Participant Info

First Name
Naomi
Last Name
Billingsley
Affiliation
Independent scholar
Website URL
Keywords
Art History, Bible Illustration, Bible Painting, Book History, Book Illustration, British Art, Christianity and Art, Correspondence Studies, Romanticism
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

Photo
About Me

I have been publishing as an independent scholar since 2020, alongside a day job in research management in the cultural sector.

My research is concerned with the intersection of the history of art and the history of Christianity in Britain, especially in the Romantic period. In other words, my work focuses on how Christianity and art interacted in Britain in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. I am also interested in Christianity and art more broadly, and have worked and published on topics including biblical themes in art, and twentieth century ecclesiastical art.

My current book project is based on research undertaken during a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship. It focuses on the Macklin Bible – an exhibition and publication project that resulted in an ambitious illustrated Bible, issued between 1791 and 1800. My research examines the formation and reception of the Bible in the context of religious visual culture in the Romantic period.

I also have an interest in histories of correspondence, and was a co-founder of the Manchester Centre for Correspondence Studies.

Communicating my work to the public is an important part of my work. Previous projects have included:

  • Activities for the public programme associated with the exhibition ‘Burning Bright: William Blake and the Art of the Book’ at the John Rylands Library in 2013.
  • A discussion group, a popular blog, a pastoral resource and an art pilgrimage trail (via the app ‘Alight: Art and the Sacred’) in my work in the Diocese of Chichester (2015-2016).
  • Curating a virtual reality tour for the Big Blake Project (2016).

I am happy to hear from individuals or organisations interested in developing public engagement or media activities related to my research interests.

Recent Publications

Digital exhibition gallery: ‘The Public Ministry of Jesus in the Butts Biblical Designs’ in William Blake’s Biblical Illustrations (The William Blake Archive, 2021).

Digital edition: Bible Illustrations (Manchester Digital Collections, 2020).

Book chapter: ‘“As the Eye Is Formed”: Seeing as Christ in Blake’s Bartimaeus‘, in The Figure of Christ in the Long Nineteenth Century, ed. Elizabeth Ludlow (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), pp. 39–52.

Monograph: The Visionary Art of William Blake: Christianity, Romanticism and the Pictorial Imagination (I.B. Tauris, 2018).

Journal article: ‘Reviewing William Blake’s Paradise Regained (c.1816-1820)‘, Religion and the Arts 22.1-2 (2018), pp. 16-39.

Catalogue essay: ‘“On the Stocks”: Biblical watercolours from the Felpham period‘, in Andrew Loukes (ed.), William Blake in Sussex: Visions of Albion (Paul Holberton Publishing for the National Trust, 2018), pp. 33-45.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Britain
Expertise by Geography
British Isles, England, United Kingdom
Expertise by Chronology
18th century, 19th century, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Art & Architectural History, Book History, Libraries & Archives, Literary History, Museums, Religion