Since 2004 I have been cataloguing the portraits of later Victorian personalities in the Collection. The work is a two part process and entails researching portraits of people who flourished between c. 1860 and c.1900: cataloguing their Gallery portraits and, separately, compiling their iconographies in all media in public collections worldwide. This double process provides a unique overview of the portraiture of the period. See Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue. I have recently curated the display ‘The artist’s cause at heart’: M.H. Spielmann, Collector and Donor’ (2014-15).
My first job at the National Portrait Gallery was as a museum assistant in 1980. I had studied at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris (Diploma 1973) and at University College London (French and History of Art, BA Hons, 1977). In the 1980s I contributed as a researcher to the National Portrait Gallery exhibitions including Handel, 1985 and FX Winterhalter and the Courts of Europe, 1987. During the 1990s I worked on the Brinsley Ford Archive at the Paul Mellon Centre; this led to assisting with research on the exhibition Vases and Volcanoes at the British Museum in 1996. I returned to the Gallery in 1996, employed as a picture researcher for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Since then I have worked on 17th Century print publishers and early mezzotints, funded by the NPG and a Mellon Research Grant, and taken an MA in History of Art at UCL.
My dissertations for UCL in 1977 and 2008 were both about the reception and interpretation of art from earlier periods in nineteenth century France and England. I am presently researching the life of M. H. Spielmann critic, editor and Gallery benefactor; and I retain a personal interest in prints and printmaking.
C Blackett-Ord and S Turner, 'Early mezzotints: prints published by Richard Thompson and Alexander Browne', Walpole Society LXX, 2008
C Blackett-Ord, F Pollak, L Wrapson, Print Quarterly: an index 1994-2003, London 2009
C Blackett-Ord, ‘Shaping the master: the emergence of Donatello in nineteenth century Britain’, Sculpture Journal, 22, 2013