Nicole M. Hartwell

Associate Researcher

Research Interests

I specialise in visual and material culture of late-18th to 19th century Britain, with a focus on art portraying historical subjects (especially those pertaining to the history of the British Empire) and Victorian social and cultural life. My research, talks and publications to date have examined various themes including the history of collecting and collections, British military traditions, representations of warfare in British art and Victorian portraiture. 

Presently, I am a Junior Research Fellow at Selwyn College, University of Cambridge working on my first book. 


Hartwell, Nicole M., 'Coveted, silvered, inscribed: currency as mementoes of colonial military campaigns', in Richard Kelleher (ed), Defaced! Money, Conflict, Protest exhibition catalogue (Paul Holberton Press).

Hartwell, Nicole M., 'The Indian Army wrought in silver', Muster Magazine, Summer 2022, pp. 10-13.

Henrietta Lidchi and Nicole M. Hartwell, 'Colonial collections in British military museums: Of objects, materiality and sentiment', in Howard Morphy and Robyn McKenzie (eds), Museums, Societies and the Creation of Value (London: Routledge, 2021), chapter three.

Hartwell, Nicole M., 'Framing colonial war loot: The 'captured' spolia opima of Kunwar Singh', Journal of the History of Collections (published online as an advance article in 2021).

​Kirke, Lt Col Charles and Nicole M. Hartwell, 'The officers' mess: An anthropology and history of the military interior', in Stuart Allan and Henrietta Lidchi (eds), Dividing the Spoils: Perspectives on Military Collections and the British Empire (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2020), chapter 5.

Hartwell, Nicole M., 'Artefacts of mourning and the Indian Uprising, 1857-8', International Committee for Museums and Collections of Arms and Military History Conference Proceedings, 2019.

Hartwell, Nicole M., 'A repository of virtue? The United Service Museum, collecting, and the professionalization of the British armed forces, 1829-1864', Journal of the History of Collections 31(1), 2019, pp. 77-91.

Hartwell, Nicole M., 'Uncovering stories of military collecting', History Scotland 18(5), 2018, pp. 8-9. 

Gregory M. Reichberg & Henrik Syse, with the assistance of Nicole M. Hartwell, Religion, war, and ethics - A sourcebook of textual traditions (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Conference presentations / public events:

I was the chair/discussant for Peter Stanley's talk 'Re-thinking John Company's Armies, 1824-57', India Institute, University of Edinburgh, 15 November 2022.

Hartwell, Nicole M., 'The history of the Sudan Campaign, 1881-99', Community Curators project, Highlanders' Museum, Fort George, 8 November 2022. 

Hartwell, Nicole M., Patrons talk, Indian Army Memorial Room, Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, 19 October 2022.

Hartwell, Nicole M., 'Stone, shot and tattered silk: Material fragments of colonial military campaigns', Cultural History Seminar, Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, 27 April 2022. 

Hartwell, Nicole M., 'Exhibiting colonial legacies, Rethinking the Indian Rebellion Community Curators project, Highlanders' Museum, Fort George, 16 March 2022. 

Hartwell, Nicole M., 'Early Career Perspectives', British Military History Past, Present and Future, Chelsea History Festival, 21 September 2021. 

Hartwell, Nicole M., ‘Legacies of Empire’, International Perspectives on Military Collecting, National Army Museum, 27-28 February 2020.

Hartwell, Nicole M., ‘A Victorian Military Martyr: The Relics of General Charles Gordon’, Société Française d’Etudes Victoriennes et Edouardiennes Conference ‘Showcasing Empire’, Aix-Marseille Université, Aix-en-Provence, 20-22 February 2020.

Hartwell, Nicole M., 'Provenance Research and Nineteenth Century Military Collecting', Provenance Research, Collecting Histories and Due Diligence: Enriching Understanding for Museums and Audiences, National Museums Scotland, 29 October 2019.

Hartwell, Nicole M., 'Thinking Beyond Loot: The Colonial Origins of Collections', Research Seminar Series, National Museums Scotland, 2 October 2019.

Lidchi, Henrietta and Nicole M. Hartwell, 'Can We Trust Ourselves? Ethnographic Objects in Military Museums', Museum Ethnographers Group Annual Conference, Horniman Museum, 25 April 2019.

Hartwell, Nicole M., 'Provenance Research and Military Collections', National Army Museum Conference, 3 April 2019.

Lidchi, Henrietta and Nicole M. Hartwell, 'Military Collections and the British Empire', British Museum, 21 February 2019.

Hartwell, Nicole M., 'Artefacts of Mourning and the Indian Uprising, 1857-8', International Committee for Museums and Collections of Arms and Military History', Ljubljana, Slovenia, October 2018.

Hartwell, Nicole M., 'The Historical Perspective', Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research / British Army Conference on Military Ethics in a Multicultural Britain, Sandhurst, 14 February 2018.

From July 2017 - November 2020 I was Postdoctoral Researcher at National Museums Scotland for a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. One of the outputs for this project was an exhibition held at the National War Museum, Edinburgh Castle, titled 'Legacies of Empire'. For this exhibition I undertook the majority of the research, and acted as lead curator.

In 2017 I was awarded my DPhil at the University of Oxford in Modern British and Imperial History.

From 2010-2013 I was a Research Assistant at PRIO. In addition to my current role at Selwyn, I am a Managing Editor for the Journal of Military Ethics, and an Associate Researcher at National Museums Scotland.

I am originally from Australia and have further degrees in history and international affairs from the University of Western Australia, the University of Melbourne, and the Australian National University. 

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