British Artists Abroad, 1798-1898


‘Of the gladdest moments in human life’, the explorer Richard Burton wrote, ‘is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands’. Here, Burton summarised the Victorian compulsion to travel, a feeling shared by many as imperial borders expanded, new international relations were formed and technology spurred on an interconnected and global age. However, it was the artists of the period who defined the iconography of Victorian travel. Artists such as JMW Turner, William Holman Hunt and Edward Lear travelled to pursue new sights, colours and sensations to use in their work.

In this weekend course, we will follow a range of British artists across thousands of miles, from Jerusalem to Japan, and see the world from their perspective in painting, drawing, photography and illustration.

The weekend also includes a visit to the Ashmolean Museum to see, first-hand, the work of several key British artists working abroad. We will see that travel was not only for leisure as artists followed and depicted conflict in foreign countries. They were confronted by the troubling consequences of active and passive British mass movement and we will also consider the responses of local people to these travellers in their midst. Travel also pushed artists to try new techniques such as coloured photography and mass produced wood engravings. Above all, this course will reveal an universal goal across all art: to connect with other people and places to try and make sense of the world.

Programme details

Saturday 28 January 2023


Credentials, Currency and Creativity: Artists’ Mobility in the Early Nineteenth Century

Tea/coffee break

Japan and Coloured Photography in the Work of Francis Frith and Raimund von Stillfried Ratenicz

Lunch break

Session at Pitt Rivers 

Tea/coffee break

Discussion session

Course ends for the day


Sunday 29 January 2023


Visit to Ashmolean Museum Western Art Galleries

Lunch break

From the Front Lines: The Art of War Reportage in The Illustrated London News 

Tea/coffee break


The Lure of the East: Frederic Leighton and British Orientalism

Course disperses


Description Costs
Tuition fee £160.00
Saturday baguette £6.10
Saturday dinner £24.30
Saturday hot lunch (3 courses) £16.50
Single B&B Saturday night £95.00
Single room only Saturday night £81.50
Sunday baguette £6.10
Sunday hot lunch (3 courses) £16.50


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit or are a full-time student in the UK you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Maddie Hewitson


Madeline Hewitson is a Research Assistant at the Ashmolean Museum and holds a doctorate in art history from the University of York. Her research focuses on nineteenth-century British Orientalist visual culture and representations of the Holy Lands. Her current research project, supported by a Paul Mellon Centre Research Continuity Grant, investigates the unique role of the Old Testament in Victorian visual culture.


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.


Accommodation for this weekend is at Rewley House for Saturday night only. If you would like to book a double or a twin room, please email

Depending on availability it may also be possible to extend your stay: please enquire at the time of booking for availability and prices.

All bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.