David Peters Corbett
  • 1.01 Sainsbury Centre

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile

Academic Background

English and American Studies and History of Art at the Universities of East Anglia, Cambridge and Manchester (PhD, 1987), University College, London.


David Peters Corbett is a part-time Professor of Art History and American Studies at UEA and also Professor of American Art at the Courtauld Institute. At UEA he supervises PhD students in British and American art. He has written widely on British and American painting between the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries. Recent publications include, An American Experiment: George Bellows and the Ashcan Painters (exhibition catalogue, National Gallery, London, 2011), A Companion to British Art, 1600 to the Present (2013), and, with Dr Sarah Monks (UEA), Anglo-American: Artistic Relations between Britain and the US from Colonial Times to the Present (2012). He is currently working on a book, ‘Urban Painting and the Landscape Tradition in America, 1850-1930’, which deals with the relationship between the mid-nineteenth century landscape tradition and the painting of the cities which came to form a central strand of US modernism later in the century.

David has supervised many PhDs to successful conclusion. His students now teach at universities in the UK and US and versions of their theses have been published by Yale, Ashgate and MUP. He would welcome applications to work on the history of British or American art between c.1850 and c.1970. He would also be interested to receive interdisciplinary proposals, particularly those concerned with word and image relationships, and those which take a comparative approach. There is a large and active Research Group in British and American Art at UEA and current PhD students are working on topics including the visual culture of New Orleans in the Nineteenth Century; Nineteenth-Century US periodicals; Proust and British art; late Sickert, The idea of history in British art between the wars, The Royal Academy, and British Women Surrealists.


When he first came to UEA David was Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Humanities (2010-12). He was previously Professor of Art History and founding Director of the interdisciplinary Centre for Modern Studies at the University of York, where he was also Head of Department 2003-7. He has been a Visiting Professor at Yale and the Ecole normale supérieure in Paris, a Visiting Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge and of St Catherine's College, Oxford, and a Visiting Scholar in the Oxford Department of History of Art . He has held a number of grants and fellowships, including at the Smithsonian Institution where he was Terra Senior Fellow in 2009-10, and at the Clark Art Institute. He was a Leverhulme Senior Research Fellow in 2008-10. Between 2007 and 2012 he was Editor of Art History.

Teaching Interests

1. PhD Students/ Research Supervision


Simon Faulkner, ‘A Cultural Economy of English Art, 1958-1966 ‘, PhD (Manchester Metropolitan University), awarded 1999. Dr Faulkner is a Senior Lecturer in Art History at MMU.

Lara Perry, ‘Facing Femininities: Women in the National Portrait Gallery, 1856-1900’, DPhil (York), awarded 1999 (Commonwealth Scholarship). Dr Perry is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Brighton. Ashgate published a version of her thesis in 2006.

John Gledhill, ‘A Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings of Matthew Smith’, DPhil (York), awarded 2000. Dr Gledhill was York University’s Tutor in Art 1998- 2002. Lund Humphreys published a version of this thesis in 2009.

Michael Walsh, ‘The Career and Work of C. R. W. Nevinson to 1924’, DPhil (York), awarded 2001. Dr Walsh is an Associate Professor at Nanyang Technological University,Singapore. He published a version of his thesis as C. R. W. Nevinson: This Cult of Violence, Yale University Press, 2002 and has published 2 further books.

Jonathan Shirland, ‘Masculinity and Popular Culture: Walter Sickert, James McNeill Whistler, Wyndham Lewis, 1880-1920’, PhD at University College, London (co-supervised for UCL), (British Academy Scholarship and Paul Mellon Centre Doctoral Research Fellowship), awarded 2002. Dr Shirland is tenure-track Assistant Professor of Art History at Bridgewater State College, Massachusetts.

Ariane Mildenberg, ‘Marks, Buttons and Notes: Phenomenology and Creative Production’, PhD (York) (jointly with Department of English), (Danish Government Scholarship), awarded 2004. Dr Mildenberg is a Lecturer in English at the University of Kent.

Karin Hiscock, ‘The Axis Group’, PhD (York), awarded 2006. Dr Hiscock was a Lecturer in Art History at UWC, Cardiff.

Imogen Hart, ‘The Aesthetic Interior and its Meanings’, PhD (York), awarded 2006 (AHRB funded). Dr Hart was a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Yale Center for British Art, 2007-10 and Assistant Curator for Exhibitions and Publications there, 2010-13. She now teaches at UC, Berkeley. MUP published a version of her thesis in 2010 and she has also published an edited collection.

Philip Kerrigan, ‘Darwin and Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture’, PhD (York), awarded 2008. Dr Kerrigan was an Associate Lecturer in the department at York and a post-doc on my ‘Anglo-American’ project; he now works in university administration. Two articles from this thesis have appeared in peer-reviewed journals.

Olivia Chapman, ‘Luminism and the Self in C19th American Painting’, PhD (York), full-time (AHRC funded), awarded February 2010. Dr Chapman is Assistant Director, Fusion Academy, Woodland Hills, California.

Samuel Shaw, ‘William Rothenstein and his Circle’, PhD (York), full-time (AHRC funded), awarded October 2010. Dr Shaw is Post-doctoral Associate in Prints & Drawings, Yale Center for British Art.

Tim Buck, ‘British Art and India, 1918-1940’, PhD, (AHRC funded), UEA (transfer from York), awarded 2011. Dr Buck had a Post-doctoral Fellowship from the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art, 2012-13.

Ian Neal, ‘Reverie and Abstraction in C19th British Painting’, PhD (York), awarded 2011. Dr Neal is a Lecturer at the University of Derby.

Kitty Hudson, ‘The Grin Upon the Deathshead’: a Study of Satire in 1920s British Art’, PhD, 2010-2013. Awarded 2013. Dr Hudson is an auctioneer.

Greg Salter, ‘Domesticity, Masculinity and the Self in British Painting in the 1950s’, PhD (School AHRC Block Grant scholarship), 2010-. Passed (no corrections), 2013. Dr Salter is Lecturer in History of Art at the University of Birmingham.

Kate Aspinall, ‘A Compass in the Eye: Perceptions of Creative Intelligence in 1940s and 1950s British Drawings’, PhD full-time (Faculty full scholarship), 2010-. Passed (no corrections), 2014. Dr Aspinall is an independent art historian and consultant for the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. http://kateaspinall.com/.

Rosanna Eckersley, ‘Winifred Knights and her work’, awarded 2015. Dr Eckersley teaches for Brikbeck and the OU.

Alexander Jackson, Harper's New Monthly- 1850- c1913, MA by research (School scholarship), Passsed 2015.

In Progress

Mollie Le Veque, ‘The Visual Culture of C19th New Orleans’ (Faculty full scholarship), 2013- (second supervisor with American Studies).

Merlin Seller, ‘Late Sickert’, PhD (Faculty full scholarship), 2013-.

Daniel Frampton, “History, Landscape and National Identity in British Art between the World Wars”, PhD (CHASE AHRC Block Grant scholarship), 2014-.

Alexander Jackson, "Art writing and American Periodicals, 1880-1930", PhD  (CHASE AHRC Block Grant scholarship), 2015-

Will Parker, "Proust and British Visual Artists, 1910-1950", PhD (CHASE AHRC Block Grant scholarship), 2015-

Vassil Yordanov, "The Royal Academy and British Academic Art", PhD (CHASE AHRC Block Grant scholarship), 2015-

Kate Fisher, 'Art History and Method', PhD (Faculty full scholarship), 2016-

Alexandra Burston, 'Figuration and British Painting, 1950-1970', PhD, 2016-


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

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  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions