Dr Brigid von Preussen

History of Art
Junior Research Fellow


MA (Cantab); MA (Warburg Institute); MPhil (Columbia); PhD (Columbia)

Academic Background

I studied History of Art at the University of Cambridge as an undergraduate and then completed an MA in Intellectual and Cultural History (1300-1650) at the Warburg Institute before studying for my PhD in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University.

Research Interests

My field of research is art and design in Britain in the long eighteenth century. I am particularly interested in the relationship between aesthetics and ‘style’ on the one hand, and commercial, technological, and legal imperatives on the other. I am also concerned with how artistic identities were constructed and presented in an art world that increasingly encompassed both industrially produced and handcrafted objects.

My doctoral thesis and first book manuscript uses ‘neoclassical’ art as a focus for examining authorship and reproduction in late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century Britain. Through case studies of the work of Robert Adam, Angelica Kauffmann, Josiah Wedgwood, and John Flaxman, I analyse the tension between the imitative rhetoric of classicism, the reproducibility of artistic commodities, and emerging notions of proprietary authorship and individual artistic genius.

I have a broad interest in the history of different forms of reproduction and the question of intellectual property in the plastic arts. In 2017, I co-organised the workshop ‘Printed Stone: Sculpture and its Images’ with Dr Cora Gilroy-Ware at the Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL, which explored the relationship between sculpture and print-making, from intaglio plates to advanced digital mapping techniques.

Alongside my first book, I have begun two new research projects during my time at Christ Church. The first uses the workshop of the cabinet-maker Thomas Chippendale as a case study for the role of design in the global circulation of commodities associated with Britain’s colonial and imperial activities. The second concerns the intersection of ideas about classicism, national identity, race, and property (whether physical, cultural, or intellectual) in late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century Britain. I am particularly interested in the circulation of neoclassical designs in global and colonial contexts, as well as the representation of otherness in neoclassical art and in discussions of the material remains of antiquity.


‘Furnishing School’, Apollo, vol. 187, no. 665 (2018), pp. 74-79.

‘1779’ and ‘1801’, in Mark Hallett, Sarah Victoria Turner, and Jessica Feather, eds., The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition: A Chronicle, 1769-2018 (published online by The Paul Mellon Centre, 2018).

‘“A wild kind of imagination”: eclecticism and excess in the English rococo designs of Thomas Johnson’, in Melissa Hyde and Katie Scott, eds., Rococo Echo: Art, History and Historiography from Cochin to Coppola (Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2014), pp. 191-211.