British Prints before 1880 Department: Prints and
Sheila O’Connell is the curator responsible for British prints up to the late nineteenth century. Her main interests are the eighteenth century print trade, particularly the career of William Hogarth, and British popular prints and satires.
+44 (0)20 7323 8208
Working with Tim Clayton, an independent print and military historian, to research the British relationship to Napoleon as seen through contemporary prints.
Working with a team of cataloguers to prepare records of the collection of British and French prints for online access: more than 200,000 such prints already have records and efforts are currently focussed on the Museum’s collection of portrait prints up to the early 20th century.
Curator of Britain meets the World 1714-1830, organised jointly with the Palace Museum, Beijing, and on show there in 2007. The exhibition used objects made and collected by Britons during the reigns of George I. II, III and IV to provide an insight into Britain’s perception of itself and its place in the world.
In 2003, she organised London 1753, an exhibition portraying the city in which the British Museum was founded 250 years ago.
In 1999 she organised an exhibition dealing with the cheaper end of the print market before the days of mass production. This was accompanied by her book, The Popular Print in England
External fellowships/ honorary positions
Council Member, London Topographical Society
Curatorial adviser, Dr Johnson’s House
Trustee, William Hogarth Trust
Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries
S. O’Connell, ‘Portraits of an Actor: David Garrick (1717-79)’, in A. Milano (ed.), Generali e mendicanti, attori e sovrani. Ritratti nelle stampe a larga diffusione dal XVII al XX secolo, Bassano, 2013, pp. 347-61
S. O’Connell, ‘Humorous, Historical and Miscellaneous: Mezzotints, One Shilling Plain, Two Shillings Coloured’, in Publishing History, LXXX, 2013, pp. 83-100
S. O’Connell, ‘Samuel Molyneux, Mary Toft and Nathaniel St André’, in Paul Holden, The London Letters of Samuel Molyneux, 1712-13, London Topographical Society, 2012
S. O’Connell and R. Baker, ‘Satirical Prints by Jefferyes Hamett O’Neale’, in Print Quarterly, XXVIII, 2011, pp.338-343
S. O’Connell, ‘O'Neale as a Miniature Painter and Print Designer’, in S. Hanscombe, Jefferyes Hamett O'Neale, China Painter & Illustrator, London, 2010
S. O’Connell, ‘One of the Hungry Mob of Scriblers and Etchers: Johnson’s Pension in Visual Satire’, in The Age of Johnson, XX, 2010, pp. 61-78
S O'Connell (ed.), Britain meets the World (exhibition catalogue, The Palace Museum, Beijing, 2007)
S. O'Connell, London 1753 (British Museum, 2003) (British Museum exhibition catalogue)
S. O'Connell, The Popular Print in England (British Museum, 1999)
S. O'Connell, 'This Horryble Monster ...: an Anglo-German broadside of 1531', with D. Paisey, Print Quarterly, March 1999
S. O'Connell, 'William Second Baron Cheylesmore (1843-1902) and the Taste for Mezzotints', in A. Griffiths (ed.), Landmarks in Print Collecting (Houston, and elsewhere, Museum of Fine Arts, 1996-7)