Pamela Gerrish Nunn

The Dorothy Kayser Hohenberg Chair of Excellence in Art History

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Pamela Gerrish Nunn

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Pamela Gerrish Nunn began her career as an art historian in her native country of England, teaching in Bristol from 1976 and publishing in the field of 19th-century women artists from 1978. She moved to New Zealand in 1989 to teach at the University of Canterbury (Christchurch), where she worked for 20 years. After the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, she moved north to the Wellington area, where she works as a freelance lecturer, curator and researcher.


  • University College London: PhD in History of Art with thesis on "The mid-Victorian Woman Artist, 1850-1879" (1983)
  • University College London: MA in History of Art with dissertation on "Berthe Morisot, 1857-1874" (1975-6)
  • University of Leicester: BA (Hons) in Combined Arts (History of Art with French, Italian, Philosophy) with dissertation on "David and Napoleon" (1972-5)


Dr Gerrish Nunn is well known for her commitment to the histories of women artists and the issues that surround them, and belongs to the international community of Victorianists. Curation is as much of an interest to her as writing and teaching, and she has prepared shows of historic and contemporary art in both Britain and New Zealand. She has researched and published on individual female artists in 19th and 20th century western art on whom, in many cases, she is the sole or leading expert. She has made original contributions to the history of the British art style Pre-Raphaelitism and has curated exhibitions of Pre-Raphaelite works attended by record-breaking crowds. She is currently preparing an exhibition of the work of New Zealand artist Frances Hodgkins (1869-1947) for the New Zealand Portrait Gallery.


  • Freelance scholar, curator and teacher, 2009-present.
  • Professor in Art History and Theory, School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand (appointed 1989 as Lecturer, resigned December 2008).
  • Lecturer (part-time) in Art History and Theory, Open University, Bristol Polytechnic, Gloucestershire College of Art and Design, 1976-89.


  • 2014: Resident Scholar, Stout Research Centre, Victoria University Wellington
  • 2014: Conference attendance grant from the Association of Art Historians (UK)
  • 2012: Grant-in-aid from the Victoria League for Commonwealth Friendship
  • 2011: Bursary from the Association of Art Historians (UK) fund to foster collaboration between museum professionals and the academic community
  • 2010: Research support grant, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London
  • 2009: Two small grants from the Independents Group in the AAH (UK) towards publishing and conference attendance
  • 2007: University of Canterbury College of Arts Research Grant
  • 2004: Research Support Grant, Paul Mellon Center for Studies in British Art, Yale University
  • 2000: Ailsa Mellon Bruce Senior Visiting Fellow, Center for the Advanced Study of Visual Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USA
  • 2000: Visiting Scholar, Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK
  • 1999: Visiting Fellow, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, USA
  • 1994: Visiting Scholar, Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia



  • "Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale", a Pre-Raphaelite journey, Liverpool University Press, 2012.
  • "From Victorian to Modern", Philip Wilson/Djanogly Art Gallery, 2006.
  • "Pre-Raphaelite Women Artists", Manchester City Art Galleries, 1997 (reprinted Thames and Hudson, 1998). (with Jan Marsh)
  • "Problem Pictures: women and men in Victorian painting", Scolar Press, 1995.
  • "Women Artists and the Pre-Raphaelite Movement", Virago, 1989. (with Jan Marsh)
  • "Victorian Women Artists", The Women's Press, 1987.
  • "Canvassing: recollections by six Victorian women artists", Camden Press, 1986.

Chapters in books/books edited:

  • "A Woman abroad: Emma Brownlow in Brittany" in Women, Bourgeois Femininity and Public Space in Nineteenth-Century European Visual Culture, Temma Balducci and Heather Belnap Jensen eds, Ashgate, 2014: 81-96.
  • "Dorothy's Career and other Cautionary tales" in Kyriaki Hadjiafxendi and Patricia Zakreski eds, Crafting the Woman professional in the long Nineteenth Century, Ashgate, 2013: 167-184.
  • "A Plaited Rope: Aestheticism's debt to Pre-Raphaelitism", in Aesthetic Lives, Bénédicte Coste and Catherine Delyfer eds, Rivendale Press, 2013: 19-36.
  • "Home from Home: some Australasian artists in London 1900-1914" in The Rise of the Modern Art Market in London 1850-1939, Pamela Fletcher and Anne Helmreich eds, Manchester University Press, 2011: 276-292.
  • "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered by the Beauty of Life" in William Morris and the Art of Everyday Life, Wendy Parkin ed., Cambridge Scholars Press, 2010: 109-131.
  • "Unknown woman formerly known as Charlotte Bronte" in Unknownsitter.com devised and maintained by Nicky Bird and Lara Perry, 2006: 7 pp.
  • "Liberty, Equality and Sorority: women's representations of the Unification of Italy" in Unfolding the South, Jane Stabler and Alison Chapman eds., Manchester University Press, 2003: 110-136.
  •  "Owning Femininity: Thea Proctor and the Australian Avant-Garde" in Women Artists and the Decorative Arts 1880-1935, Bridget Elliott and Janice Helland eds., Ashgate, 2002: 73-95.
  • "Time and Tide wait for no man: a Victorian Apocalypse" in Symbols of Time in the History of Art, Christian Heck and Kristen Lippincott eds., Brepols, 2002: 85-97.
  • "The 'woman question': Ruskin and the female artist" in Ruskin's Artists, Robert Hewison ed., Ashgate, 2000: 167-183.
  • "Making a Centre on the Margins" in Re-Framing the Pre-Raphaelites, Ellen Harding ed., Scolar Press, 1996: 43-60.
  • "Critically Speaking", in Women in the Victorian Art World, Clarissa Campbell-Orr ed., Manchester University Press, 1995: 107-124.
  • "Teaching and Learning" in The New Art History, Borzello and Rees eds., Camden Press, 1986: 55-62. (with Mary F. Gormally)

Exhibition catalogue essays not listed under books:

  • "Fifties models series" in I, Here, Now: Vivian Lynn, Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University of Wellington, 2010: 70-71
  • "Fact, Feeling and Femininity" (with Jan Marsh) in The Pre-Raphaelites: dream and reality in 19th-century Britain, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, 2009: 80-90.
  • Vanessa Bell; Gwen John and Augustus John; Laura Knight; Stanley Spencer, in Modern Britain 1900-1960, NGV Melbourne, November 2007: 39, 51, 108, 169.
  • "Collecting a Canon" in Collecting a Canon: paintings and drawings from two Christchurch collections, SoFA Gallery, Christchurch, 2005: unpaginated. (†)
  • "Dreaming in Italian" in I Giardini delle Regine/Of Queens' Gardens: the myth of Florence in Pre-Raphaelite art 1850-1930, Gallerie degli Uffizi, 2004: 96-101, catalogue entries 1, 3, 24-26, 41-44, 46-48. (†)
  • "We are not a Muse: Women Artists in the Collection" in A World of Art: the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery collections, Lund Humphries/Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, 2001: 68-87.
  • "Aspirations in the Henhouse" in Nicky Bird et al, Tracing Echoes, University of Leeds/University of Northumbria, 2001: 7-14.
  • "An Australian 'Problem Picture'" in Brought to Light: Australian Art 1850-1965, Queensland Art Gallery, 1998: 26-9.
  • "Of Ladies, Women and Artists", in White Camellias:100 years of women's art, Robert McDougall Art Gallery, Christchurch, 1993: 10-15.
  • "Rebecca Solomon" and "Catalogue of Works: Rebecca Solomon" in Solomon: a family of painters, Geffrye Museum London, 1985:19-23 and 59-64. (†)
  • "The Work of Louisa Anne Marchioness of Waterford" in Lady Waterford Centenary Exhibition, Waterford Hall Northumberland, 1983: 5-8. (†)
  • "Women Artists in the Nineteenth Century" in The Women's Art Show 1550-1970, Castle Museum Nottingham, 1982: 21-6. (†)

(† indicates curatorial role)

Articles in refereed journals:

  • "Alienation, adoption or adaptation? Aestheticist paintings by women", Cahiers victoriens et edouardiens, October 2011, no. 74: 141-153
  • "The Cottage Paradise: urbanisation, emigration and nostalgia", Victorian Review, Spring 2010, vol.35, no. 1: 185-202.
  • "Fine Art and the Fan 1860-1930", Journal of Design History, vol.17, no. 3, 2004: 251-266.
  • "A View of One's Own: female artists and the female nude", Australian Journal of Art, vol.1, no.1, March 2000: 63-78.
  • "Between Strong-mindedness and Sentimentality: women's literary painting", Victorian Poetry, vol.33, nos.3/4, Autumn/Winter 1996: 425-47.
  • "Frances Hodgkins: a question of identity", Woman's Art Journal, Fall 1994/Winter 1995, vol.15, no.2: 9-13.
  • "Artist and Model: Joanna Mary Boyce's Mulatto Woman", Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies, vol.II, no.2, Fall 1993: 12-15.
  • "Rebecca Solomon's 'A Young Teacher'", The Burlington Magazine, vol.130, no.1027, October 1988: 769-70.
  • "Rosa Brett, pre-Raphaelite", The Burlington Magazine, vol.126,no.979, October 1984: 630-4.
  •  "Ruskin's Patronage of Women Artists", Woman's Art Journal, Fall/Winter, 1981/2: 8-13.
  • "The Case-history of a woman Artist: Henrietta Ward", Art History, vol.1, no.3, September 1978: 293-308.

Articles in unrefereed journals:

  • "Between New Zealand and Newlyn: New Zealand Painters and Cornwall", Art New Zealand, no. 152, Summer 2014-15: 102-7.
  • "A Note on Mrs Katie Handyside", The Flagstaff, no 32, Winter 2013: 23-25.
  • "Laura Knight's self-portrait", The British Art Journal, vol.VIII no.2, Autumn 2007: 53-7.
  • "Un art féminin: Frances Hodgkins and Impressionism", Bulletin of New Zealand Art History, Special series no.4, 1998: 25-32.
  • "Feminism, Art History and the High Street", MAKE, no.78, December/February 1997: 20-1.
  • "Speaking to you from beyond the Grave", Bulletin of New Zealand Art History, vol.17, 1996: 49-58.
  • "The Other Heaphys", Bulletin of New Zealand Art History, vol.14, 1993: 3-8.
  • "Look Homeward, Angel: Marshall Claxton's Emigrant", Art Bulletin of Victoria, no.32, 1992: 1-20.
  • "With Fingers Weary and Worn", Robert McDougall Art Gallery Bulletin, August/September 1991: 3-6.
  • "Frances Hodgkins in Context in 1929", Art New Zealand, vol.56, Spring 1990: 86-9.
  • "Women, Sculpture and Heroism in the Nineteenth Century", Feminist Art News, vol.2, no.2, 1985: unpaginated. (with Andrea Garrihy)
  • "Rebecca Solomon: painting and drama", Theatrephile, vol.2, no.8, 1985: 3-4.
  • "Reflections of Feminism in the Mirror of Art History", Feminist Art News, no.5, 1981: unpaginated.

Review articles:

• "Familiar Signs in a Distant Land", The Art Book, v.15, no.3, August 2008: 27-8.
• "Still absent after all these years", Te Ara/Journal of Museums Aotearoa, vol.27, issue 2, November 2001: 52-3.
• "New books on Australian women artists", Woman's Art Journal, vol.20,no.2, Fall/Winter 1999/2000: 47-50.
• "New Zealand Women Artists by Anne Kirker, A Dictionary of Women Artists of Australia by Max Germaine & Sight Lines: women's art and feminist perspectives in Australia by Sandy Kirby", Woman's Art Journal, vol.17, no.1, Spring/Summer 1996: 49-53.
• "Feminist Art Criticism & Crossing Over: feminism and art by Arlene Raven", Woman's Art Journal, vol.11, no.2, Fall 1990/Winter 1991: 42-4.
• "English Female Artists by Ellen C. Clayton", Woman's Art Journal, vol.3, no.2, Fall 1982/Winter 1983: 57-60.

Contributions to Reference works:

  • Kate Greenaway: for Allgemeines Kunstlerlexicon, 2009.
  • Sonia Delaunay; Laura Knight; Charles Sims; Simeon Solomon; Glyn Philpot; Edward Poynter: for Art at Te Papa, ed. William McAloon, 2009: 57, 158, 160, 163, 165, 178, 193.
  • Jane Morris; May Morris; Thea Proctor; Henrietta Rae: for Grove Art Online (digital version of the Grove Dictionary of Art), 2006.
  • Spartali, Marie; Swynnerton, Annie; Montalba, Henrietta; Mutrie, Annie; Ward, Henrietta; Rae, Henrietta: for the New Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Adviser to the Dictionary of Artists' Models (Jill Berk Jimenez ed.), Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001.
  • Ward, Henrietta; Ward, E.M.; Clayton, Ellen C.: for the MacMillan/Grove Dictionary of Art, 1997.
  • Rae, Henrietta; Solomon ,Rebecca; Starr, Louisa; Thompson,Elizabeth and essay on 19th-century art practice: for the Dictionary of Women Artists, Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997.


Conference contributions:

  • Otago University: "Making Women Visible", February 2016 ('Types, tropes and tourism: women painting women')
  • New Zealand Historians' Association: biannual conference, December 2015 ('Picture this: understanding ourselves through visual culture', panel convenor and speaker)
  • Victoria University Wellington: 'Women and Nineteenth-Century Literature', January 2015 ("Sapphos of the Drawing-Room")
  • University of Toulouse: 'Gold in Art/L'Art et l'Or', September 2014, keynote speaker ("All is not gold that glitters: reaffirming value in a time of change")
  • Watts Gallery/Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art/University of Guildford: 'Dickens and the Visual Imagination', July 2012 ("Dickensian subjects and the Women's Movement Agenda")
  • Australasian Victorian Studies Association: annual conference 'Changing the Subject' February 2011, plenary speaker ("Defining the Victorian")
  • Massey University at Te Papa Tongarewa: 'Contained Memory', December 2010 ("Whose War?")
  • Art Association of Australia and New Zealand: annual conference, November 2009 ("Can the Subaltern speak? Women picturing the 1914-18 war")
  • Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier, October 2009: 'British Aestheticisms' ("Alienation, Adoption or Adapatation?")
  • Australasian Victorian Studies Association: annual conference 'The Victorian Sensorium', February 2009 ("The Sense of Sight")
  • University of Exeter (UK): interdisciplinary conference 'Artistry and Industry', July 2008, member of three-person plenary panel ("Ethel Rivers' Ambition, Dorothy's career and other cautionary tales")
  • Association of Art Historians (UK): annual conference 'Location: Museum, Academy, Studio', April 2008 ("Finding a Seat in the Big Tent")
  • 123rd MLA annual convention: Chicago, December 2007, 'The Pre-Raphaelite and Aesthetic Family' ("Not quite as Ruskin said: Kate Greenaway's place in the Pre-Raphaelite Family")
  • Australasian Modern British History Association: annual conference 'Visual Cultures of the British World', September 2007 ("The Cottage Paradise")
  • Te Whainga Aronui/Council for the Humanities national conference "Transformations '07', August 2007 ("As a Woman, I have no Country")
  • Association of Art Historians (UK): annual conference 'Contestations', April 2007 ("I read therefore I am: Sophie Anderson's Children's Storybook")
  • Art Association of Australia and New Zealand: annual conference, December 2005 ("From the Studio to the Study: Roger Fry and Vanessa Bell")
  • Association of Art Historians (UK): annual conference 'Old/New?', April 2004 ("The Woman of Today: Laura Knight 1910-29")
  • Art Association of Australia and New Zealand: annual conference, December 2003 ("Collecting a canon: French 19thc. art in Australasian museums")
  • NZ Association of Art Educators: annual conference, April 2003 ("Identity Crisis: teaching about women artists in the 21st century")
  • University of Hawaii (US): First International Conference on Arts and Humanities January 2003 (" Women Artists after the Death of the Author")
  • North American Association of British Studies: annual conference, November 2002 (respondent, "New Perspectives on Victorian Art and Literature")
  • Australasian Victorian Studies Association: annual conference, January 2002 ("Ownership and representation: female artists and the nude")
  • New Zealand Historical Association: international conference 'Connections: from local to global', December 2001 (convenor, Visual History strand)
  • Australasian Victorian Studies Association: annual conference in February 2001 ("The Angel in the House and on the Pedestal")
  • Barnard College, New York: annual Feminist Art and Art History Conference in October 2000 ("Looking Askance: lesbian artists and the nude 1900-1930")
  • Comité Internationale de l'Histoire de l'Art: 4-yearly conference, September 2000 ("Time and Tide wait for no Man: the decorative apocalypse of Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale")
  • Art Association of Australia: annual conference, December 1999 ("Competing Truths: feminist art and the female image")
  • University of Canterbury Dept of Art History: national conference 'The History of Herstory: 25 years of feminist art history', September 1999 ("National Heroines: women artists, history and political convenience")
  • Mid-West Victorian Studies Association (US): annual conference, April 1999 ("Handmaiden to the Master")
  • Association of Art Historians (UK): annual conference 'Identities', April 1998 ("Pre-Raphaelitism as a Turn-of-the-Century Art")
  • Art Association of Australia: annual conference 'Visually Crossing Cultures' October 1997 ("Black Faces, White Dramas")
  • Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies (US): annual conference 'The Exhibition of Cultures', April 1996 ("As Pretty as a Picture")
  • University of Havana (Cuba): international conference 'Women on the Threshold of the 21st Century', November 1995 ("Home-made, I'm afraid: the evaluation of women's creativity")
  • University of Leicester (UK): interdisciplinary conference 'Race and the Victorians', July 1995 ("The Picture of British Manhood")
  • Interdisciplinary Nineteenth Century Studies (US): annual conference 'Colonialism' in March 1993 ("Recognition and Romanticisation: the black figure in progressive British painting")
  • Centre for Australian Studies, Curtin University: international conference 'Outside Images of Australia', July 1992 ("Truth, Dare or Promise: Images of Australia for British Emigrants in the mid 19th century")
  • Australasian Victorian Studies Association: annual national conference, February 1992 ("The Domestication of History: Victorian women's history painting")
  • Art Association of Australia: annual national conference, September 1990 ("The Corinthian Maid Revisited" and "An Oblique Look: representations of lesbianism in 1920s Paris")
  • Association of Art Historians (UK): annual national conference 'Art and Tradition', 1987 ("Conflicting Images of the female Artist").
  • Social History Society (UK): annual national conference, 1985 ("Masculinity and Femininity in Cultural Production in 19th-century Britain")
  • The Victorian Society (UK): annual national conference, 1981 ("Victorian Women Artists Abroad")
  • The History Workshop Centre for Social History, Oxford University: quarterly conference, Spring 1981 ("The Imagery of Colonisation in Victorian Art", with Clare Chapman)
  • Association of Art Historians (UK): annual national conference, 1979 ("The Victorian Family: art and life").


  • 2015: appointed to programme committee, New Zealand Portrait Gallery
  • 2008: appointed to review committee, Cahiers Victoriens et Edouardiens
  • 2007: appointed to editorial board, British Art Journal
  • 2007: appointed to Council of Friends, Hypatia Trust, UK
  • 2005: joint organizer, international conference "What is the Contemporary now?", University of Canterbury
  • 2003:organizer, public lecture series A Degree of Excellence, Christchurch Arts Centre
  • 2002-4: member (representing the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts; of the Olivia Spencer Bower Foundation selection committee
  • 2001: member of organising committee, NZ Women's Studies Association national conference "Knowing Women", Christchurch
  • 2001: judge (representing New Zealand members), Power Book prize of the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand
  • 2000: advisory board member representing New Zealand, Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide
  • 1999: organizer, national conference "The History of Herstory: 25 years of feminist art history", University of Canterbury
  • 1982- : occasional reviewer/reader for Art New Zealand, Ashgate Press, Auckland University Press, Australian Research Council, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art, Australian Feminist Studies, Australian Journal of Art, AVSA Journal, Britain and the World, Cassone, Oxford University Press, Pacific Accounting Review, Pre-Raphaelite Studies, The Art Book, Victorian Review, Victorian Studies, Woman's Art Journal.

CURATING (see also under publications)

  • 2012: Curator, "Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale, a Pre-Raphaelite journey", Lady Lever Art Gallery Port Sunlight, and Watts Gallery 2013
  • 2009: Curator, "Independently Modern", Goodison room, Tate Britain
  • 2007: Curator, "Cutting a Dash: selected works by Sandra Thomson", SoFA Gallery, Christchurch, NZ
  • 2006-7: Curator, "From Victorian to Modern: tradition and innovation in the early work of Vanessa Bell, Gwen John and Laura Knight", Djanogly Art Gallery Nottingham, Laing Art Gallery Newcastle, Castle Museum and Art Gallery Norwich, UK
  • 2005: Curator, "Collecting a Canon: paintings and drawings from two Christchurch collections", SoFA Gallery, Christchurch, NZ
  • 1999: Curator, "Women invade Art: a personal record of the women's art movement", School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ
  • 1996-7: Joint curator, "Pre-Raphaelite Women Artists", Manchester City Art Gallery, UK November 1997; Birmingham City Art Gallery, UK February 1998; Southampton Art Gallery, UK June 1998
  • 1993: Consultant, "White Camellias: 100 years of women's art", Robert McDougall Gallery, Christchurch, NZ
  • 1985: Researcher, consultant and selector, "Solomon: a family of painters", Geffrye Museum, London (1985) and Birmingham City Art Gallery (1986)
  • 1983: Consultant, "Lady Waterford Centenary Exhibition", Lady Waterford Hall, Northumbria, UK
  • 1982: Researcher, consultant and selector, "The Women's Art Show 1550-1970", Castle Museum Nottingham, UK