ANY NUMBER OF FACTORS shape one’s career choices, and I could point to dozens that helped lead me to art history. Three particularly stand out: a gift membership to the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis from my Aunt Lola one Christmas (I still vividly recall the 1988 Rodin exhibition), my Dad’s good sense to realize that if I ever spent enough time observing life in a law firm I would eventually rethink my law school plans, and finally an extraordinary semester studying in Florence as an undergraduate. Two decades later, I couldn’t be happier about the choice.
I earned my Master’s and Doctoral degrees from The University of Chicago (1996 and 2003 respectively) and can’t imagine a more stimulating intellectual environment. I was fortunate also to spend the summer of 1998 at The American School of Classical Studies in Athens, visiting dozens of archaeological sites in and around Athens, Crete, the Peloponnese, and Northern Greece, and to participate the following year in The Attingham Summer School for the Study of British Country Houses, observing over thirty houses in three weeks. Finally, my wife and I spent 2001 in London, where I was a Research Associate at The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, a unrivaled institution for medical history.
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. While most 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 currently working on a project that explores the close connections between England and the Netherlands. Related to that research, in 2010, I took part in the Attingham Study Program for the Dutch Historic House, which over the course of nine days, introduced participants to twenty-six Netherlandish houses: canal houses in Amsterdam, almshouses in Amsterdam and Haarlem, country houses in the provinces of Utrecht, Gelderland, and Overijssel, and royal palaces (including Huis ten Bosch).