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Dr Rebecca Virag

Research Assistant, Prints

Following completion of her Ph.D. at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London (2003), Rebecca has worked on various documentation and cataloguing projects at galleries and museums, including writing short-texts on 19th-century British art at Tate Britain and producing on-line resources on French Impressionism for the Courtauld Gallery.

A period in 2004 as a Neil MacGregor Scholar cataloguing European paintings pre-1850 at Nottingham Castle Museum was followed by employment at the Royal Academy of Arts, cataloguing and researching two large collections of works on paper by Sir George Clausen, R.A. and Dame Laura Knight, R.A. This project culminated in 2008 with an exhibition of Knight’s drawings, The Magic of a Line: Drawings by Dame Laura Knight, R.A., Library Print Room, Royal Academy of Arts.

Rebecca’s work at the Fitzwilliam Museum has focussed on cataloguing and documenting the unaccessioned areas of the print collection, in particular the large collection of valentines, the majority of which were bequeathed to the museum in 1928 by mathematician and Fellow of Trinity College, J.W.L. Glaisher. An exhibition on the theme of love, showcasing the valentines collection, will run from January 30th –May 27th 2018 and a supporting publication on the Fitzwilliam Museum’s collection of valentines is forthcoming. 


Research Interests

Nineteenth and early-twentieth-century British art, especially Victorian narrative painting and Pre-Raphaelite revival imagery. Most recently, interested in the Fitzwilliam’s collection of prints, including a number of valentines, by George Baxter and his licensees, Joseph Mansell and Abraham Le Blond. 


Recent/Major Publications

Contributions to:

Opulence and Anxiety: Landscape Paintings from the Royal Academy of Arts (Compton Verney, 2007)
Art in the Age of Queen Victoria (The Royal Academy of Arts, 1998)
Exposed: The Victorian Nude (Tate Britain, 1999)


‘Exhibiting Eugenics: “Fair Women”, historical portraits and the question of provenance’, Victorian Visions, Clare College, University of Cambridge, 2004 
‘Visualising the maternal body: Eugenics and ante-natalism in turn-of-the-century British Painting’, The New Woman in the International Periodical Press, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2000 
‘The “clean” and the “dirty” in Burne-Jones’s Pygmalion series’ ’, Edward Burne-Jones, Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, 1999