Helen Cobby (Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham)
Helen Cobby is Assistant Curator at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, She Previously held the post of Research Curator at Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum (funded by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art) until mid-August 2016) followed by a HLF funded 4 month post at the Ashmolean Museum organising a regional touring exhibition of JMW Turner's early architectural paintings and prints. She is interested primarily in British women painters, photographers and sculptors who were active during the nineteenth century, such as Julia Margaret Cameron (and her potential influences on Virginia Woolf), Gwen John and Lady Elizabeth Eastlake (also a travel writer, translator and art critic). She is drawn to their experimental or pioneering use of a specific medium or technique, their influences across different creative platforms and/or interdisciplinary approaches to art (such as Cameron's use of literary themes within her photographs, and Eastlake's creative writing about art and influence over the National Gallery's collecting policies). Within the next few years she aims to start a PhD that explores some of these themes in order to deepen my areas of interest and specialism, and aid her career as an academic curator and writer. Leamington Art Gallery & Museum has a small but notable collection of oil paintings by 19th and 20th century women artists, including Lucy Kemp-Welch and Vanessa Bell. There she worked on re-interpreting some of these works for gallery visitors, which has involved giving talks as part of the gallery's weekly 'Friday Focus' events.
Keywords: nineteenth century; painting, sculpture and photography; feminism and gender; collecting histories; exhibition culture; art criticism.