Yale Center for British Art welcomes two new collection curators

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Yale Center for British Art welcomes two new collection curators
Timothy Young, Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts. Photo courtesy of Yale Center for British Art.

NEW HAVEN, CT.- The Yale Center for British Art announced the recent appointments of Lucinda Lax as Curator of Paintings and Sculpture and Timothy Young as Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts. Both curators were appointed following extensive international searches. Lax has taken on her role as Curator of Paintings and Sculpture and Young joins the YCBA in July.

“Lucinda and Tim stood out among the field of international candidates. They are out- standing curators and scholars, and it is a pleasure to welcome them to the museum,” said Courtney J. Martin, Paul Mellon Director. “Their new voices and perspectives will be invaluable as we reshape our galleries and continue to steward Paul Mellon’s collection.”

“I am thrilled to bring two such accomplished curators on board during this time of transformation at the museum,” shared Martina Droth, Deputy Director and Chief Curator. “Lucinda and Tim bring deep historical knowledge in their respective fields, opening new opportunities to tap into the great strengths of the collection and develop ambitious projects. I look forward to working with them on our future programming.”

Lucinda Lax, Curator of Paintings and Sculpture

Lax comes to the YCBA from the National Galleries of Scotland, where she served as Senior Curator, Portraiture (1700–1800). At the YCBA she is responsible for the museum’s renowned collection of paintings and sculptures, which includes a comprehensive representation of British landscape, portrait, and sporting art dating from 1720 to 1850.

A specialist in eighteenth-century British art, Lax will play a key role in developing a dynamic and rigorous program of exhibitions and publications to enhance the collection’s profile and increase audience engagement. She will oversee a fully reimagined installation of the permanent collection, which will be on view when the museum, currently closed for building conservation, reopens to the public in 2024.

“I am honored to be given this opportunity to work with one of the world’s great collections of British art,” said Lax. “It is an exciting moment to join the YCBA as we prepare to rehang the galleries. I look forward to working with colleagues to develop a program of exhibitions and events that engages and inspires all our audiences.”

During her nine-year tenure with the National Galleries of Scotland, Lax managed the presentation and interpretation of three major gallery spaces at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. She curated two permanent collection exhibitions: Scots in Italy: Artists and Adventurers (installed in 2016) and The Remaking of Scotland: Nation, Migration, Globalisation, 1760–1860 (installed in 2018). The latter was widely recognized for intro- ducing critical debates about colonialism and Scotland’s role in the transatlantic slave trade to the National Galleries of Scotland’s displays.

Lax has lectured and published widely on aspects of eighteenth-century art, including the work of Sir Henry Raeburn, Allan Ramsay, and Antonio Zucchi. She received her BA, MA, and PhD from the University of York, where she focused on the work of
the eighteenth-century English portraitist and genre painter Edward Penny, who was a founding member and the first professor of painting at the Royal Academy.

Timothy Young, Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts

As the Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, Tim Young will steward the museum’s exceptional collection and develop programs for display, exhibitions, and publications. Young comes to the YCBA from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, where he was Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts.

During his time at the Beinecke, Young had curatorial oversight of materials related to the arts, humanities, and literature from 1800 through the present, with a focus on English literature; children’s books; LGBTQ+, women’s, and gender studies; and popular culture. He was curator of the Betsy Beinecke Shirley Collection of American Children’s Literature, a world-class research archive of children’s literature.

“I am delighted to continue my career in the larger system of Yale’s special collections,” Young said. “Working with the resources at the YCBA will allow me to renew my focus on bibliography and manuscripts. Paul Mellon was an astute collector, and I look forward to exploring how the interconnections of his library and his collections of art can be used for teaching and research.”

In addition to publishing numerous articles, books, essays, and reviews, Young curated several exhibitions at the Beinecke, including Life of the Party: Jerome Zerbe and The Social Photograph and Michael Childers: Author! Author! (both 2019); Happiness: The Writer in the Garden (2017); and My Heart in Company: The Work of J. M. Barrie and the Birth of Peter Pan (2005), among others. He received his MLIS from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Texas at Austin, and his BA in English literature from the University of Tulsa.

Young was recently named the Sandars Reader in Bibliography at the University of Cambridge for 2024. The Sandars Readership is one of the most prestigious honorary posts to which book historians, librarians, and researchers may be appointed. Young will deliver the annual Sandars Lectures on the topic “Resistance to Bibliography”
in November 2024. The lectures will subsequently be published as a monograph by Cambridge University Press.

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