Research Fellow, 20th-Century British Drawings Project

Staff photo of Mathew Norman, Research Fellow on the 20th-century British Drawings project at the Ashmolean

Mathew Norman

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Research summary

I am the research fellow responsible for cataloguing the museum’s collection of British drawings from 1900-1945. The period witnessed radical change in approaches to and the practice of art education and making as British artists responded to influences from the Continent and the social and political disruption caused by two world wars.

This project is generously funded by the Elizabeth Cayzer Charitable Trust.



In 2022 I completed a PhD in history at Durham University. My thesis examined the large group of portrait drawings made by three generations of the family of the sculptor John Bacon RA (1740-1799), pointing to the role of these objects in constructing narratives of faith and identity. 

I have previously worked at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, where I was first introduced to 20th-century British graphic art when cataloguing the print collection of Harold Wright (1885-1961). A director of the London art dealer P. & D. Colnaghi, Wright was a champion of contemporary artists, a number of whom are represented in the Ashmolean collection.

More recently, I worked as an assistant curator at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tãmaki, where I curated several exhibitions of prints and drawings.


Select publications

  • ‘Twelve Drawings by Francesco Galimberti: Confirming a Turnbull Library attribution’, Turnbull Library Record, 54 (2022), pp. 68-79.
  • ‘Drawings of Lions by Sir Edwin Landseer (1802-1873) and the Trafalgar Square Monument’, The British Art Journal, 21:2 (Autumn 2020), pp. 38-45.
  • ‘Two New Drawings Related to Prints in the Carracci Scuola Perfetta’, Master Drawings, 58:3 (Autumn 2020), pp. 307-316.
  • ‘Webber or de Loutherbourg? New observations regarding drawings for the 1785 pantomime Omai, or, A Trip round the World’, Tuhinga: Records of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 30 (2019), pp. 29-55.
  • ‘The portrait drawings of John Bacon the Younger (1777-1859)’, The British Art Journal, 17:3 (Spring 2017), pp. 74-79.


Featured projects

  • 20th-century British drawings project, Ashmolean