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Penelope Jackson

Freelance art historian, writer, and curator.


I am an art historian with specialist interests in the portraiture of Katherine Mansfield and New Zealand art crime. In 2008 I attended the Katherine Mansfield Centenary Conference, at Birkbeck, the University of London. For many years I had been researching about the images of Katherine Mansfield - her portrait – as painted in her time and since. Presenting at the conference set me on a journey that has continued to this day and just a few weeks ago an exhibition I’ve curated for the New Zealand Portrait Gallery, Katherine Mansfield: A Portrait, opened (1 August – 22 October 2018). It showcases a century of portraits of Mansfield, from the representational to the abstract. Several works were especially commissioned for the exhibition and so adding to the cachet of images of Mansfield. During the last decade I have presented at other conferences as well as having articles published about Mansfield (see below). For me, the depiction of Mansfield in so many stylistic interpretations continues to be a source of ways of understanding her as a writer and a woman. In December 2018 another exhibition I’ve curated, The Garden Party, opens at Waikato Museum. The NZUK Link Foundation grant set me on an amazing path that continues to offer opportunities for research and the sharing of art historical knowledge.

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