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Mrs Beth Richards

Post:School Tutor (Art History)
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I am a School Tutor in the Art History Department at the University of Sussex.

I was awarded my Ph.D. in July 2020 and my thesis is entitled The East India Company’s Engagement with Indian Dress in England, c. 1720-1800. Set within a British and global context my research examines the direct relationship between dress as an object and its association to its portrayal in visual culture. Through the impact of travel, dress and art generate gendered implications that provide a culturally hybridized translation of ethnicity.

My main areas of specialism are dress as a cultural mediator within art history, principally during the long eighteenth century but not exclusively. I use primary historical evidence as an art historical approach to connect recorded items of dress to their consequent depiction in portraiture.

A placement at the NPG in 2017-2018 gave me an in-depth knowledge of slavery and black presence in satirical prints of this period as well as additional research into the role of the Royal African Company and the involvement of Hans Sloane. As such, I have a broad and up-to-date knowledge of debates relating to Eighteenth-century art and culture. 


Papers given:

4 - 6th January 2019               

British Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, 48th Annual Conference, St. Hugh’s College Oxford.

What’s in a name? Marian Hastings and Marie-Antoinette: Creating ‘Brilliant’ Disorder 


22 November 2018                  

Objects in Focus. A Postgraduate Seminar Series, University of Sussex.

The Clive Sarpech: A Commodity of Imperialism or a Mughal Art Object?


8th June 2018                          

Paul Mellon Centre, Research Lunch series, Summer 2018.

Travellers and Translators: The Returning Indian Turban as East India Company Uniform 


14th March 2018                      

NPG Staff Research Seminar Spring 2018.

Travellers and Translators: The Returning Indian Turban as East India Company Uniform. 


1st March 2018                        

Doctoral Workshop: Rethinking Asia. Global Studies Department, University of Sussex.

Travellers and Translators: The Returning Indian Turban as East India Company Uniform.



Association for Art Historians

Association of Dress Historians

Society of Jewellery Historians

The Costume Society




2015 – 2020 PhD Art History, University of Sussex (supervisor Prof. Geoff Quilley)

2013 – 2015 MA Art History (Distinction), University of Sussex

1998 – 2001 BA Honours History (2:1), Birkbeck College, University of London