Professor Clare Willsdon
- Professor of the History of Western Art (History of Art)
- European painting 1800-1940, with special interest in art, gardens and the natural environment; Impressionism in Europe and North America; and mural painting;
- Post-Impressionism, Symbolism, the Fin-de-siècle, and Vienna Secession;
- contextual and thematic methodologies.
Key publications include the first survey and critical interpretation of 19th/20th-century mural painting in any country (Mural Painting in Britain 1840-1940, awarded the Historians of British Art prize, 2003), and In the Gardens of Impressionism (nominated for the National Library of Scotland/Saltire Society ‘Research Book 2005’, and ‘Sir Banister Fletcher Best Book in the Arts 2005-6’ awards). Exhibition work includes Academic Adviser for Impressionist Gardens (National Gallery of Scotland and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, 2010-11) and Country Gardens (Broadway Arts Festival, 2012), and a Curatorial Consultancy for Painting the Modern Garden (Cleveland Museum of Art and Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2015-16). Other exhibitions to which I have contributed include Gartenlust (Belvedere, Vienna, 2007), Renoir (Complesso del Vittoriano, Rome, 2008), Monet (ARoS Kunstmuseum, Aarhus, 2015-16), Whistler and Nature (travelling, Hunterian 2018-19), and Bright Edge Deep (https://www.brightedgedeep.arts.gla.ac.uk, part of the COP26 Virtual Peatlands Pavilion, 2021). I was a member of the international seminar panel established 2008 by the House of Lords Works of Art Committee in connection with the first mural commission for the Houses of Parliament since 1925, and have advised numerous other organisations, including Historic England, Survey of London, Kunsthaus Zürich, Shizuoka Prefectural Museum Japan, etc.
I won the University of Glasgow ‘Engaged Researcher of the Year’ Award, 2016, and was shortlisted for the University’s ‘Best Collaboration (Arts & Culture)’ Knowledge Exchange and Public Engagement Award, 2020.
I have given many public lectures (National Gallery, London; Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid; Petit Palais, Paris, etc) and have contributed to BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Scotland, Radio Deutsche Welle and STV programmes on the arts, as well as the ‘Exhibition on Screen’ films ‘Painting the Modern Garden’, 2016 and ‘Van Gogh’s Sunflowers’, 2021. Recent talks include those for ‘Whistler, Nature and Science’ (Cambridge, 2019: https://www.gla.ac.uk/hunterian/collections/research/whistlernatureandscience/ ) and the Dear Green Bothy COP 26 programme (University of Glasgow, 2021: https://deargreenbothy.gla.ac.uk/event/greening-glasgow/).
Recent grants include: Woburn Abbey Consultancy, 2017-18; two University of Glasgow KE Fund awards (2018-19); two University of Glasgow ‘Dear Green Bothy’ public engagement awards (2021).
I welcome applications from students interested in postgraduate research in areas relating to my research foci. Current PhD students I jointly supervise are:
- Astrom, Kristina
Liminal Play: Inter-art relations between Stéphane Mallarmé and James McNeill Whistler
- Bailey, Lucy
Walter Fawkes 1769-1825: A Patron of the Arts
- Macleod, Jenny
Scottish Printmakers During the Etching Revival
- McAuley, Rosemary Therese
Portraying His Faith: The Christian Art of William Hole(1846-1917)R.E., R.S.A. -Artistic and Theological Perspectives
- Visser, Tess
An examination and comparison of the materials and techniques used by the Glasgow Boys and Matthijs Maris in late nineteenth-century Britain.
I teach the following specialist option courses (not necessarily all offered each year):
- 'Impressionism: Innovation and Invention, 1874-1926' (MLitt)
- 'Early Impressionism, 1850-1876' (Senior Honours)
- 'Symbolism and Secession' (Junior Honours)
I also normally supervise MLitt and Honours dissertations in areas relevant to my research interests, and contribute to the following team-taught core courses:
- 'Research Methods and Skills’ (MLitt)
- 'Methodology of Art History' (Junior Honours)
- ‘Portfolio’ (Junior Honours’)
- ‘Patrons, Collectors, Museums and Markets’ (Level 2A)
- ‘Imagination, Traditions and Invention’ (Level 2B)
- ‘Art History and its Materials and Techniques’ (Level 1A)
- ‘Art History in Action’ (Level 1B).
- Member of the Association for Art History Higher Education Committee;
- Elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Higher Education Academy and Royal Society of Arts;
- Honorary Curator, Glasgow Life.
- University of Glasgow representative on Glasgow School of Art Annual Programme Monitoring Board, and Glasgow University/Glasgow School of Art Joint Liaison Committee.
I am on research leave until May 2022 but from August 2022 will be History of Art Head of Subject at the University of Glasgow.