Our MA Alumni – Where are they now?

MA in Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors

Alexander Collins, Riesener Project Coordinator, The Wallace Collection

Alexander Collins

I have recently been appointed as Riesener Project Coordinator at the Wallace Collection. The Riesener Project is a collaboration between The Wallace Collection, the Royal Collection Trust and Waddesdon Manor, and examines the prolific output of the royal furniture maker Jean-Henri Riesener. As part of my role, I will help bring investigative work from the three collections together. Prior to this appointment, I undertook a year-long paid curatorial internship at the Royal Collection. Thanks to the incredible quality of teaching on the MA in Decorative Arts, contact with leading scholars and an exciting itinerary of study trips, I have been given a rigorous knowledge of the development of decorative arts in England and France in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This is a truly unique course and one that I would have no hesitation in recommending to those looking for a springboard to a career in the world of art.

Natalie Voorheis, Junior Specialist, Christie’s


While studying for my BA joint major in Art History and English at University College Dublin my interest in the arts and culture of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries emerged and I became aware that the historic interiors of these periods and the history of collection formation would be a path I would like to pursue in the future. I chose this MA in decorative arts and historic interiors because it stood out from the crowd of MA courses available and seemed like a perfect fit with my interests.

Some of my favourite moments of the year have included a tour of the private apartments at Versailles with John Whitehead. A week spent in Buckinghamshire studying Claydon, Blenheim Palace, Woburn House, Waddesdon and Boughton among others in the company of our great tutors Jeremy Howard and Barbara Lasic. Another highlight has been having the privilege of studying at length the collection of French decorative arts at The Wallace Collection, in the company of the curatorial staff. I would whole-heartedly recommend this MA to anyone considering studying decorative arts. The access to collections and guidance we have received from experts in their fields has been second to none and I feel confident that the course has furnished me with the ability to move on towards further study.

Diana Davis (former student on the MA Decorative Arts programme)

The Buckingham MA in Decorative Interiors is a hugely stimulating and intensive year providing a thorough immersion in eighteenth-century French and British decorative arts.  The range and quality of the lectures are outstanding with talks on topics as varied as the Palladian villa, silver techniques and the role of the eighteenth-century French marchand-mercier.  This is reinforced by house and museum visits, with privileged access and insights into interiors from specialist curators. For me, the course highlight was the week-long trip to Paris which contextualised all we had learned. It was also great fun! The practice project was another, curating a mock exhibition, excellent experience for anyone wanting a future job in a museum or gallery.  The dissertation was an exciting challenge, a chance to sail out alone, get to grips with archival work and investigate a topic of your choice in detail. The course equips you with the knowledge, contacts and confidence to pursue a whole range of work and research options. Since finishing, I have lectured on my dissertation subject – the Rothschilds at Gunnersbury Park – and I am now doing a PhD on the topic of early nineteenth-century dealers.

Angela Gräfin von Wallwitz (former student on the MA Decorative Arts programme)

“For over 30 years I worked as a specialist in European Ceramics at Sotheby’s and as a dealer in London and Munich but had never been to university. I heard about the Wallace/University of Buckingham MA course for Decorative Arts and Heritage Management by accident and was delighted to be given the opportunity to widen my horizon.  The standard of teaching is unusually high due to the wide and deep knowledge of the in-house tutors. All external lecturers are the best experts in their field whose work and career I had followed throughout my working life. The coursework is dense and demanding but the support is extraordinary. Nobody is left behind and each one in our year rose to unexpected levels of academia and knowledge.

Jobs in the art world are very scarce indeed. The unique combination of high academic standards and the training to look, analyse and date works of art prepares better for a working life than any other I know. This course will become famous for the Decorative Arts.”

Matthew Hirst, Head of Arts and Historic Collections, Chatsworth:

“I can think of no better foundation for my career than the MA in Historic Interiors and Decorative Arts. I constantly call upon the in-depth knowledge I gained during my studies, giving me the confidence to develop areas of specialism relevant to the two great houses I have subsequently worked in. The thorough teaching and the vast array of experts who were called upon for lectures and visits make this course second to none.”

Colette Anthon, Creative Director, NH Design:

“Completing the MA in Decorative Arts at The University of Buckingham and the Wallace Collection was an important addition to the repertoire of inspiration in my work as an interior designer. Despite the fact that I was well established in my career, I have utilized the knowledge acquired during this stimulating year profusely in my work … the contacts gained have become not only friends but part of my network of associates whose knowledge and expertise I can draw upon when designing and restoring houses … I can absolutely say that what I gained from the course was of fundamental importance in securing my position as Creative Director of NH Design.”

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For enquiries or further information about the programme, please contact our Admissions Office  (tel. +44 (0) 1280 820227 , email admissions@buckingham.ac.uk)