Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Maialen Maugars

Thesis: 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).

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

Current research:

My doctoral research focuses on the Italian Renaissance and Baroque decorative art collection at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG). The collection is constituted of approximately 300 objects, mainly purchased in Italy by John Charles Robinson and Whitworth Wallis between 1881 and 1889. It was one of the first collections to be acquired for BMAG, which opened in 1885, and was displayed in a dedicated gallery - unlike the other so-called 'Industrial art' collections, which were exhibited in BMAG's Industrial Hall. The collection, which is composed of furniture, metalwork, textile, glass, and ceramic objects, was intended to educate and inspire Birmingham's artisans, industrial designers, and art students. This thesis has several aims: to examine BMAG's collecting strategy, and Robinson's and Wallis's acquisition practices; to study the provenance of the collection, including the export of the objects from Italy to Britain; and to analyse the collection's reception and role in public education and artistic training in late nineteenth-century Birmingham.

Research interests: Renaissance material culture, decorative art, history of collecting, museum formation, nineteenth-century art market.


  • 2017-2018: MA in Art History, Curatorship, and Renaissance Culture (Warburg Institute)
  • 2013-2016: BA in History (UCL)

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

Other research interests include:

  • Exchanges between Renaissance Venice and the Mediterranean basin in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries
  • European Fin-de-Siècle (especially Great Exhibitions/Expositions Universelles)


Maialen Maugars in Bologna