Caroline Rae - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Caroline Rae

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Dr. Caroline Rae

Caroline Villers Research Fellow

Thesis: Anglo-Netherlandish Workshop Practice in the 1580s and early 1600s with a focus on the works of John de Critz the Elder and Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger

Supervised by Aviva Burnstock

Funded by the Leverhulme Trust

The primary focus of my doctoral research is portrait paintings attributed to John de Critz the Elder (d.1642) and Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder (1561/2–1636). My research aims to utilise technical examination and the close examination of paintings attributed to both artists in order to address questions relating to authorship and workshop practice. De Critz and Gheeraerts were two of the most successful artists of the late Elizabethan and early Jacobean eras (de Critz was Serjeant Painter to King James VI and I and Gheeraerts was employed to undertake artistic work for both the Elizabethan and Jacobean courts). The focus topic is significant within research in this field for this reason, because the oeuvres of both artists have not been critically reassessed since the 1960s and because recent technical examinations of groups of works attributed to these artists carried out at the National Portrait Gallery, London and at Yale Center for British Art highlighted problems inherent within their currently attributed ouevres.

A further focus of my research is the transmission of painting techniques between native English and émigré Netherlandish artists working in London in the late sixteenth century and the early seventeenth century. By analysing the influence of distinctive Netherlandish painting practices on de Critz, Gheeraerts and two successful native contemporary artists, Robert Peake the Elder (c.1551–1619) and William Larkin (c.1580–1619), the notion of the existence of an identifiable “Anglo-Netherlandish” (as opposed to native English) painting technique in the late sixteenth century and early seventeenth century is addressed.


  • The Courtauld Institute of Art/ National Portrait Gallery, 2011-2016
    Ph.D candidate
  • Courtauld Institute of Art, 2007 – 2001
    Postgraduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings
  • University of Edinburgh 1999 – 2001
    Studies towards a Ph.D on the work of Sir Peter Rubens specifically his representations of women
  • University of Edinburgh/ Edinburgh College of Art, 1994 – 1999
    MA (hons) Fine Art, 1st class honours


  • January 2015, The Courtauld Institute of Art
    Visiting Lecturer, BA1 Topic Course, Rubens in Paint and on Paper
  • October 2012, November 2013, October 2014, Courtauld Institute of Art
    Lecture entitled “Portrait painting in Tudor and early Jacobean England” given to first-year students on the PG Dip. Conservation of Easel Paintings course as part of their materials and techniques lecture series in the Department of Conservation and Technology
  • January – February 2008, 2014, The Courtauld Institute of Art – Teaching Assistant, BA1 Foundation Course Physical History January of Works of Art
    I held weekly tutorials and marked essays for all first year BA History of Art and Postgraduate Diploma in the History of Art students on this core subject, promoting discussion and deepening knowledge from the Lecture syllabus on subjects such as changing history of materials and ethics of conservation.
  • May 2000, University of Edinburgh
    Lecture entitled “Whore or Heroine? Rubens’s representations of Judith” given to 4th year Honours students
  • October 1999 – June 2000 Edinburgh College of Art – Humanities tutor, first-year students
    I weekly tutored students in art history from the classical period to the modern day for the 1999 – 2000 academic year.

Research interests

  • seventeenth century Netherlandish painting
  • sixteenth – nineteenth century painting in Britain
  • Tudor and Jacobean portraiture
  • Henry Fuseli
  • technical art history
  • transmission of ideas between native and émigré artists

Recent publications

  • Rae, C. “John de Critz, Marcus Gheeraerts, Robert Peake, William Larkin,” chapter in Painting in Britain 1500-1630 – Production, Influences and Patronage, ed. by Burnstock, A. Cooper, T., Howard, M. and Town, E. to be published by the British Academy in 2014.
  • Rae, C. and Burnstock, A. “Defining the origins and characteristics of Anglo-Netherlandish and native workshop practices in late Elizabethan/ early Jacobean England: comparative technical study of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (1561/2 – 1636), John de Critz the Elder (d.1642), Robert Peake the Elder (c.1551 – 1619 and William Larkin (c.1580 – 1619)” in ed. A. Wallert et al. Painting Techniques, History, Materials and Studio Practice, Postprints of the International Symposium on Painting Techniques held at the Rijksmuseum, 18th -20th September 2013
  • Rae, C. “Steven van der Meulen”, “Edward Lutterell”, and “Robert Peake the Elder” dictionary entries for the Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon, to be published by de Gruyter, Munich
  • Rae, C. and Burnstock, A. “Technical study of portraits of King James VI and I attributed to John de Critz the Elder (d.1642); artist, workshop and copies’, in ed. Erma Hermens, European Paintings 15th – 18th Century: Copying, Replicating and Emulating, Archetype, 2014
  • Rae, C. and Young, C. “A technical study of three paintings on a Shakespearian theme by Henry Fuseli RA”, The Picture Restorer (Journal of The British Association of Paintings Conservator-Restorers), No. 39, Autumn 2011, pp. 12 – 15
  • Rae, C. and Belaia, K. “Gauguin at the Metropolitan: Revelations Through Technical Examination”, review of a series of lectures presented by Charlotte Hale, a conservator at the Sherman Fairchild Paintings Conservation Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, at the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2008 ICON Magazine, 2008

Academic awards

  • 2013: awarded a Visiting Fellowship in the Conservation Department of Yale Center for British Art (I attended in September/ October 2013)
  • 2007: awarded the Painters Stainers Scholarship (for three years Conservation study)
  • 1999: awarded a Major Scottish Studentship for Rubens studies
  • 1999: awarded an Edinburgh University Small Scholarship for academic excellence
  • 1997: awarded a Carnegie Vacation Scholarship to study in the Prado
  • 1997: awarded the Alfred Bader prize for best essay on Rembrandt Honours course, University of Edinburgh

Gallery/exhibition participation

  • Technical research into Henry Fuseli on display at the V &A as part of their exhibition Research on Paintings: Technical Art History and Connoisseurship (17th December 2012 – September 2013)
    I assisted the Victoria and Albert Museum regarding the recent reattribution of a painting in their collection (The poet observing Nerea with her new lover in her grotto, 1810 – 1813) to Henry Fuseli. This research was recently on display at the V &A as part of their exhibition Research on Paintings: Technical Art History and Connoisseurship and will be published in a forthcoming article by Nicola Costaras and Clare Richardson in the V & A Research Bulletin.
  • “The Secret History of a painting, Sir Philip Sidney attributed to John de Critz the Elder”
    This was a small temporary exhibition entitled held at Bolton Museum between January – March 2013. I wrote the display and visitor pamphlet text and supplied images for this exhibition, which focused on my technical research into their portrait of Sir Philip Sidney, attributed to John de Critz and two related portraits of the same sitter in the collections at Penshurst Place and Knebworth House.

Conference organisation participation

  • The Kings Head: Charles I King and Martyr
    I worked as assistant to convener Dr. David Howarth on this international conference in Edinburgh (coinciding with the 350th anniversary of the execution of Charles I) to accompany an exhibition held at Holyrood Palace organised jointly with the Royal Collection


  • Council member of the British Association of Conservator Picture Restorers (BAPCR)

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