Matthew Winterbottom

Matthew Winterbottom

Assistant Keeper (Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture), Ashmolean Museum Supernumerary Fellow


I have spent over 30 years working in some of the most important and high-profile museum collections in the world, including the V&A Museum, Royal Collection and Ashmolean Museum. My in-depth research in those collections has led to an exceptionally wide knowledge of European decorative arts from the late fifteenth century to the present day, including ceramics, metalwork, glass, furniture and textiles. Public engagement with research has been my great passion, with displays, publications, digital initiatives, and co-curation enabling me to share this knowledge of material culture with a broad range of audiences, both specialist and non-specialist.

Research Interests

I am Co-Investigator of Chromotope, a five-year ERC-funded research project between Sorbonne Université, the Ashmolean Museum and the University of Oxford’s English Faculty (2019–24). Chromotope explores the changes that took place in attitudes towards colour in the 19th century.

World Symbolism, an interdisciplinary project launched in 2022 with the University of Oxford’s Faculty of English and Université libre de Bruxelles. This will explore both literary and artistic symbolism in the late 19th/early 20th centuries from a global perspective.

The Ethics of Ivory. I am lead-partner in an interdisciplinary project with the Pitt-Rivers Museum, Ashmolean Museum and the University of Oxford’s Department of Zoology that explores the cultural significance of ivory and elephant conservation.

Recent Publications

‘Colour Revolution’: Victorian Art, Fashion and Design, co-author, (forthcoming: September, 2023)

‘Not Acceptable to Present Taste: William Burges’s Great Bookcase’ in The Decorative Arts Society Journal, no. 41 (2017), pp 14–25

Guest Editor, The Decorative Arts Society Journal, no. 41 (2017)

Treasures of the Goldsmith’s Art: the Michael Wellby Bequest to the Ashmolean Museum, co-author, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 2015

The Ashmolean Museum: Crossing Cultures, Crossing Time, contributor, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 2014

Secret Splendour: the Hidden World of Baroque Cabinets, exhibition catalogue, the Holburne Museum, Bath, 2012

The Holburne Museum Guide, London, 2011 (major contributor)

‘Chinoiserie in Britain’ exhibition review in Burlington Magazine, vol. 150, no. 1267 (October 2008), pp 704–705

‘New Discoveries Concerning the Berlin Silver Buffet’, Silver Studies, 2007 (co-author), pp 117–122

Ancient and Modern Gems and Jewels in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, London, K. Ashengreen Piacenti, 2010 (contributor)

‘George IV and the Grand Service’ in Royal Goldsmiths: The Art of Rundell and Bridge, C. Hartop (ed.), London, 2005, pp 85–88

Windsor Castle Official Guide, London, 2004 (co-author)

‘Dining with George III and Queen Charlotte’ in The Wisdom of George III: Papers from a Symposium at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, June 2004, J. Marsden (ed.), London, 2005, pp 201–208

George III and Queen Charlotte: Patronage and Court Taste, J. Roberts (ed.), exhibition catalogue, The Queen’s Gallery, London, 2004 (major contributor)

‘Such massy pieces of plate’, Silver furnishings in the English royal palaces, 1660–1702’, Apollo, August 2002, pp 19–26

Royal Treasures: A Golden Jubilee Celebration, J. Roberts (ed.), exhibition catalogue, The Queen’s Gallery, London, 2002 (major contributor)

100 Treasures of Buckingham Palace, T. Parsons, London, 2000 (contributor) All that Glistens, exhibition catalogue, Temple Newsam House, Leeds, 1994