Thursday, 5 June 2014

From submission to Viva Voce and beyond: 'Oh! Color, color, dear tormenting color, thou darling of the eye!'

Apologies for the silence, but the last few months were taken up with actually finishing my doctoral thesis, for which I am referring to this dramatic illustration (courtesy of

I submitted my thesis (400 pages plus 80 pages of illustrations) on 12 January 2014, and it felt a bit like sending my daughter off to nursery for the first time. Here is the pictorial story, in colour, since then:

Submission moon, on the way home
Then came months of waiting, until I was giving a Viva date: 9 May 2014.
This is what Viva Voce preparation looks like. A still life of six years of part-time research:

My external examiner was Abraham Thomas, the new Director of the Sir John Soane Museum in London. The Viva was scheduled to take place at the Soane - an utterly appropriate place. It took place at 2 pm on the ground floor of No.14 Lincoln's Inn Fields (bottom right in the picture) and lasted about two hours.

 I waited here for about fifteen minutes for the verdict, being very very tense and nervous (as indeed I was in the weeks leading up to it):
No 14, Lincoln's Inn Fields
And the outcome was an astonishing and totally unexpected "unconditional PhD". This picture was taken outside the Soane Museum just after the Viva, with dear Franky Bulmer, who waited outside for me. She dressed topically, I played it safe in black and came armed with tissues.

This is what post-Viva celebrations look like (involves a lot of Champagne and cake):

This is what the bound version looks like (involves a lot of struggling with gigantic pdf files):

And this is what a very happy Dr Loske looks like:

I submitted the bound copy at the University of Sussex with help from Flora and could not resist this photo opportunity. I actually owe my university a lot of happiness. Thank you everyone at Sussex, especially Meaghan Clarke, everyone at the Royal Pavilion, and thank you AHRC for funding this.

But before I embark on new and related projects (keywords: a conference in China, an exhibition on exotic creatures, research into Mary Philadelphia Merrifield and Moses Harris), here are lines from the most curious book I came across during my research, a spoof on colour manuals and theories, entitled 'Hints upon Tints', dating from 1833. It's been a wonderful six years. Gratuitous graduation pictures in funny Tudor cap to follow in July.