Kim Sloan

Curator of British Drawings and Watercolours before 1880 and the Francis Finlay Curator of the Enlightenment Gallery

Department: Prints and Drawings 


+44 (0)20 7323 8705

Kim Sloan, BA (Toronto), PhD (London) is responsible for drawings and watercolours by British and Irish artists from the 1580s to the 1880s and Room 1, Enlightenment: Discovery and Learning in the Eighteenth Century.

In 1986, she curated an exhibition on Alexander Cozens for the Victoria and Albert Museum, which travelled to the Art Gallery of Ontario with additional works by his son (The Poetry of Landscape: Alexander and John Robert Cozens, Yale, 1986). She worked for four years on the preparation of Sir Brinsley Ford's Grand Tour Archive for publication by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (completed by John Ingamells, 1997) before joining the British Museum as curator of British Drawings and Watercolours in 1992.

Her exhibitions at the British Museum have focused on Sir William Hamilton and his collections, on the department's magnificent collection of watercolours by Turner in the Lloyd Bequest and on works by amateurs and drawing masters, which developed ideas from her thesis. She was seconded to be Principal Curator in the creation of the Enlightenment Gallery from 2000 to 2003 and then returned to duties in the Prints and Drawings Department, while maintaining curatorial responsibility for the Gallery.


Current projects

Enlightenment Architectures: Sir Hans Sloane’s catalogues of his collections

Principal Investigator for this Leverhulme Trust Research Project which aims to understand the intellectual structures of Sloane’s catalogues and with them the origins of the Enlightenment disciplines and information management practices they helped to shape. Working closely with the Co-Investigator, Julianne Nyhan, from Digital Humanities at UCL, the project will examine Sloane’s catalogues to reveal the way he and his contemporaries collected, organized and classified the world, through their descriptions, cross-references and codes.

Sloane’s Treasures 
Principal British Museum Investigator for this AHRC exploratory award to work with the British Library and Natural History Museum planning a large project to ‘reconstruct’ the collection of Sir Hans Sloane (project ended 2014 but continues in the form of regular collaborative meetings and planning).

Heading the British Museum team of curators teaching on a collaborative interdisciplinary MA in Eighteenth Century Studies with King’s College London

Previous projects (and accompanying publications)

Room 1: Enlightenment 
Principal Curator of the Enlightenment Gallery, (opened 2003)

Vases and Volcanoes: Sir William Hamilton and His Collection, 1996 (Room 5) (joint curator with Ian Jenkins, Greece and Rome)

J.M.W.Turner: Watercolours from the R.W. Lloyd Bequest, 1998 (Room 90)

The Intimate Portrait: Drawings, Miniature and Pastels from Ramsay to Lawrence, 2009, a joint exhibition with the National Galleries of Scotland, joint curator with Stephen Lloyd, Senior Curator, Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Co-Curator: In Search of Classical Greece: Travel Drawings of Edward Dodwell and Simone Pomardi, 1805-1806, Room 90, 7 February 2013 – 28 April 2013.

Places of the Mind: British watercolour landscapes 1850-1950, Room 90, 23 February – 27 August 2017

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London

Past member of the Advisory Council of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

Leverhulme Fellow at the National Portrait Gallery, London (September 2007 - January 2008)

Past member of the Advisory Council of the Walpole Society

Member of the Beckford Society, American and British Societies for Eighteenth Century Studies

External Examiner for Museum and Art Gallery Studies MA, Leeds University (2007-12)

Steering Committee for the Re:Enlightenment Project

Recent publications

K. Sloan, ‘Sir Hans Sloane's Pictures: the science of connoisseurship or the art of collecting?’, Huntington Library Quarterly, vol. 78, no. 2 (2015): 381–415.

K. Sloan, ‘Seen through a glass darkly: Dodwell and Pomardi’s drawings and watercolours of Greece’, in John Camp, (ed.), In Search of Greece: Catalogue of an Exhibit of Drawings at the British Museum by Edward Dodwell and Simone Pomardi from the Collection of the Packard Humanities Institute: 27-42, (Los Altos, Ca., Packard Humanities Institute, 2013)

K. Sloan, ‘Sir Hans Sloane’s Pictures and Drawings in Frames and Books of Miniature & painting, designs, &c', in Alison Walker, Arthur MacGregor and Michael Hunter (eds), From Books to Bezoars: Sir Hans Sloane, his collections and their social and colonial milieu, pp.168-89 (London, British Library Press, 2012)

K. Sloan, ‘Naples, where the landscape painter is most truly in his element’, in A. Weston-Lewis, Expanding Horizons: Giovanni Battista Lusieri and the Panoramic Landscape, National Gallery of Scotland, pp.72-81 (Edinburgh, 2012)

K. Sloan, ‘Surpassing the others in Prospect and Situation: Six Watercolours by John Robert Cozens’ in S. Wilcox and L. Sanchez (eds), The English Prize: The Capture of the Westmorland, an Episode of the Grand Tour, pp.115-25, 186-91 (New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 2012)

K. Sloan, ‘Adorning Aspasia's Closet: Mrs. Delany's Paintings and Drawing’, in M. Laird and A. Weisberg-Roberts, Mrs. Delany and Her Circle, (New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 2009)

K.Sloan and S. Lloyd, The Intimate Portrait: Drawings, Miniature and Pastels from Ramsay to Lawrence (Edinburgh and London, National Gallery of Scotland and British Museum Press, 2008)

K. Sloan, ed., European Visions: American Voices (proceedings of conference on John White and the New World, BM, June 2007), British Museum Research Publication no. 172 (printed book; also available online)

K. Sloan, A New World: England's first view of America (London, British Museum Press, 2007)

K. Sloan, Enlightenment: Discovering the World in the Eighteenth Century, with A. Burnett (London, British Museum Press, 2003)

K. Sloan, A Noble Art: Amateur Artists and Drawing Masters c.1600-1800 (London, British Museum Press, 2000)