Centre for the Study of the Art and Antiques Market

PhD Studentship – Museum Culture and the Art Market (University of Loughborough)

Museum Culture and the Art Market: Private Collecting and Public Responsibility it in the Contemporary Artworld

The objective of this PhD studentship is to investigate connections between public museum practices, private collecting, and art market activity in the contemporary artworld. Questions concerning the social functions of collecting have become acute in light of the significant rise in the number of high net worth collectors in the global art market over the past decade. This project proposes an examination of the extension of collector influence beyond the traditional boundaries of the art market, including, but not limited to, the establishment of institutions that compete with public museums. By enquiring into the social goods and powers derived from private collecting, this project seeks to provide a better understanding of the public responsibilities of individuals who are shaping the exhibition practices and trajectories of the contemporary artworld.


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Christie’s – ‘Sold! Inside the world’s biggest auction house’

On Monday 28th November we are showing the documentary ‘Sold! Inside the world’s biggest auction house’ as part of a critical investigation of the art market.  Please do join the art market students for a viewing, commentary and discussion on this documentary. 160407-art-02

Documentary showing – Chemistry Lecture Theatre E G.76 on MONDAY 28th November, 3.00pm-4.30pm. All Welcome.

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Perspectives on the Art Market talks – number XVIII


Open Lecture Series No. XVIII


The Picture Gallery, The Bowes Museum, c.1900: Photograph courtesy of The Bowes Museum

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies

University of Leeds

Centre for the Study of the Art & Antiques Market

‘The ones that got away’ – Old Master Paintings rejected by the collector John Bowes (1811-1885)

Dr Howard Coutts

Curator of Decorative Art, The Bowes Museum

Clothworkers North LT 2.31

On MONDAY 21st November 2016



For further information on this Lecture Series please email

Dr Mark Westgarth m.w.westgarth@leeds.ac.uk

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Antique Dealer Archives – ‘Action Week’

All this week ( August 22nd-26th) we have been cleaning and cataloguing the Phillips of Hitchin antique dealer archives at the Brotherton Library Special Collections (BLSC). Thanks to the BLSC and our small team of enthusiastic volunteers we have managed to make excellent progress on getting this important archive open to the public. Here are the team of volunteers and BLSC staff working hard on cleaning the archive.

archive action week 5

Archive Volunteers – L-R – Helen, Pauline, Heather, Matt, Sue, Riza, Frances.

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‘In Conversation’ – Archives, People, Objects

A one-day workshop on Tuesday 17 May 2016 at The Treasures Gallery, University of Leeds & Temple Newsam House, Leeds

This event aims to start Conversation between Archives, People and Objects by bringing together some materials from the key Antique Dealer Archives that have been donated to the Brotherton Library Special Collections, into a dialogue with People and Objects associated with the archive. It is an opportunity for an interdisciplinary discussion, bringing together antique dealers, museum professionals, students, members of the general public and academics.

10.30am – The Treasures Gallery, Parkinson Building, The University of Leeds: ‘Antique Dealer Archives’ – a presentation on antique dealer archives, together with informal discussion on some examples of archive material from the Brotherton.

12.30pm – Lunch for all participants – networking and discussion.

1.45pm – Coach from University of Leeds to Temple Newsam House (for all participants)

2.00pm – Objects, Archives, People – Hidden History Tours of Temple Newsam House collections – bringing objects, archives, and people, together in Conversation.

4.00pm – Close – coach back to University of Leeds, arriving at c.4.30pm.

The workshop is free but booking is essential. Please book your place here.

Enquiries: m.westgarth@leeds.ac.uk

This event is organised by The Centre for the Study for the Art and Antiques Market at the University of Leeds. It is the first research centre, both nationally and internationally, with a specific focus on the study of the history of the trade in both art and antiques.

Image: Blairman & Sons, London, stand at Grosvenor House Antiques Fair 1950

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Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship in collaboration with The Bowes Museum

Creating The Bowes Museum: private collecting, public philanthropy and the art market in the public art museum in Britain and France 1830-1900

The School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds and The Bowes Museum are pleased to announce a funded studentship for doctoral research, awarded under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme.

The Bowes Museum is a world-leading museum of essentially French fine and decorative art from the period 1500-1870, housed in an extraordinary ‘French Chateau’ constructed 1869-76 and located in County Durham at Barnard Castle. The collections were assembled by John Bowes in Britain and France, starting in the 1830s, and consolidated later from the 1850s with his wife Josephine, as a private endeavour, before John and Josephine made a deliberate and self-conscious decision to reshape their collecting activities and establish a public art museum in the early 1860s.

This shift from ‘private’ to ‘public’ involved a range of cultural, social, economic and political dynamics as they recalibrated their collecting objectives and activities, together with their patronage of contemporary artists, moving from the assembly of objects primarily shaped by personal taste to more systematic and ‘public-spirited’ collecting. This shift from ‘private’ to ‘public’ involved an increasing engagement with the discourses of a nascent art history and the evolving structures of the art market.

The proposed research project offers a unique opportunity to investigate the development of a key private-public collection as it evolved within critical cultural dialogs between Britain and France in the middle decades of the 19th century. Set against ideas of the political economy grounded in competitive notions of ‘taste’ and the perceived role and function of public art museums, the project will explore the relationships between private collecting, the art market and the development of public museums in the 19th century.

This PhD research project will utilise previously unexplored archive materials now made available following a major £12 million capital investment programme at the Bowes. The archives at the Bowes include a remarkable collection of bills, dealers’ letters and auction catalogues and an extensive range of personal correspondence of John and Josephine Bowes on their collecting and patronage activities in Britain and France, as well as documents relating to the designs for the museum and its proposed organisation.

It is envisaged that the preliminary research activities will also underpin the development of an exhibition and interpretation material and publicity in celebration of the 125th anniversary of the opening of The Bowes Museum in 2017.

This studentship will be supervised by Dr Mark Westgarth, University of Leeds, and Dr Jane Whittaker and Dr Howard Coutts at The Bowes Museum. This full time studentship is funded for three and a half years at standard AHRC rates and will begin on 1 October 2016.

Informal enquires can be made by contacting Dr Mark Westgarth (m.w.westgarth@leeds.ac.uk) or Dr Jane Whittaker (jane.whittaker@thebowesmuseum.org.uk).

See the website of the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies for further information, including how to apply.

The closing date for applications is 5pm on 31 May 2016.

Interviews will be held on 13 June.

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Rising Stars 2016: Symposium

twitter23fe203Dr Mark Westgarth will give a talk at the Rising Stars 2016 Symposium at New Ashgate Gallery in Farnham on Friday 18 March, 10.30am to 3.45pm.

Organised by the University of the Creative Arts, this symposium has an exciting line up of speakers including Dr Mark Westgarth, University of Leeds, Jonathan Parsons, artist, writer and lecturer and Alison Branagan, author and visual arts consultant. They will discuss the arts market and PR and social media and the event will also include a workshop: ‘how to sell’ – essential presentation skills.

Mark Westgarth’s talk, The Price of Everything: 10 Observations on the Contemporary Art Market, considers the contemporary art market as a complex nexus of practices, activities and ideas. His talk directs attention to 10 key themes that have come to dominate the contemporary art market in recent years.

This event is free but booking is essential as places are limited. Call to book 01252 713208 or email: gallery@newashgate.org.uk

See the New Ashgate Gallery for more information.

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Perspectives on the Art Market Open Lecture Series No. XVII

The art dealer Stefano Bardini (1836- 1922) and the use of photography as a tool for marketing and self-promotion
Speaker: Dr Annalea Tunesi, Independent Scholar

Thursday 17 March 2016
12.30pm to 1.30pm
Baines Wing, Room SR 1.14

All welcome.

For further information on this lecture series please email Dr Mark Westgarth m.w.westgarth@leeds.ac.uk

Perspectives on the Art Market is organised by the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds

Image: Photocard, Stefano Bardini, c.1900. Photographic Archive Bardini, Copyright Polo Museale Regionale della Toscana, Firenze.

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Antique Dealer project – Interactive Website

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The Antique Dealers Project Website


The research project is seeking to draw attention to the changing nature of the antique trade over 100 years and once we have sufficient data, you will be able to investigate and, crucially, to visualise the trading the changes in the antique trade over time.



The website will enable you to:

* see and compare the concentrations of dealers in various parts of Britain over time – when, for example, did The Cotswolds become a key location for the trade, and when did that change?

* track the different ways in which various dealers have been described and classified over time, and when for example, did dealers in ‘Old English Furniture’ emerge, and when did that term fall out of fashion?

* read about the changing history of individual dealerships as they move location,change ownership, or change trading specialisms.

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Antique Dealer Project Conference

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Antique Dealer Project Conference 

April 14th and 15th, 2016
Temple Newsam House, Leeds

This two-day conference is an opportunity to hear about the AHRC funded 32 month research project focused on the history of the British Antique Trade in the 20th century. Click Here for the poster that includes programme and online booking.

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