Honorary Curator, Western Art and Former Professor of Arts of the Renaissance

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My main research activity is in the field of European Renaissance ceramics, and particularly Italian maiolica. It is a field of study which has to take account of approaches from art history, from material culture studies, from heraldry and genealogy, from archaeology, from analytical science, and from archival research, and on which I have been publishing regularly since 1984. I have published collections of Renaissance ceramics for the British Museum, the National Gallery of Art (Washington), the Musei del Castello Sforzesco (Milan), the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Perugia, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), as well as an important private collection. My book Italian Mailoica and Europe, incorporating a catalogue of the post-Classical Italian pottery in the Ashmolean Museum, was published in the summer of 2017.

I have recently been interested in the history of the collecting of maiolica and other works of art, especially by American collectors and museums from the years after the Civil War to the Second World War. I take the view that to understand the history of collecting you have to be interested in the art market and that that means recording and analysing the history of prices paid both by collector and museums, as well as focusing on the role of dealers. 

I have lectured and taught widely in the UK, Continental Europe, the USA, and Canada. Since 2008, I have lectured at the British Museum, the V & A, the Society of Antiquaries of London, the Potteries Museum (the annual Reginald Haggar lecture), the University of Aberystwyth, and the University of the Creative Arts at Farnham; at the Istituto di Studi Rinascimentali (Ferrara), in Pesaro, Perugia, Gubbio, Deruta, Faenza, Assisi, and Florence; at the Louvre; at the Frick Collection and the Bard Graduate Center in New York; and in São Paulo, Brazil.


Tim Wilson is an Honorary curator of the Ashmolean Museum and Formerly Professor of the Arts of the Renaissance at the University of Oxford and Barrie and Deedee Wigmore Research Keeper for the Western Art Department of the Ashmolean. He is a Trustee of the Radcliffe Trust, an Honorary member of the Gruppo Archeologico Montelupino and of various Italian organizations promoting the study of Italian pottery as well as Member of Editorial Committee of the journal Faenza (Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche, Faenza), Italy.

He received his education from Corpus Christi College, Oxford and went on to study at the Warburg Institute, University of London (M. Phil., Combined Historical Studies, the Renaissance, 1976); and then for Department of Museum Studies, University of Leicester 1976-7.

He has held positions at the British Museum, Ruskin Foundation, Cooper Hewitt Institute (Smithsonian Institution), Balliol College, Oxford. He was a fellow fo the Royal Society of Antiquaries of London 1989 - 2016.


Recent publications

1. Renaissance and later ceramics

Italian Renaissance and Later Ceramics. Special issue of the Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts, vol. 87, no. 1-4 (with Alan Darr and Patricia Simons)

2014 Presentazione in Claudio Paolinelli (ed.), Lacrime di smalto. Plastiche maiolicate tra Marche e Romagna nell’età del Rinascinento, exhib. cat., Senigallia, 2014, pp. 13-16. Reprinted in la ceramica moderna e antica anno 35, no. 285, pp. 51-3

2014 An unexpected subject on istoriato maiolica: shooting at father’s corpse, in 30 Objects, 30 insights. Gardiner Museum (Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto), London, pp. 14-19

2014 La creazione della collezione di ceramiche italiane rinascimentali del Metropolitan Museum of Art di New York, Faenza 100, no. 1, pp. 113-34

2015 A memorial to Ian Lowe, The Ashmolean 69, p. 15

2015 L’Attribution des majoliques istoriato  de la Renaissance, in Majoliques italiennes de la Renaissance. Collection Paul Gillet, exhib. cat., Fondation Bemberg, Toulouse, pp. 9-26

2015 Italian Maiolica in the Collections of the National Gallery of Victoria, with contributions by Amanda Dunsmore and Marika Strohschnieder. Melbourne

2016 Preface in Christopher Perlès et al., French Faïence. The Sidney R. Knafel Collection. Privately printed, pp. 5-7

2016-7 Les majoliques anversoises en Angleterre sous le règne de Henri VIII, in Masséot Abaquesne. L’éclat de la faïence à la Renaissance, exhib. cat., Ecouen and Rouen, pp. 40-7

2016 Maiolica. Italian Renaissance Ceramics in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York


2. Renaissance and later metalwork, heraldry, and various

2010 Review of V. Brilliant (ed.), Gothic Art in the Gilded Age, Journal of the History of Collections 22, no. 2, pp. 341-2

2011 The grey lady of Tarrington, leaflet accompanying The Tarrington Tatler

2013 Populating the Ark in Kevin Coates. A Bestiary of Jewels, exhib. cat., Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and Ruthin Craft Centre, p. 7

2015 Treasures of the Goldsmith’s Art. The Michael Wellby Bequest to the Ashmolean Museum (with Matthew Winterbottom), Oxford

My full list of publications includes Ashmolean exhibition leaflets, contributions to exhibition catalogues for the British Museum and the Ashmolean, and in Italy; catalogue entries in the Annual Reviews of The Art Fund; articles in the museum magazine The Ashmolean, co-ordination of/contributions to supplements on Ashmolean and British Museum acquisitions in the Burlington Magazine; and book and exhibition reviews.


You can a more full academic CV for Tim Wilson on his Balliol profile page

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