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The University of Southampton

HIST2230 British Portraiture: Curating the Self, 1600-Present

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • British art history from 1600 to the present.
  • Changing concepts of the self.
  • Consider how visual media are used to represent selfhood.
  • Reflect on contemporary attitudes towards self-fashioning, identifying how social media has evolved from earlier technologies of representation.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Gather a range of historical images, identifying the stylistic and other design features, tropes and patterns which help art historians attribute and date individual works of art.
  • Draw connections between traditional art history and social history.
  • Design a temporary exhibition for a public gallery.
  • Write museum labels.


We will begin by considering the range of technologies employed in self-representation, from Instagram and Facebook to oil painting, follwed by instruction in the history of British portraiture and changing ideas of the self. We will then begin to survey the City Art Gallery's holdings, using online tools as well as visits to the Gallery's storage facility. In your group you will begin to discuss possible themes for your exhibition; individually you will research your chosen portrait. Further guidance will be given on picture research, label writing and exhibition "hangs", some of it delivered through individual tutor consultations. Finally the agreed exhibition theme will be presented to curatorial staff at the City Art Gallery.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures. "Looking through drawing" in City Art Gallery Tour of City Art Gallery exhibition. Visits to City Art Gallery collection store. Museum label-writing workshop. Group work on exhibition planning. Independent reading and research for essays. Individual consultations with module convenor. Presentations.

Independent Study132
Completion of assessment task52
Preparation for scheduled sessions80
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Art UK Website.





MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment  (200 words) 25%
Assessment  (80 words) 25%
Essay/report  (3000 words) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment  (80 words) 25%
Assessment  (200 words) 25%
Essay/report  (3000 words) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment  (80 words) 25%
Assessment  (200 words) 25%
Essay/report  (3000 words) 50%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Students will make their own way to Civic Centre for workshops.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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