Print Room Supervisor, Department of Western Art

Research summary
My primary area of research is British art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. My recent research has been devoted to the development of Skyscape, an exhibition inspired by John Constable’s observation to his friend the Revd John Fisher on 23 October 1821 that ‘It will be difficult to name a class of landscape in which the sky is not the key note, the standard of scale and the chief organ of sentiment’. The exhibition begins with examples of the sky as a stage for allegorical figures, classical and Christian narratives of judgement and divine glory. Subsequently, landscape gained recognition as a discrete artistic genre and with the emergence of meteorology as a scientific discipline in the late eighteenth century, the sky became a subject in its own right. Artists such as J.M.W. Turner and Constable developed innovatory techniques to capture fleeting effects of light and weather with greater precision and apparent spontaneity. Yet the sky retained its capacity for heavenly symbolism and increasingly became a vehicle for emotional expression. Clouds could suggest transience or magnificence, storms might embody threat or drama, while sunrises and sunsets often evoked meditations upon death and renewal. The spiritual and emotive aspect of skies persisted in the work of artists as diverse as Samuel Palmer and John Ruskin in the nineteenth century, and Paul Nash and John Piper in the twentieth.
My exhibition, Making an Impression: Prints by Manet, Pissarro and their Contemporaries is currently on show at the Broadway Museum and Art Gallery (until 19 December) Drawn from the Ashmolean's collection, the show will tour to three further venues in 201920.
I am also interested in the relationship between Art and Christianity, and have lectured on Caravaggio and the Counter Reformation, the Eucharist in Art, the Crucifixion, Landscape and Spirituality, and metaphors of light. I am currently a member of the Oxford University Church-TORCH project board 'Stations of the Cross' for Lent and Easter 2019. My work on the exhibition F. L. Griggs: Visions of England in 2016 united these research interests. However, working in the Ashmolean’s Western Art Print Room enables me to explore a wide variety of research areas and a degree of generalist adaptability is an enjoyable necessity.
Katherine Wodehouse is one of two Print Room Supervisors in the Ashmolean’s Western Art Department. She joined the Ashmolean in 2007 and managed the Picture Library for three years, prior to a year’s secondment as Print Room Assistant. She then worked on an Oxford University Museums project before spending two and a half years in the Ashmolean’s Publications Department as an Editor and Project Manager. She returned to the Western Art Print Room on secondment as a Supervisor from April 2016 and was permanently appointed to the position in June 2018.
In addition to her official duties she curated F. L. Griggs: Visions of England (Broadway Museum and Art Gallery, 2016) which toured to the Museum of North Hertfordshire (Autumn 2017) and the Chippenham Museum and Heritage Centre (Spring 2018) as well as Skyscape (Broadway Museum and Art Gallery, 2017). She has recently opened Making an Impression: Prints by Manet, Camille Pissarro, and their Contemporaries (Broadway Museum and Art Gallery, Autumn 2018) and will be curating Romanticism Revisited for the same venue for exhibition in Autumn 2019. She also works as a freelance lecturer and tutor, teaching study days on Art and Christianity for various churches and for the St Albans Cathedral Study Centre, as well as tutorials to visiting students at the University of Oxford.
  • F. L. Griggs (1876–1938): Visions of England  in The Ashmolean (no. 71, Spring 2016)
  • Josephine Butler (1828–1906): The Face of Feminism in The Ashmolean (no. 73, Spring 2017)
  • Skyscape in The Ashmolean (no. 74, Autumn 2017)
  • The Sheila Hoenigsberg in The Ashmolean (no. 75, Spring 2018)
  • Making an Impression: Prints by Manet, Pissaro and their Contemporaries in The Ashmolean (no. 76, Autumn 2018)
Joint Author
  • Great British Drawings (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2015) 
  • The Ashmolean Museum: Crossing Cultures, Crossing Time (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2014)
  • Paul Collins, Mountains and Lowlands: Ancient Iran and Mesopotamia (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2016)
  • Francesca Leoni, et al, Power and Protection: Islamic Art and the Supernatural (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2016)
  • Catherine Whistler, Baroque and Later Paintings in the Ashmolean Museum (London: Modern Art Press, 2016)
  • Catherine Whistler, et al, Drawing in Venice: Titian to Canaletto (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2015)
  • Timothy Wilson and Matthew Winterbottom, Treasures of the Goldsmith’s Art: The Michael Wellby Bequest to the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2015)
  • Colin Harrison, et al, Great British Drawings (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2015)
  • Clare Pollard and Mitsuko Ito Watanabe, Hiroshige: Landscape, Cityscape: Woodblock Prints in the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2014)
  • The Ashmolean Museum: Crossing Cultures, Crossing Time (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2014)
  • The Ashmolean, no. 66, Autumn 2013 
  • The Ashmolean, no. 67, Spring 2014 
  • The Ashmolean, no. 68, Autumn 2014 
  • The Ashmolean, no. 69, Spring 2015 
  • The Ashmolean, no. 70, Autumn 2015
  • The Ashmolean, no. 71, Spring 2016 
Featured projects
List of site pages