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Dr Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth


  • Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth
  • Area

    School of Arts & Humanities


    Visiting Lecturer

  • Caroline is a Visiting Lecturer and Personal Tutor on the V&A/RCA History of Design MA. Caroline works on the Object Stories course and acts as Personal Tutor for several of the MA students, particularly those with art historical backgrounds. 

  • Biography

  • Caroline is an art historian working on the histories of collecting, designing and displaying European decorative arts and sculpture (1650–1900) and is particularly interested in the intersections between these two categories of design. Her work considers how networks of designers, collectors, dealers and agents interact with each other through object and knowledge exchange.

    The current focus of her research concentrates on the mania for collecting eighteenth-century French Sèvres porcelain in Britain after the French Revolution. It situates this collecting phenomenon within broader epistemic, cultural and social frameworks of historical consciousness, authenticity and connoisseurship, and in doing so unites socio-historical and theoretical approaches alongside more traditional object-led art historical methods.

    Caroline is a Chair for the Association for Art History, a founding Board Member of the Society for the History of Collecting and a Board Member of the French Porcelain Society. Since 2016 Caroline has worked as a Tutor for the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds, where she is a member of the Research Centre for the Study of the Art and Antiques Market. In Spring 2017 she was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Winterthur Museum with University of Delaware where she lectured on European material culture and authenticated their collection of French porcelain. Previously, Caroline worked as a Curator for The Chitra Collection, a private collection of decorative arts in London, all relating to the material culture and history of tea. Highlights include writing two books of the collection, acting as an art consultant and curating an exhibition on ‘Tea, Art and History’ in the National Museum of Kazakhstan from July-October 2015. Before this Caroline read Art History with French at the University of St Andrews in Scotland and gained a Masters with Distinction in French and British Decorative Arts from The Wallace Collection/University of Buckingham. 

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  • External collaborations

  • Together with Clare Nadal (The Hepworth Wakefield) Caroline  is  working on a project entitled (Re-)Forming Sculpture which seeks to re-consider the boundaries and hierarchies of sculpture within art history, design history and visual culture, broadening how it is understood and defined, in terms of its materiality, intersections with other mediums, and its socio-cultural significance in contemporary design practices. A 2-day international conference took place in June 2018 at The Hepworth Wakefield and University of Leeds which included academics, curators, teachers, makers and designers, including contemporary sculptors. These discussions sought to better understand how wider notions of sculpture and its relationship to other art forms and to material culture intersect with discourses relating to histories of collecting, display and place-making. In particular, we posited how sculpture can be best re-formed and rethought within academic and curatorial disciplines. As these discussions evolve an edited book volume entitled (Re-)Forming Sculpture is currently in the works for 2020.

  • Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes

  • Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth, ‘Reclaiming her Scandalous Past: The Sèvres Collection of Lady Dorothy Nevill, French Porcelain Society Journal, November 2018, Vol. VII, pp. 203–226

    Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth, ‘The Visual Representation of Furniture in the Nineteenth Century’ in Christina Anderson (Ed) The Cultural History of Furniture’, Bloomsbury Academic Press, forthcoming 2019

    Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth, ‘Agnew’s’, ‘Victor Waddington Galleries’, ‘Albert Maurice Bender’, ‘Taylor Galleries’, ‘Smith London Art Dealers’, ‘Frost and Reed’, in Johannes Nathan (Ed) The Art Market Dictionary, De Gruyter, forthcoming 2019.

    Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth and Clare Nadal (Eds), (Re-)Forming Sculpture, currently under submission review with a University Press

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  • Awards and Grants

  • Attingham Trust Summer School, July 2018, full scholarship

    Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Educational Grant for (Re-)Forming Sculpture Conference, The Hepworth Wakefield and University of Leeds, June 2018

    Henry Moore Foundation Grant, for (Re-)Forming Sculpture Conference, The Hepworth Wakefield and University of Leeds, June 2018

    Visiting Research Fellowship, University of Delaware, April-June 2017

    Arts and Humanities Research Council Funding for PhD with University of Leeds