Christopher Brown Assistant Keeper of Northern European Art
As the curator of Northern European Art my research is largely focused on art made in the modern-day regions of Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany. Since I joined the Ashmolean in 2015 I have curated a display of Rembrandt’s earliest known paintings featuring allegorical scenes of The Five Senses, 'Sensation: Rembrandt's First Paintings' (16 September–27 November 2016). I recently redeveloped the Dutch Gallery (Room 45) into the Dutch and Flemish Gallery in order to highlight the Ashmolean’s Flemish paintings from the 17th century.
I am currently collaborating with Museum De Lakenhal (Leiden, The Netherlands) on a major research project focusing on Rembrandt as a young artist. Following this project an international loan exhibition will be organised in Leiden and Oxford in autumn 2019 and spring 2020. I am also compiling an exhaustive collections catalogue of the Ashmolean’s Northern drawings (around 1,500 sheets) as these were last published by K.T. Parker in 1938. I have a great passion for old master prints and am currently researching the print collection of Francis Douce, which was bequeathed to the University of Oxford in 1843 and transferred from the Bodleian Library to the Ashmolean Museum in 2003. I am also responsible for the documentation and digitisation of the graphic collections held at the Western Art Department. In this capacity I train and supervise staff, interns and volunteers working on the collection database, in particular on the graphic works.
As the curator responsible for Northern European Art I am responsible for the museum’s Dutch, Flemish and German prints, drawings and paintings. I joined the Western Art Department at the Ashmolean in September 2015. I am involved in teaching and research at the University of Oxford (Faculty of History) and am a Fellow of St Cross College. Previously I worked in the Department of Prints and Drawings at The British Museum, first as Cataloguer of the Dutch and Flemish prints before 1900 (2006–10 during which I created almost 15,000 records for the Museum’s online database) and later as Curator of Dutch and Flemish Prints and Drawings (2010–15). At The British Museum I curated small displays on the graphic works of Adriaen van Ostade and David Teniers the Younger (2010), and Hercules Segers (2012). In 2015 I co-curated a major international exhibition on metalpoint drawings, 'Drawing in Silver and Gold', shown at the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the British Museum in London. I was also the Lead Curator of eight Asahi Shimbun Objects-in-Focus Displays at The British Museum (2014–15).
Before I joined The British Museum I studied History, Archaeology, Art History and Museum Studies at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium) and at University College London.
Between 2010 and 2017 I was a member of the programme committee of CODART (International Network for Curators of Art from the Low Countries) and continue to be a regular member. In 2013 I was the laureate of the Christoffel Plantin Prize which recognises a Belgian living abroad who is active in the cultural, artistic, scientific or social sector and whose work contributes to the prestige of Belgium abroad.
2017 [Review: Ger Luijten, Peter Schatborn and Arthur K. Wheelock (eds.), Drawings for Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt, exhibition catalogue National Gallery of Art Washington and Fondation Custodia Paris, 2016], in The Burlington Magazine 159, pp. 500–2.
2017 Review: Stefaan Hautekeete and Joris Van Grieken, Emblemata Evangelica: Hans Bol, exhibition catalogue Royal Library, Brussels, 2015], in Print Quarterly 33, pp. 198–9
2017 Masters of metalpoint in northern Europe with Giulia Bartrum, in Joanna Russell, Judith Rayner, Jenny Bescoby (eds.), Northern European Metalpoint Drawings: Technical Examination and Analysis, London, pp. 5–12
2016 Sensation: Rembrandt's First Paintings, exhibition brochure Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology (University of Oxford), Oxford
2016 [Review: Freyda Spira with Peter Parshall, The Power of Prints: The Legacy of William M. Ivins and A. Hyatt Mayor, exhibition catalogue The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in The Burlington Magazine 158 (2016), p. 833
2016 The Entombment, in Pilar Silva Maroto (ed.), El Bosco, exhibition catalogue Museo del Prado, Madrid, cat. no. 20
2016 Multiple catalogue entries, in Stijn Alsteens and Adam Eaker (eds.), Van Dyck: The Anatomy of Portraiture, exhibition catalogue The Frick Collection, New York, cat. nos. 28/29/30/51/52/62/63/75/76/77/78/80/81/97.
2016 The Use of Goldpoint and Silverpoint in the Fifteenth Century, in Albert J Elen and Friso Lammertse (eds.), An Eyckian Crucifixion Explored: Ten Essays on a Drawing, Rotterdam, pp. 44–57
2015 Metalpoint drawings in the Low Countries in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in H. Chapman and S. Sell (eds.), Drawing in Silver and Gold, exhibition catalogue National Gallery of Art Washington and The British Museum London, New Haven, pp. 144–87
2015 Metalpoint drawing in the Low Countries, in CODART eZine 6 http://ezine.codart.nl/17/issue/53/artikel/metalpoint-drawings-from-the-...
2015 Dibujar en plata y oro: Hendrick Goltzius fue un avezado expert en la tecnica de la punta metalica, in Tendencias del Mercado del Arte 82, pp. 38–9
2015 [Review: Richard Verdi, Rembrandt’s themes: Life into art, New Haven and London, 2014], in The British Museum Magazine 81, p. 60
2015 Curator’s Choice: Hercules Segers’ Landscape with the Pine Branch, in The British Museum Magazine 81, p. 64
2014 Benelux Bonanza [Review: Christopher White and Jane Shoaf Turner, Dutch & Flemish Drawings in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014], in The Arts Newspaper 262, p. 88
2014 Dominant Powers, in The British Museum Magazine 79, p. 12
2013 Jan Brueghel the Younger and the Nuremberg drawings, in Delineavit et Sculpsit 36, pp. 22–43
2013 Breughel: Gemälde von Jan Brueghel der Ältere, in M. Neumeister (ed.), exhibition catalogue Alte Pinakothek Munich, cat.no. 45 and 67
2013 Robert Dighton and his spurious collectors marks on Rembrandt prints in the British Museum, London, in The Burlington Magazine 155, pp. 88–94
2013 Popular Sayings, in The British Museum Magazine 75, pp. 48–49
2012 Frans Pannekoek, in Print Quarterly 29, pp. 441–442
2012 Proverbs, in The British Museum Magazine 73, p. 12
2012 Tour around Antwerp, in The British Museum Magazine 72, pp. 46–7
2011 James Hughes Anderdon's Collectanea Biographica: An extraordinary collection in the Keeper's Office, in Print Quarterly 28 (2011), pp. 410–14
2010 Etchings by drawings collector Nicolaes Flinck (1646–1723), in Print Quarterly 27, pp. 371–81.