors:

Further information on the proposed topic, is available here.

Applications for this PhD Studentship are now closed


Current studentships from the Thames Consortium

Started in 2013

The early National Portrait Gallery and Sir George Scharf: creating an intellectual and professional artistic world, 1770-1909, the National Portrait Gallery, London and the University of Sussex

War widows and orphans in the north of England during the 1640s and 1650s, The National Archives and the University of Leicester

Uncertainty of Damage Functions in Preventative Conservation, The National Archives & the Centre for Sustainable Heritage, Bartlett School for Graduate Studies, University College London

Patronage and the Royal Navy, 1771-1815, the National Maritime Museum and University College London

The Cultural Worlds of African Palm Oil: trade, consumption and museum collecting in Britain and Nigeria, 1850-1900, the National Maritime Museum and the University of Oxford

Imperial Thames: London, River and Empire, 1660-1830, the National Maritime Museum and Queen Mary, University of London