Susan Owens is an art historian and curator. She is the author of 'Spirit of Place: Artists, Writers and the British Landscape' (Thames & Hudson), ‘The Ghost: A Cultural History’ (Tate Publishing) and co-author of ‘Christina Rossetti: Poetry in Art’ (Yale University Press)

A still from the opening sequence of Dario Argento’s horror film ‘The Stendhal Syndrome’ (1966), shot in the Uffizi Galleries in Florence.

How to cope with Stendhal syndrome when it strikes

The mysterious affliction usually only assails art buffs in Florence – but with many museums finally set to reopen, will visitors start dropping like flies?

7 May 2021

The British artists who saw a world on their doorsteps

Landscape painting went local in 19th-century Britain, writes Susan Owens, as artists celebrated the miniature marvels they found close to home

7 Feb 2021
Nekyia scene (detail of the ghosts of Agamemnon and Tiresias), 325–300 BC, Tomb of Orcus II, Tarquinia.

That’s the spirit – how the Romans imagined the dead

The various ways in which the ancient Romans depicted figures from the afterlife tell us much about contemporary preoccupations

5 Jun 2020
Photograph taken at Balmoral in 1893/94 by Charles Albert Wilson. Ethel Cadogan, Lord William Cecil and Dr Alexander Profeit re-enact a scene from Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott in which Rebecca and a page kneel over Ivanhoe. Royal Collection Trust/© HM Queen Elizabeth II 2020

Making a scene – how the Victorians brought the past to life

Recreating scenes from famous paintings has been all the rage of lockdown, but it’s the Victorians who first played make-believe in earnest

7 May 2020
In the Bezestein, El Khan Khalil, Cairo (1860), John Frederick Lewis. Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery

Cairene conversions – the adopted identities of John Frederick Lewis

The Victorian painter certainly had a penchant for play-acting, but his depictions of Egypt remain something of an enigma

2 Oct 2019