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Katherine Gazzard

Katherine Gazzard

Collaborative Doctoral Award Student

Project Description

I am an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership student working with the National Portrait Gallery, the National Maritime Museum and the University of East Anglia. I work closely with the collections at the Gallery, together with those at the National Maritime Museum, to research my PhD project, which is provisionally entitled ‘Portraiture and the British naval officer, c.1740‑1805’.


I completed my BA (Hons) in History of Art at the University of Cambridge, graduating in 2014. During my undergraduate studies, I undertook a research internship at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge looking at eighteenth-century ceramics. In 2014-15, I studied at the Courtauld Institute of Art for an MA in History of Art, focussing on visual art in Britain during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815). I was awarded the Courtauld’s Berger Foundation Prize 2015 for the Best MA Dissertation on British Art in any period for my work on Alexander Davison’s artistic patronage. I commenced my doctoral studies and joined the National Portrait Gallery in October 2015.

Research interests

My doctoral research investigates the production, consumption and display of painted and printed portraits of commissioned Royal Navy officers in the eighteenth century. Focussing on the years in which Britain emerged as the world’s dominant maritime power, I am interested in exploring the transformative changes that were simultaneously taking place in the Navy and in the British art world in this period. My specific areas of interest include: artists working in naval ports; the intersection of naval portraiture and exhibition culture; and the use of naval portraits in historiographical and commemorative contexts.

Outside of my PhD studies, I have a particular interest in the patronage of history painting in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, having completed my MA dissertation on the remarkable “series of pictures, formed on subjects selected from the History of England” commissioned by Alexander Davison in 1806.