Her research interests are in nineteenth-century British landscape and genre painting, with a particular emphasis on the representation of the poor, the relationship of art to its social and political context, and the representation of landscape features, notably the sea, the coast, and trees. She has curated exhibitions at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, the Djanogly Art Gallery, University of Nottingham, Penlee House Gallery and Museum, Penzance, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, the Fine Art Society, London, the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, and the Higgins Bedford. With Juliet McMaster, she was co-curator of a new display at Tate Britain, James Clarke Hook and Painters of the Sea (2006 – 2008).
Christiana is currently guest curator of an exhibition of Pre-Raphaelite drawings and watercolours, which is due to open at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, in February 2021. She is writing a book on the representation of trees in American painting and literature, c. 1820-1860.