Rebecca Birrell was born in Liverpool in 1991. She studied English Literature at UCL, then Women’s Studies at The University of Oxford. She has occupied curatorial positions at the Jewish Museum London, The Department of Prints and Drawing at The British Museum and at The Charleston Trust. In 2018 she undertook a fellowship at the Yale Center for British Art. While finishing her PhD at the Edinburgh College of Art, she worked on the photographic archive at The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust. For the next year she will be Assistant Keeper of Paintings, Prints and Drawings at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge.
Her first book, This Dark Country: Women Artists, Still Life and Intimacy in the Early Twentieth Century, a blend of collective biography and art criticism, was published by Bloomsbury in August 2021.
‘This Dark Country is a wonderfully rich, deeply researched page-turner about six women artists from the early 20th century and their relationship to creativity and intimacy. Rebecca Birrell’s prose is sumptuous, precise and bewitching – she responds to works of art and the lives of the people who created them with an equivalent imaginative flourish. I can’t recommend it enough.’ — Jennifer Higgie
‘As seductive as it is scholarly … Riveting’ — Financial Times
‘Unusual and refreshing … Brilliant’ — Leanne Shapton
‘[A] wonderful book. I am impressed and fascinated. It is beautifully written’ — Celia Paul