George William Joy’s painting of the death of General Gordon on the steps of the governor’s palace in Khartoum was not even mentioned in The Times’ report on the Royal Academy exhibition of 1894. Although ignored by critics and dismissed as inaccurate by scholars, Joy’s painting became one of the iconic images of the British empire. Using a host of unpublished illustrations, this lecture will explore how Joy’s vision captivated so many and came to define how the British empire was remembered.
Formerly a Fellow and Director of Studies in History at Christ’s College, Cambridge, Max now teaches at the University of Manchester and is a recent winner of the university’s ‘Teacher of the Year’ award. He specializes in the cultural history of war and heroism, and is currently writing a new history of British heroes. Public lecturing is Max’s passion. Alongside lectures at Manchester and other universities, he has spoken about his research to public audiences throughout the UK and beyond, from the Isles of Scilly to Hobart, Tasmania.