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Maialen Maugars

Thesis: New Collecting Narratives: Birmingham Museums' Italian Renaissance and Baroque Decorative Arts Collection

Supervisors: Prof Louise Bourdua and Dr Rosie Dias (University of Warwick)

Dr Rebecca Bridgman and Victoria Osborne (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery)

Maialen in Bologna

Current research:

My doctoral research focuses on the Italian Renaissance and Baroque decorative art collection at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. The collection was constituted in the late nineteenth century and was one of the first to be exhibited upon the Museum’s opening in 1885. The aim of my research is therefore to study the collection’s provenance to understand who it was acquired from and where those suppliers were based. I will also study the selection rationale guiding these acquisitions, as well as the collection’s reception and role in public education and artistic training when it was first exhibited.


My PhD is a Collaborative Doctoral Award project between the University of Warwick and the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, funded by the Midlands4Cities and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) training partnership.

I gained my BA in History from UCL (2016) and my MA in Art History, Curatorship and Renaissance Culture from the Warburg Institute (2018). My BA dissertation focused on animal masks and costumes in late Medieval court culture and their depictions in medieval marginalia.

For my MA dissertation, I studied the vase motif in scenes of the Annunciation (14th to 17th centuries) from an iconographic and material culture perspective.

Before starting my PhD, I worked in the Impressionist and Modern Art department at Christie’s.

Research interests: material culture, decorative art, collecting history and museum formation.

Other interests include:

- Exchanges between Renaissance Europe and the East in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries

- Renaissance and Medieval manuscripts

- European Fin-de-Siecle (especially Great Exhibitions/Expositions Universelles)

- Impressionist and Modern Art