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Department of History of Art



I am the Graham Robertson Research Fellow at Downing College. I hold a BA in Music from the University of Oxford, and an MA in the History of Art from the University of Birmingham. In 2018 I returned to the University of Oxford for my doctorate, completed under the supervision of Professor Alastair Wright. Since completing my DPhil, I have worked as a Stipendiary Lecturer in History of Art at the University of Oxford, and as a Junior Teaching Fellow at the Ashmolean Museum. I have also held positions at the Barbican Centre in London and the arts consultancy Parker Harris.


I specialize in the visual and musical culture of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century France. My broader research interests lie in the interrelationships between the visual arts and music, the role of these arts within collective and cultural memory, and the ways in which the practice of these arts is informed by religion and politics.

My doctoral thesis was entitled: “Composing the Decorative: Maurice Denis, Music, and the Search for French Cultural Tradition”.  The thesis considered how Denis’s life-long commitment to establishing an artistic doctrine, a ‘French order’, rooted in a tradition both Catholic and classical, entered into cultural debates stimulated by the consequences of such events as the Dreyfus Affair (1894 – 1906), the Separation of the Church and the State in 1905 and the First World War. I argued that an examination of Denis’s links to his musical contemporaries (principally the composer Vincent d’Indy and the pupils of César Franck), who themselves were active in these debates on matters of cultural identity, might reveal much about the significance of his art and of the wider character of a renascent cultural nationalism in early twentieth-century France.

Building on the investigation of cultural manifestations of French nationalism in my doctoral thesis, I am extending my research to consider artistic expressions of Jewish identity and culture in early twentieth-century France, specifically that of émigré communities. I shall examine how visual artists and musicians, both Jewish and non-Jewish, dealt with the experience or knowledge of Jewish identity in France during the period following the Dreyfus Affair and before the outbreak of the Second World War (1906-1939).

Alongside my work on French culture, I am currently investigating the significance of thinking in terms of “gesture” across the visual and the musical. Notions of the “gestural” are at the heart of expression, but the assumptions on which the agency of the gesture is based are often overlooked.

In 2022 I co-founded the ECR French Nineteenth-Century Art Network.


Key publications: 

Articles and book chapters: 

“The sounding body in the musical illustrations of Maurice Denis and Pierre Bonnard”, Music in Art: International Journal for Musical Iconography, XLVII, (forthcoming, 2023) 

“Maurice Denis’s L’Histoire de la Musique: allegorizing cultural tradition in early 20th-century France” in Belonging and Detachment: Representing Musical Identity in Visual Culture (Hollitzer Verlag, 2023). 

“Visions of theatrical living: pochoir prints, fashion and interior design in early 20th century France”, Journal of the Decorative Arts Society, vol. 45 (2021). 


Exhibition Review: “After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art”, at National Gallery, London, Cusp: Late 19th-/Early 20th-Century Cultures, vol. 2 (forthcoming, 2023).   

Book review: Neil McWilliam, "Aesthetics of Reaction: Tradition, Faith, Identity, and the Visual Arts in France, 1900-1914", The Burlington Magazine, vol. 164 (June, 2022). 


“Psalms 149 and 150”, The Visual Commentary on Scripture, for King’s College London, ed. Ben Quash. Online at:  (2021)

“Composing feelings: music and emotion in A Musical Party”, an Ashmolean Public Engagement podcast. Online at (2021)

The Graham Robertson Research Fellow at Downing College