Biography

Sarah is a specialist in the history of British art, 1650-1850, focusing particularly on the effects of emergent imperialism upon the forms and practices of British artists during this period. 

Career History

Sarah joined the School in September 2009, having been Research Fellow in the History of Art department at the University of York (2007-9) and a Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London (2004-7).  Before that, she held a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London, and a Senior Caird Research Fellowship at the National Maritime Museum, London, where she had previously been a Curatorial Fellow (1996-8).

Academic Background

B.A. Art History; Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London (1995)

M.A. Art History; Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London (1996)

Ph.D. Art History; Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London (2002)

All Publications

Monks, S. (ed.), Barrell, J. (ed.), Hallett, M. (ed.)

(2013)

Living with the Royal Academy: Artistic Ideals and Experiences in England, 1768-1848,

Routledge

ISBN 9781409403180

UEA Repository

(Book)

(Published)


Monks, S.

(2012)

Between Country, Court and City: Art, the Thames and the Tides of Royal Power,

in Royal River : Power, Pageantry and the Thames.

Scala Publishers

pp. 26-32

UEA Repository

(Chapter)

(Published)


Corbett, D. P. (ed.), Monks, S. (ed.)

(2012)

Anglo-American: Artistic Exchange between Britain and the USA,

Wiley-Blackwell

ISBN 978-1-4443-5143-9

UEA Repository

(Book)

(Published)


Corbett, D. P., Monks, S.

(2012)

Anglo-American: Artistic Exchange between Britain and the USA,

in Anglo-American: Artistic Exchange between Britain and the USA.

Wiley-Blackwell

pp. 630-651

ISBN 978-1-4443-5143-9

UEA Repository

(Chapter)

(Published)


Monks, S.

(2012)

The Wolfe Man: Benjamin West's Anglo American Accent,

in Anglo-American: Artistic Exchange between Britain and the USA.

Wiley-Blackwell

pp. 652-674

ISBN 978-1-4443-5143-9

UEA Repository

(Chapter)

(Published)


Monks, S., Monks, S. (ed.)

(2011)

Visual Culture and British India,

Taylor & Francis

UEA Repository

(Book)

(Published)


Corbett, D. P., Monks, S.

(2011)

Anglo-American: Artistic Exchange between Britain and the USA,

in Art History

34

(4)

pp. 630-651

UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Monks, S.

(2011)

The Wolfe Man: Benjamin West's Anglo-American Accent,

in Art History

34

(4)

pp. 652-673

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Monks, S.

(2010)

Making Love: Thomas Banks's Camadeva and the Discourses of British India c.1790,

in Visual Culture in Britain

11

(2)

pp. 195-218

UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Monks, S.

(2010)

Suffer a Sea-Change: Turner, Painting, Drowning,

in Tate Research Papers

14

UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Monks, S.

(2009)

Turner goes Dutch,

in Turner and the Masters.

Tate Britain

pp. 73-85

ISBN 9781854378651

UEA Repository

(Chapter)

(Published)


Monks, S.

(2008)

Fishy Business: Richard Wright’s The Fishery (1764), Marine Painting, and the Limits of Refinement,

in Eighteenth Century Studies

41(2)

pp. 405-21

UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Monks, S.

(2006)

The Visual Economies of the Downriver Thames in Eighteenth-Century British Art,

in Visual Culture in Britain

7(1)

pp. 1-20

UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Monks, S.

(2005)

Our Man in Havana: Representation and Reputation in Lieutenant Philip Orsbridge’s Britannia’s Trium,

in Conflicting Visions: War and Visual Culture 1600-1850.

Ashgate

ISBN 978-0754605751

UEA Repository

(Chapter)

(Published)


Monks, S.

(1998)

National heterotopia: Greenwich as spectacle, 1694-1869,

in Rising East: The Journal of East London Studies

2(1)

pp. 156-66

UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Key Research Interests

British art, 1650-1850

The seascape as cultural and pictorial form in early modern Europe

The effects of global encounter on Britain’s visual and material cultures

Painting, the ‘work of art’ and concepts of subjectivity in early modernity

Current Research Projects

Sarah recently completed a book entitled Framing Space, Power and Modernity: Marine Painting in Britain, 1650-1850 (Ashgate, forthcoming) in which she examines the aesthetic, sociocultural and political implications of the seascape image during the most significant period of its production.  Looking at the work of artists such as Willem van de Velde the Younger, Samuel Scott and Dominic Serres, this project charts the trajectory of the genre from its appropriation by Restoration court culture (and its critics) through to its radical sublimation by JMW Turner.  The central means by which Britain emerged as commercial and imperial power during this period, the sea played an important but complex role in the shaping of specifically modern British identities and this project considers the ways in which the visual imagery of the sea – as a site of victory, defeat, labour, capital and ambition – contributed to this process.  Aiming to offer more than a thematic history of the genre however, this project also considers the ways in which the pictorial possibilities of the seascape were elaborated by British artists, for whom the relationship between shoreline and open horizon represented a crucial starting point and for whom seawater’s capacity for buoyancy, wild surface and liquid depths would contribute to the rethinking of painting itself.

Her new book project, provisionally entitled Transported Subjects: British Art and the Effects of Empire, 1680-1830, aims to highlight key aspects of the broader relationship between British art and global commerce, experience and imperial ideology.  In particular, this project sets out to analyse the ways in which artworks produced in ‘the long eighteenth century’ engage with commodities, artefacts and people from the world beyond Europe, with the increasingly global character of trading, credit and cultural networks, and with the transformations that imperialism wrought upon the experiences and expectations of human subjects.  Looking at the work of artists such as Joseph Wright of Derby, Benjamin West, Thomas Banks and JMW Turner, this project considers how investment in slavery, exploration in the Pacific and power in India (amongst other imperial practices) shaped the forms of British art.

Sarah is also beginning a new research project on the history of British art between 1800 to 1840, which aims to look through and beyond the works of the few major artists (such as Turner and Constable) who tend to dominate studies, towards a more holistic and contextual understanding of artistic practices and forms in Britain during this period, particularly as they relate to broader sociopolitical issues.  The aim is therefore to situate these artists and their works alongside those relatively neglected figures, genres and issues that played an important role in the early nineteenth-century British art world, in the metropolis and beyond.  This project has begun with studies of Thomas Lawrence's male portraits and Joseph Stannard's beach scenes.

Sarah is also working on three collections of essays: Living with the Royal Academy: Artistic Ideals and Experiences in England, 1768-1848, co-edited with Professors John Barrell and Mark Hallett (Ashgate, forthcoming); Anglo-American: Art between England and America, 1770-1970, co-edited with Professor David Peters Corbett (Blackwell, forthcoming; also to be published as a special issue of Art History in 2011), and a special issue of the journal Visual Culture in Britain entitled ‘The Visual Culture of British India’, 12:3 (November 2011).  These follow on from conferences which she (co-)organised in 2008-9, in line with her research interest in artistic practice and global experience during the long eighteenth century.

 

Teaching Interests

British art of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
The world in European art from 1600 onwards
Art and the invention of the modern ‘self’
Critical theory and art history

Research supervision

Sarah is currently lead supervisor on two PhD projects, analysing the art and career of John Sell Cotman and George Morland respectively.

Interested in supervising research students in all areas of British art of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; European art and issues of imperialism, cosmopolitanism, globalisation and localisation; art and identity (gender, sexuality, race, concepts of subjectivity) in Britain during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

MA dissertations supervised by Sarah have addressed topics such as:

Andrea Soldi’s portraits of Levant Company merchants, c.1730

The Indian landscape paintings of Francis Swain Ward (1734-94)

Sir Joshua Reynolds, George, Prince of Wales, with a Black Servant (1786-7)

Monuments to East India Company officers in late eighteenth-century London

China as seen by early nineteenth-century British painters

Gender identities in the paintings of Annie Swynnerton (1844-1933)

Colonialism and portraiture in nineteenth-century Brazil

Professional Activities

Series co-editor, British Art: Histories and Interpretations since 1700 (Ashgate)

Series co-editor, British Art: Global Contexts (Ashgate)

Member of the editorial board, Visual Culture in Britain

Member of the editorial board, Journal for Maritime Research