Meredith Gamer

Assistant Professor

18th- and 19th-Century European Art
Ph.D., Yale University, 2015

Contact Information

Phone: (212) 854-4230
Office: 904 Schermerhorn Hall
Office Hours: Tuesdays, 2-4, by appointment only (sign up sheets on office door)


Meredith Gamer specializes in the visual and material culture of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe, with a focus on Britain and the British Empire. Her interests include the relationship between art, violence, and ethics; print culture; medical and anatomical illustration; the visual culture of slavery; and postcolonialism and contemporary art.

Gamer’s current book project, The Sheriff’s Picture Frame: Art and Execution in Eighteenth-Century Britain, centers on the spectacle of punishment in Britain’s long eighteenth century. Drawing on a range of sources—from popular woodcuts to graphic satires, grand manner paintings, and plaster-cast models—it traces the links between rituals of execution and practices of art making, criticism, instruction, and display. By attending to the gallows as a maker of images and subjects, the book challenges long-standing narratives concerning the refinement and modernity of art in this period.

In 2014, Gamer co-curated the exhibition Figures of Empire: Slavery and Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain with Esther Chadwick and Cyra Levenson at the Yale Center for British Art. She is also at work on two new projects: a study of the material history and contemporary reception of William Hunter’s Anatomy of the Human Gravid Uterus (1774); and a broad investigation of the role of physical violence—as rendered on the body and landscape, as well as on the canvas and sketchbook page—in the visual cultures of the British colonial world.

Gamer received her PhD from Yale University in 2015. She holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art. She is the recipient of a Paul Mellon Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (2010-2013) and a Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation (2013-4). Her work has also been supported by fellowships and grants from the Kress Foundation, Huntington Library, and Paul Mellon Center for Studies in British Art. Before coming to Columbia, she was Postdoctoral Associate at the Institute of Sacred Music, Yale University.

Selected Publications

Figures of Empire: Slavery and Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain, with Esther Chadwick and Cyra Levenson. New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, 2014.

“Criminal and Martyr: The Case of James Legg’s Anatomical Crucifixion.” In Sensational Religion: Sensory Cultures in Material Practice, edited by Sally Promey, 495-513. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014.

“George Morland’s Slave Trade and African Hospitality: Slavery, Sentiment and the Limits of the Abolitionist Image.” In The Slave in European Art: From Renaissance Trophy to Abolitionist Emblem, edited by Jean Michel Massing and Elizabeth McGrath, 297-319. London and Turin: Warburg Institute, 2012.

Vignette Watercolours c.1826–1842.” In J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, edited by David Blayney Brown. Tate Research Publication, December 2012.