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School of History

Dr Chloe Ward


Senior Lecturer in the History of British Art

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 2899
Room Number: ArtsTwo 3.13


I specialise in Victorian and Edwardian art, focusing particularly on political art and the history of British drawing and illustration. I received my MPhil and PhD in the history of art from King’s College, Cambridge, and held a Curatorial Fellowship at Watts Gallery before joining Queen Mary in 2015.

On AHRC funded research leave from January 2019 until January 2021 to complete the project ‘From Protest to Propaganda: A History of Activist Art in Britain, 1845–1918’.



Research Interests:

I am currently finishing my second book, Art and Action: The Social Theory of Victorian Painting. It traces the origins of the idea that art should not only comment on society, but also act as a political tool by which to shape it. My first book, The Drawings of G. F. Watts, was the first analysis of drawings by the celebrated Victorian painter, George Frederic Watts (1817-1904).

I am the recipient of grants and awards from the AHRC, the Institute of Historical Research, the Royal Historical Society, the Art Fund, and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. From January 2019–September 2021, I held an AHRC Early Career Leadership Award to complete the project 'From Protest to Propaganda: A History of Activist Art in Britain, 1845–1918'.

My main research areas include:

  • The intellectual history of nineteenth century art and culture
  • The art produced by activists, political groups, and protestors, from the mid-nineteenth century until the First World War
  • The practice and reception of Victorian drawing
  • Periodical illustration and the mass circulation of imagery
  • The history of art exhibitions, particularly exhibitions of British art in America
  • Art and disability







I welcome applications from candidates wishing to pursue doctoral research in the following areas:

  • Nineteenth century art history, especially:
    • The philosophy and intellectual history of art
    • Art and its relationship to politics
    • The history of exhibitions, museums, or display
    • Painting and drawing practices

Public Engagement

I was the lead curator for the exhibitions 'Art and Action: Making Change in Victorian Britain' (2020–21) and 'Brothers in Art: Drawings by Watts and Leighton' (2015–16), both at Watts Gallery. I regularly deliver lectures on Victorian art to the public, and have appeared on programmes for BBC One and BBC Radio 4.

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