Press release: MA in the Art Market and History of Collecting

28 July 2015

The University of Buckingham and the National Gallery, in association with Waddesdon Manor (The Rothschild Collection), are delighted to announce the launch of a new MA course on the History of Collecting and the Art Market in January 2016.

The study of the art market and the history of collecting has been one of the most significant growth areas within Art History in the last 30 years, attracting wide interest internationally, particularly in Europe and the United States.

Competitively priced, this new MA will investigate American and European art markets and cultures of collecting from the Renaissance to the present day. The first of its kind in the UK, it will be taught by staff from the University of Buckingham, the National Gallery and Waddesdon Manor. The course will include study trips to Paris and Florence. All the London-based teaching, spread over two terms, will be based at the National Gallery in London.

A unique feature of the course will be access to two of the greatest surviving art dealers’ archives: Agnew’s, acquired by the National Gallery in 2014, and Colnaghi’s, housed in the Windmill Hill Archive, Waddesdon, since February 2014. Under the guidance of experts, students will be given practical training on how to use, unlock and analyse their rich holdings.

Aimed at art historians, would-be curators, collectors, those with a professional interest in the art market or a general interest in the arts, the programme provides a pathway to a career in the art world or a step towards further postgraduate research.

University of Buckingham Programme Director, Jeremy Howard said: “I am thrilled by the exciting opportunities that our new MA will offer. Developed and delivered by the University of Buckingham and the National Gallery in association with Waddesdon, the MA will enable Buckingham to offer students privileged access to the two greatest London-based dealer archives, first-class research training, and an entrée to one of the fastest-growing areas of art history. For those with an eye on a PhD, a possible career in curatorship or the art market, the course will provide a valuable spring-board; but we are also hoping that this new MA will appeal to those who are interested in studying the history of collecting as a fascinating subject in its own right.”

Sir Nicholas Penny, Director of The National Gallery, said: “I am delighted that the National Gallery is collaborating with the University of Buckingham’s research-led MA focusing on the history of collecting and the art market. In an increasingly popular area of research, this course, designed and taught by leading figures in the field, will introduce students to the many and varied facets of the subject, as well as providing much-needed training in the use of archives, drawing on some of the National Gallery’s own important holdings, including the recently-acquired Agnew’s archive”.

Pippa Shirley, Head of Collections and Gardens at Waddesdon Manor said: “We are delighted to be working with the University of Buckingham and the National Gallery on this new MA, which explores a critical aspect of the nineteenth-century art market. There is a particular appropriateness for Waddesdon to be a part of this collaboration – not only is the Colnaghi Archive housed with us, but the collections at the Manor are a reflection of the passions of one of the most influential of nineteenth-century collecting dynasties, the Rothschilds, who bought through both Colnaghi and Agnew, which allows their archives to be brought to life in a very vivid way.”

Buckingham, set up in 1976, was the only university to be independent of direct government support in the United Kingdom and has used its independence to pioneer a distinctive approach to higher education.


For more information contact Diana Blamires, Publicity Officer, University of Buckingham, on +44 (0)1280 820213 or +44 (0)774 8937484 or email: diana.blamires@buckingham.ac.uk.