The Getty and the Rothschild Foundation today announced Dr. Tessa Murdoch will be the third recipient of the Getty Rothschild Fellowship. The fellowship supports innovative scholarship in the history of art, collecting and conservation, using the collection and resources of both institutions. It offers art historians, museum professionals or conservators the opportunity to research and study at both the Getty in Los Angeles and Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, England.
For 40 years, Dr. Murdoch has specialized in the history of decorative arts with a focus on clocks, furniture, jewelry, sculpture, gold and silver. She has particular expertise in Huguenot artists, designers and craftsmen, and the influence of the Louis XIV style beyond France. She has held various positions, including curator, keeper, lecturer and writer at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), the Museum of London, and the Smithsonian at the Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design in New York City, among other institutions.
One focus of Murdoch’s work during the fellowship will be a publication about Huguenot refugee art and culture from the Reformation to the 18th century. Through the lens of the Huguenot silversmiths established in Northern Europe and North America, this publication will focus on the extraordinary international networks resulting from the diaspora of an estimated 500,000 refugees from France in the late 17th century. The political, economic and social context for this historical phenomenon is relevant for the 21st century, when the scale of the current refugee crisis is of international concern. The book is scheduled for publication in 2020, and is funded by the Gilbert Trust and produced by the V&A.
The study of silver will extend to other luxury trades in which the Huguenots excelled, in particular the watch and clock making industry.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to revisit four decades of research,” said Murdoch. “Building on the knowledge of world-class collections, I will present the artistic achievements resulting from the Huguenot diaspora for the widest possible readership.”
The selection process for the Getty Rothschild fellowship considers a number of criteria, including whether the applicant’s work would benefit from proximity to the collections and resources of the Getty and the Rothschild Foundation. Fellowships are for up to eight months, with the time split equally between the Getty and Waddesdon Manor. Fellows also receive a stipend during their time at both locations. The fellowship is administered by the Getty Foundation.
In 2014, Lord Jacob Rothschild received the Getty Medal for his contributions to the practice, understanding, and support of the arts.