Job title: Professor of Eighteenth-Century History of Art, History of Art

Tel: +44 (0) 131 650 8426


Office address: Room 2.19, Fire Station

Contact time: Monday, 4pm - 5pm

Research outputs: Prof Viccy Coltman on Edinburgh Research Explorer

Viccy Coltman is a Professor of eighteenth-century History of Art at the University of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. A former head of the School of History of Art during the merger between the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh College of Art (2010-13), she has extensive leading and management experience, in addition to an international reputation for her original, archival-based research. She specialises in visual and material culture in the eighteenth century; her previous work on the reception of the antique focussed on histories of collecting ancient sculpture, while her ongoing projects consider various themes relating Scotland and identity formation, including Scots in Europe, London and Empire. To date, she has published two books, one edited book and one co-edited volume plus articles in leading journals in her field.

In 2006 Viccy was awarded a prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize. Her work has been generously supported by grants and fellowships from the British School at Rome, the Paul Mellon Centre, the Yale Center for British Art, the Henry Moore Foundation, Colonial Williamsburg, the Huntington Library, the Whitney Humantities Centre, the North Caroliniana Society, the British Academy, CRASSH (University of Cambridge), CASVA (National gallery of Art, Washington DC) and IASH (University of Edinburgh).

Viccy is on the organising committee for the International Society for eighteenth-century Studies who will be holding a major international conference at Edinburgh in 2019 on the theme of ‘Enlightenment Identities’. She formerly sat on the executive committee of the British Society for eighteenth-century Studies;  was  an external advisor for the UCL Leverhulme-funded project ‘The East India Company at Home’ (PI: Margot Finn) and a contributor to the AHRC-funded Early Modern Dress and Textiles Research Network (PI: Evelyn Welch). She is an experienced mentor for members of the department and for early career scholars at IASH.

Viccy has co-convened a number of international conferences and symposia, on Portraiture and Materiality with Marcia Pointon at the Sterling and Francine Clark Institute in 2012; Politeness and Puurience: Shaping transgressive sexualities in the long eighteenth century, University of Edinburgh, 2012; Sir Henry Raeburn: Critical Reception and International Reputation, National Gallery of Scotland, 2006. She is the academic lead on a MOOC devoted to Jacobite material culture – a collaboration with the National Museum Scotland.

Recent PhD completions


Heather Carroll, Visualising elite political women in the reign of Queen Charlotte, 1761-1818

Maeve O’Dwyer, From Batoni’s brush to Canova’s chisel: Painted and sculpted portraiture at Rome, 1740-1830


Elisabeth Gernerd, Têtes to Tails: Eighteenth-century underwear and accessories in Britain and colonial America, part-funded by the Pasold Foundation


Freya Gowrley, Gender, Craft & Canon: Elite women’s engagement with material culture in Britain, 1750-1830, fully-funded by a College of Humanities and Social Sciences Award, University of Edinburgh

Visual and material culture; reception of antiquity; history of collecting; Scots in empire

Current PhD students

  • Beyond Genius: the Reception, Reputation and Afterlife of Robert Adam
  • The Art and History of Werner's Nomenclature of Colours
  • Great Scott! Sir Walter Scott and the Materialist Imagination 1750-1850
  • 'As imagination bodies forth the forms of things unknown': Materialising Shakespeare's Plays in Britain 1688-1837
  • Colecciones de trajes de España
  • Loyal Exchange: the material and visual cutlure of Jacobite exile, c.1716-1766

PhD Supervision Topics

  • Visual and material culture
  • Reception of antiquity
  • History of collecting
  • Scots in empire