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Professor Fintan Cullen

Dean of Faculty of Arts and Education

Acting Head of Division of International Communication


BA, University College Dublin

MA, University College Dublin

MPhil, Yale University

PhD, Yale University


Room 210, Admin Building

199 Taikang East Road
Ningbo 315100
Campus: Ningbo China 

Tel: +86 (0)574 8818 0082 

Email: Fintan.Cullen@nottingham.edu.cn


Expertise summary

Fintan Cullen's main research area is the art and representation of Ireland from the eighteenth century to the twentieth century. His publications display a long interest in exploring the representation of Ireland's colonial relationship with Britain. Although Ireland is the focus of much of his work, in a wider sense he is interested in the relationship between national identity and art production and he welcomes applications from research students interested in exploring these themes in a variety of cultures or historical periods. His most research topic has been on display and spectacle in Ireland in the long nineteenth century.

Before coming to Nottingham in 1994 (promoted to a Chair in Art History in 2005), Fintan Cullen had worked as a Lecturer at Trinity College Dublin and at Staffordshire University as well as spending time as a curatorial assistant at the National Gallery of Ireland (1979-1980). As a graduate student at Yale he worked as an intern in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Yale Centre for British Art and as an educational adviser to the docent programme. Apart from spending time in New Haven, Connecticut as a graduate student at Yale (1982-87), Fintan Cullen has also lived for at least two years in Italy (1976-7 and 1978-9: working as a language teacher, and later researching towards a MA for UCD); he also lived in Japan for eighteen months studying aspects of Japanese art (Kobe University, 1980-82).

Professional activities

For many years, Fintan Cullen has been an active member of the UK Association of Art Historians and in time has served as convener of an Annual Conference (Trinity College Dublin, 1990), Honorary Secretary of the Association (1996-9) and Deputy Editor of Art History (2002-2007). He has also acted for the Arts and Humanities Research Council's Peer Review College. He has been a member of the executive committee of the Society for the Study of Nineteenth-Century Ireland and served as a judge for the postgraduate essay prize sponsored by the British Association for Irish Studies.

From August 2012, Fintan Cullen is on secondment from the University of Nottingham UK to the University of Nottingham Ningbo China as Dean of Arts and Humanities. He will be there until Summer 2015.


Professor Cullen welcomes enquiries on research supervision on all aspects of Irish and British art and visual culture from 1750 onwards. He particularly welcomes enquiries relating to postcolonial cultures, centres and peripheries and the politics of display.

Research Summary

Current Research

Has just published a book entitled Ireland on Show: Art, Union and Nationhood (Ashgate, 2012 /9781409431091). Book discusses the role of visual spectacle and the display of art in an evolving modern nation. This study looks at exhibition and museum history in Ireland (and of Ireland abroad), from the beginnings of public exhibitions in the eighteenth century through to the Hugh Lane's gift of nineteenth-century French paintings to the city of Dublin in the early twentieth century. Alternative forms of display beyond exhibition rooms are also examined. These alternative forms of display include such disparate visual spectacles as public panoramas of imperial victories which travelled around the island of Ireland in the early nineteenth century to magic lantern distribution of more local political events in the 1880s and 1890s. The aim of the book is to discuss and examine access to and the display of visual material in Ireland and amongst the Irish diaspora during the period 1800 to c.1920. Various sections of the book have appeared in essay form over the past few years: see History Workshop Journal (2002), Dana Arnold's The Aesthetics of Britishness (2004), the Irish Review (2007), Field Day Review (2008) and Dublin James Joyce Journal (2009).

Fintan Cullen speaks frequently at international conferences and in April 2013 he will speak at an international art history conference at Liverpool Hope University. This conference is entitled ‘Inter-Culture 1400-1850: Art, Artists and Migration’. A few years ago, he gave a plenary address at the annual conference of the Irish Museums Association in Killarney, Co Kerry while in September 2010 he spoke at the annual conference Research Society for Victorian Periodicals at Yale University (USA). Also in 2010 he spoke in a session on imperial tensions and display at the annual conference of the Association of Art Historians, University of Glasgow. In that year he gave a plenary at the Ireland and Modernity conference at Queen's University Belfast while in March 2011 he gave a seminar paper at Universite Lille 3 Charles de Gaulle.

In 2008 he spoke at the Society for Research on Nineteenth-Century Ireland annual conference at the University of Limerick and he was invited to speak to the Friends of the National Collections of Ireland (Dublin) and read a paper at the annual conference of the Canadian Association for Irish Studies (St Michael's College, University of Toronto). Recently, he spoke at a conference at the University of Manchester investigating the 150th anniversary of the great Art-Treasures Exhibition in Manchester (1857). In the past he has spoken at the Association of Art Historians’ annual meeting (Belfast, 2007), the National Portrait Gallery, London (Facing Portraiture, 2002) and Regency Portraiture (2003), the Annual Conference of the Association of Art Historians, London, April 2003 in the session, 'Dislocution: Expressing displacement in visual culture' and at the AAH annual conference in Nottingham in 2004. In 2004, he and Art History Editor, Professor Deborah Cherry (University of Amsterdam), co-hosted a session at CAA Seattle entitled 'Border Crossings in Art History: Britain and the United States, 1970s to the present'. Together with Deborah Cherry, in January 2007, he also co-hosted a two day conference on Display and Spectacle that has now appeared in journal and book form: Art History, September 2007 and as Spectacle and Display (Blackwells, 2008).

Past Research

In autumn 2011 published an essay on Thomas Farrell's marble monument to Paul Cardinal Cullen in Dublin's Pro-Cathedral as part of a book of essays published by Four Courts Press (Dublin), eds., Daire Keogh & Albert McDonnell. This essay originated as a talk at an international conference on Cardinal Cullen held in Dublin in September 2009. In 2010 I published an essay on Joshua Reynolds' portrait of the Irish-American, Charles Carroll (1763; Yale Center for British Art) in the journal of the Eighteenth-Century Ireland Society (vol. 25, 2010, pp. 149-160). Other recent publications include an essay on Brian Tolle's monument to the victims of the 1840s famine that was published in Wasafiri, summer 2010.

As Deputy Editor of Art History (2002-07), Fintan Cullen was involved in the co-editing of two special issues which became free-standing books published by Blackwell's. First to appear was an issue on the theme of Location (journal, late 2006; book, early 2007). This was followed in 2007 with a publication on the theme of 'Display and Spectacle' (journal late 2007; book in 2008). 'Display and Spectacle' was also the topic of an international conference convened by the editors of Art History (Deborah Cherry and Fintan Cullen) held at the University of Nottingham in January 2007.

Contributed conference paper to session on 'Irish Studies and History of Art: impossible dialogues' at Association of Art Historians' annual conference in Belfast, April 2007; paper title: 'Irish visual studies and interdisciplinarity' (session convener, Lucy Cotter).

Contributed an essay to exhibition catalogue on Irish painting 1800-1945 to be published by Phoenix Art Museum, Spring 2007.

Contributed an essay and catalogue entries on Daniel Maclise for an exhibition catalogue to be published by the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, 2008.

As co-editor of Art History, co-hosted a session at CAA Seattle entitled 'Border Crossings in Art History: Britain and the United States, 1970s to the present'.

Invited by National Portrait Gallery, London to co-curate an exhibition with Professor R.F. Foster (University of Oxford), Conquering England: Ireland in Victorian London. The exhibition ran from March to June 2005 and displayed about 80 objects as well as being accompanied by a catalogue consisting of two essays and brief entires on the exhibits.

In 2004, published The Irish Face. Redefining the Irish Portrait (London, National Portrait Gallery).

In 2005, co-edited A Shared Legacy. Essays on Irish and Scottish Art and Visual Culture (Ashgate). This collection of essays consisted of twelve essays by academics from Ireland, Scotland, England and North America.

In 2005 contributed an essay and exhibition entries to catalogue of an exhibition on James Barry: James Barry 1741-1806 'The Great Historical Painter', ed. Tom Dunne (Crawford Art Gallery and Gandon Editions, 2005).

Contributed essay on recent art historical research to Nineteenth-Century Ireland. A Guide to Recent Research, eds., Laurence M. Geary & Margaret Kelleher (University College Dublin Press, Dublin, 2005)

Contributed essay on the visual arts to The Cambridge Companion to Modern Irish Culture, eds., Joe Cleary and Claire Connolly (Cambridge UP, 2005)

Earlier publications include Sources in Irish Art: A Reader (Cork, 2000) and Visual Politics: The Representation of Ireland 1750-1930 (Cork, 1997)

Future Research

I am presently working on the Irish-born nineteenth-century cartoonist John Doyle who worked under the pseudonym of HB. I gave a paper on Doyle at Yale in Sept. 2010; at the University of Liverpool in July 2011 and at Cambridge in Nov. 2011 and I continue to work on him and his satires of the Irish politician Daniel O’Connell, British Prime Minister Robert Peel and others. All of this will be part of a bigger project on the art of humour as if affects Ireland from the late eighteenth century to the early twentieth century. In winter 2012, he will publish the first results of this new topic in a book of essays entitled Irish Elites in the Nineteenth Century, ed., Ciaran O’Neill (Four Courts Press, Dublin).


  • FINTAN CULLEN, 2012. Ireland on Show: Art, Union and Nationhood, Ashgate

  • FINTAN CULLEN, 2012. Visual parody and political commentary: John Doyle and Daniel O'Connell. In: Irish elites in the nineteenth century, Four Courts Press (in Press.)

  • CULLEN, FINTAN, 2011. ‘Visualizing Ireland's first cardinal’. In: Cardinal Paul Cullen and his World, Four Courts Press Ltd., 401-413

  • FINTAN CULLEN, 2010. ‘Charles Carroll of Carrollton: Painting the portrait of an Irish-American aristocrat’, Eighteenth-Century Ireland. 25, 149-160

  • CULLEN, FINTAN, 2009. 'Museum with those goddesses': Bloom and the Dublin Plaster Casts’, Dublin James Joyce Journal. 2, 24-38

  • CHERRY, D AND CULLEN, F., 2008. Spectacle and Display, Wiley

  • CULLEN, F., 2008. ‘The Lane Bequest. Giving Art to Dublin’, Field Day Review. 4, 187-201

  • CULLEN, F., 2008. ‘Maclise and Shakespeare’. In: PETER MURRAY, ed., Daniel Maclise 1806-1870 Romancing the Past. Crawford Art Gallery, Cork and Gandon Editions, Kinsale. 168-179

  • CULLEN, F., 2007. 'Ireland in England: painting history?' Irish Review. 36 & 37, 49-66

  • CULLEN, F., ed., 2007. Location Oxford : Blackwell.

  • 'Conquering England': Ireland in Victorian London 2005. At: National Portrait Gallery, London03/01/2005 00:00:00-06/01/2005 00:00:00.

  • CULLEN, F. and MORRISON, J., eds., 2005. A Shared Legacy: essays on Irish and Scottish art and visual culture Aldershot: Ashgate.

  • CULLEN, F., 2005. 'The visual arts in Ireland'. In: CLEARY, J., ed., The Cambridge Companion to Modern Irish Culture Cambridge : Cambridge University Press. 304-321

  • CULLEN, F., 2005. Art History: Using the Visual. In: GEARY, L.M. and KELLEHER, M., eds., Nineteenth-Century Ireland. A Guide to Recent Research Dublin: University College Dublin Press. 153-64

  • CULLEN, F., 2005. 'Barry and his public: issues of display and access' also a number of catalogue entries on key paintings in exhibition. In: DUNNE, T., ed., James Barry 1741-1806.'The Great Historical Painter' Oysterhaven, Co Cork : Gandon Editions. 36-45

  • CULLEN, F., 2004. The Irish face: redefining the Irish portrait London: National Portrait Gallery.

  • CULLEN, F., 2004. Union and display in nineteenth-century Ireland. In: ARNOLD, D., ed., Cultural identities and the aesthetics of Britishness Manchester: Manchester University Press. 111-33

  • CULLEN, F., 2002. Marketing National Sentiment: Lantern Slides of Evictions in Late Nineteenth-century Ireland History Workshop Journal. ISSU 54, 163-180

  • CULLEN, F., 2000. Radicals and Reactionaries: Portraits of the 1790s in Ireland. In: SMYTH, J., ed., Revolution, Counter Revolution and Union, Ireland in the 1790s Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.

  • CULLEN, F., 2000. Hugh Douglas Hamilton. In: BOWRON, E.P., ed., Art in Rome in the Eighteenth Century London : Merell.

  • CULLEN, F., ed., 2000. Sources in Irish Art: A Reader Cork : Cork University Press.

  • CULLEN, F., 1998. Who Owns Irish Art? Eire-Ireland; a Journal of Irish Studies. VOL 33/34(NUMBER 3/4/1), 15-21

  • CULLEN, F., 1998. Lord Edward Fitzgerald: the creation of an icon History Ireland. VOL 6(NUMBER 4), 17-20

  • CULLEN, F., 1997. Visual Politics: The Representation of Ireland 1750-1930 Cork : Cork University Press.

  • CULLEN, F., 1997. 'The Cloak of Charity': The politics of representation in late eighteenth-century Ireland Irish Review. ISSUE 21, 66-74

  • CULLEN, F., 1995. Visual Politics in 1780s Ireland: The Roles of History Painting Oxford Art Journal. 18(1).

  • CULLEN, F., 1993. The Art of Assimilation: Scotland and its Heroes Art History. 16(4).

  • CULLEN, F., 1984. The Oil Paintings of Hugh Douglas Hamilton Volume of the Walpole Society. 50.

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