Research Interests of Craig Ashley Hanson

My research addresses the intersections of art medicine, and antiquarianism, ca. 1600-1820s. I’m especially interested in issues of collecting, patronage, institutional supports for the arts, national identity, art and fashion, and the history of taste. In The English Virtuoso: Art, Medicine, and Antiquarianism (University of Chicago Press, 2009), I argue that a vital art audience emerged from the social circles of the Royal Society—whose members assembled many of the period’s most important nonaristocratic collections—a century before most accounts date the establishment of an institutional base for the arts in England (with the founding of the Royal Academy in 1768).

While much of my work up to this point has focused on Britain, the interests of collectors in London ranged much farther afield. And so I follow. Intrigued by their ties to the Continent, I’m now working on a project that explores the close connections between England and the Netherlands, in terms of both the arts and sciences (with British medical men, for instance, training in Leiden and plenty of Dutch artists working in London).

Other relevant publications

“Anatomy, Newtonian Physiology, and Learned Culture: The Myotomia Reformata and Its Context within Georgian Scholarship,” Anatomy and the Organization of Knowledge, 1500-1850, ed. Matthew Landers and Brian Muñoz (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2012), 157-70. – forthcoming

“Representing the Rhinoceros: The Royal Society between Art and Science in the Eighteenth Century,” The Journal of Eighteenth-Century Studies 33 (2010): 545-66.

Additional information is available at

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