The Walters Art Museum

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Jo Briggs

Associate Curator of 18th- and 19th-Century Art
Manager of Curatorial Fellowships

Jo Briggs is Associate Curator of 18th- and 19th-Century Art and Manager of Curatorial Fellowships. She joined the staff of the Walters Art Museum in 2011. She has an undergraduate degree from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, where she also completed a Masters. In addition, she holds a Master of Studies degree in Women’s Studies from the University of Oxford. In 2008, she graduated from the Ph.D. program in Art History at Yale. Before coming to the Walters Jo held the position of Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Yale Center for British Art, and was a Research Fellow at Wolfson College, University of Oxford.

She has published articles on Franz von Defregger, David Wilkie, Paul Gavarni, and John Everett Millais, and has work forthcoming on Léon Bonvin’s watercolors, and broadside ballads on the topic of the Great Exhibition of 1851. Her scholarly interests, which relate particularly closely the Walters’ holdings, encompass academic painting and its relationship to print culture in an international context, and representations of imperialism and gender in nineteenth-century European art.

In spring 2015, Jo will act as point-curator for a small exhibition showcasing Jenny Carson’s research on Maryland sculptor William Henry Rinehart and his studio practice in Rome. Jenny is Chair of the Department of Art History, Theory and Criticism at MICA, and recently was a fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Ongoing and Recent Departmental Projects

Cataloging - Objects

There are several projects underway in the department designed to enhance the museum’s online catalog. An ILMS (Institute for Museum and Library Services) grant linked to the exhibition New Eyes on America: The Genius of Richard Caton Woodville will allow for the photography and preparation for the web of ca. 700 works by American artists, including just over 500 drawings, around 80 paintings and 100 miniatures. All the miniatures in Henry Walters’ original bequest will also be searchable online by the end of 2013. In addition records for the Walters’ outstanding collection of Sévres porcelain are currently being enhanced and expanded.

Cataloging – Books

Working with the Head of the Library and Archives division, Diane Bockrath, a project is ongoing to locate all books and auction catalogs from within the museums research library that formally belonged to Henry Walters, the museum’s founder. Spanning ca. 1870 to ca. 1910 it is hoped that a better sense of these holdings will allow for a greater understanding of Henry’s insights and motives and when forming his collection. These volumes are often lavishly illustrated and in ornate publishers’ and custom bindings.

Book Project

Jo is working on a book manuscript based on research undertaken as a Research Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford. This project examines representations of the male body in British visual culture between 1848 and 1851. Her research draws on popular prints, daguerreotypes, illustrated newspapers and written responses to the revolutions of 1848 and the Great Exhibition of 1851. It aims to discuss both revolutions and exhibition, placing these events in dialog to cast new light on both.