Richard Checketts

Richard Checketts


I am Associate Professor in Renaissance Art and Culture, Deputy Head of School, and Programme Director for BA Art History and Art History with Cultural Studies, and the MA Social History of Art. Before returning to the University in 2011 as a Lecturer, I had held a Leverhulme postdoctoral research fellowship, after which I moved to the Victoria and Albert Museum where for two years I taught on the MA in Design History run jointly between the Museum and the Royal College of Art. My PhD, supervised by Professor Alex Potts and Professor Christine Stevenson, was on eighteenth-century art theory, and I held a Yale University Paul Mellon Centre postdoctoral research fellowship to work on the same topic. My undergraduate degree was in photographic practice.

I am currently an external examiner at the University of York, and will take up the same position at the University of St Andrews in late-2023. I have previously acted in that role at Birkbeck, University of London, as well as serving as a panel member for the quinquennial review for Humanities at the University of Buckingham, where I also conducted an external review of all modules in Art History. I have served as an external PhD thesis advisor at the University of York, and on the PhD scholarship awards committee for the White Rose College of Arts and Humanities. From 2019–2022 I worked with colleagues in art history across the UK on the Association for Art History Higher Education Committee.

I am currently on the editorial board for Art History.


  • Deputy Head of School
  • Programme Director BA Art History and BA Art History with Cultural Studies
  • Programme Director MA Social History of Art

Research interests

I am an art historian of the late-Renaissance and Baroque with particular interests both in the close analysis of objects and in philosophy. My research centres on materials as sites of social and political encounter. I am interested in the complex ways in which contestations around the nature of materials in artworks and architecture were linked to wider social structures and transformations. My principal area of focus currently is seventeenth-century Rome, with a monograph in progress on cultures of building, natural philosophy, and the uses of marble. At present I am also completing an article on glass and complex questions of value that emerged in sixteenth-century Europe as a result of expanding global networks of exchange and conflict. A chapter on a work by the early seventeenth-century silversmith Adam van Vianen is under review. I have also published on English art theory in the eighteenth century.

I am interested in critical and historical approaches to materials in broader contexts too, as well as the relationships between art or image-making and other forms of knowledge, and I would certainly welcome PhD enquiries for projects centred outside the Renaissance and Europe.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD
  • BA (Hons)

Student education

My teaching covers a broad range of topics and approaches in late-Renaissance and Baroque art and architecture, with more focused courses on ideas about materials in that period. I also teach on historiography, methodology and critical theory, leading the MA Social History of Art core module in this area. For the latter, my teaching covers a range of thinkers but I am particularly interested in the work of Antonio Gramsci, Italian microhistory, and related intellectual frameworks.

I am passionate about research-driven teaching where students play an active role, and about the transformational potential of a challenging, dynamic and intellectually rigorous educational environment. Throughout my time at Leeds I have collaborated on improvements in student education, from module- and programme design to assessment. At present, I am co-ordinating major curriculum redesign in Art History and Art History with Cultural Studies, as part of a University-wide project. More broadly within the School, I am interested in developing collaborations in the ways in which we might think about ‘practice’ as something integral to all forms of activity we carry out in the School – in the seminar room as much as in the studio and our engagement with museums and communities.

At Leeds I have supervised five PhDs through to completion, with a sixth in its final stages. I am particularly keen to work on interdisciplinary projects, and this has meant that much of my supervision has been with colleagues in other Schools: in History with Dr Alex Bamji, and (for two projects) in Philosophy, Religion, and the History of Science with Professor James Stark, Dr Jon Topham, and Dr Adrian Wilson

Current and recent PhD projects

  • Fiona Sit on Bernini and clay (expected completion 2023).
  • Hannah Kašpar on Robert Adam and artisanal networks (2022).
  • David Rowe on sexual health advertising (2021)
  • Giulia Zanon on citizenship in early modern Venice (2019)
  • Richard Bellis on making anatomical knowledge in late-Georgian Britain (2019)
  • Luisa Lorenza Corna on Manfredo Tafuri (2016)

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>