Serena Dyer

Serena Dyer

Assistant Curator (Reference Collection)

Job description

I work with the Reference Collection, part of the Gallery's Archive and Library. It is my role to assist visitors to the public search room with accessing items within the collection of prints, drawings, and the Gallery's records of known British portraits. I spend the majority of my time responding to research enquiries about the collection from external academics, portrait owners, and private researchers, as well as assisting internal curators with their research.


I studied for a BA in History and Art History from the University of York, where I wrote my dissertation on perceptions of fashion plates in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. I then proceeded to an MA in Eighteenth Century Studies, funded by the Pasold Research Fund, The K G Ponting Memorial Bursary and The Costume Society. My MA thesis was entitled '“We Will Send You What is Most Fashionable”: Sociability and the Sensory Consumption of Dress Beyond the Shop, 1760-1830'. I am now studying for PhD at the University of Warwick, funded by the ESRC. My research, entitled 'Fitting Fashion: Clothing the Eighteenth-Century Body', focusses on the themes of fitting, suitability, and the legibility of appearances in visual and material culture. Prior to joining the Gallery, I worked as part of the curatorial team at Leeds Museums and Galleries, and as Collections Assistant on the West Yorkshire Textile Heritage Project.

Research interests

My primary research interest is eighteenth- and nineteenth-century dress history. My other interests include consumption and retail history, sensory history, caricature and satirical prints, experimental archaeology (such as garment reproduction), homes and domestic spaces, the country house, urban history, and material culture.

Recent Publications

My first book, on headwear in the early nineteenth century, was published in 2011. I have written numerous papers on haptic shopping, experimental archaeology, and clothing consumption. I also write for Worn Through: Apparel from an Academic Perspective, Unmaking Things, and the Journal of Victorian Culture Online. 

 To see more of Serena’s research activities, visit her page.