Skip to main content

Year of the Dealer - Project Team

Mark WestgarthMark Westgarth is Principal Investigator for the ‘SOLD! The Year of the Dealer’ project and is Professor of History of the Art Market at the University of Leeds. His research interests are focused on the histories of the art market, and more especially the agency and the social and cultural identity of the art and antiques dealer in the 19th and 20th centuries. He was Principle Investigator on the AHRC-funded project, ‘Antique Dealers: The British Antiques Trade in the 20th Century, a Cultural Geography. His publications include, The Emergence of the Antique and Curiosity Dealer in Britain 1815-1850: the commodification of historical objects (Routledge, 2020); SOLD! The Great British Antiques Story (Bowes Museum/Archipelago 2019) the exhibition catalogue to the SOLD! exhibition staged at The Bowes Museum, January to May 2019; A Biographical Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Antique and Curiosity Dealers (Regional Furniture Society, 2009; republished 2011); ‘Florid-Looking speculators on art and virtue: the London picture trade c.1850’ in Pamela Fletcher and Anne Helmreich (eds.), The Rise of the London Art Market 1850-1939 (MUP, 2011). Mark is Director of the Centre for the Study of the Art & Antiques Market at the University of Leeds.

Eleanor Quince is Co-Investigator for the ‘SOLD! The Year of the Dealer’ project and is based in the History Department at the University of Southampton. She studied history of the fine and decorative art at Leeds University, before moving to Southampton to undertake a doctorate, completing her PhD in 2003. Eleanor’s thesis considered the work of Gillows, a furniture-making firm working in Lancaster and London during the eighteenth-century. She was awarded a University of Southampton archival scholarship to enable her to undertake her research and make use of the Lindsay Boynton archive, part of the Hartley library archival collections. Eleanor’s work has always been interdisciplinary in nature and her research interests reflect this, encompassing art history and theory, furniture design and manufacture in the eighteenth century, the production, reception and display of cultural artifacts and the decorative art market. During her career Eleanor has taught architectural history to archaeologists; ploughed through quantitative data to assess the health of research within Modern Languages; set up training programmes for doctoral students; and investigated how to help Humanities students at all levels become more employable. In recognition of her work in the field of educational development, Eleanor has been elected Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Vanessa Jones is project administrator for the 'SOLD! The Year of the Dealer' project. Vanessa is assistant curator of dress and textiles at Leeds Museums and Galleries, where she is responsible for the care, interpretation and research of approximately 20,000 objects. She is currently working on an interdisciplinary exhibition which explores the consumption of clothing in Leeds from 1720 to 2020. Vanessa is also a consultant of historic and contemporary dress. She is working with Barnsley Museum Services and Standfast and Barracks on a rationalisation project and digitisation project, respectively. She also sits on the executive committee of the Association of Dress Historians as membership officer and Dress and Textile Specialists as conference officer. Vanessa has gained previous curatorial and research experience from her time at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Charleston Trust and Farnham Museum.

Professor Jonathan Pitches is project collaborator on the ‘Dealing with Authenticity’ workshop associated with the restaging of the play Quinneys.  Jonathan is Professor of Theatre and Performance in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries and has research interests in all aspects of performer training and directing, in environmental performance and in blended learning. He co-edits the Journal of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training and has recently finished editing two large book projects: Stanislavsky in the World (with Stefan Aquilina, Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2017) and Great Stage Directors - Copeau, Komisarjevsky and Guthrie (Bloomsbury Methuen Drama 2018). He is Chair of Theatre & Performance in PCI and is Director of the Stanislavsky Research Centre

Dr George Rodosthenous is project collaborator on the restaging of the play Quinneys, and is Associate Professor in Theatre Directing at the School of Performance and Cultural Industries of the University of Leeds. He is Artistic Director of the theatre company Altitude North and has worked as a freelance director/composer for the theatre. His  research interests are the body in performance, refining improvisational techniques and compositional practices for performance. He devises pieces with live musical soundscapes as interdisciplinary process, updating Greek Tragedy and The British Musical.



Project PGR Researchers - we also have a small group of Year of the Dealer project researchers.

Simon Spier is a third year PhD researcher within the Centre for the Study of the Art and Antiques Market at the University of Leeds, working on a collaborative project with The Bowes Museum, County Durham. His research centres on the archive at the museum, investigating the history of the founding collection in the context of the nineteenth century art market, private collecting and the formation of public art museums. More broadly he is interested in the markets for decorative art as related to its manufacture, collection and display in nineteenth century Britain and France.




 Lucy West is a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership PhD researcher working with the University of Leeds, The National Gallery and The Bowes Museum. Her project considers the role and practices of art dealers and agents in the reception and re-evaluation of pre-1500 European painting in early to mid-Victorian Britain. In particular, Lucy is employing the so-called Italian and Northern 'primitive' paintings ,acquired by the collector John Bowes in the 1840s, as a case study through which to interrogate such works within the wider cultural and market landscape. Lucy developed her research interest in her previous role as Assistant Curator of Paintings at Royal Collection Trust.




Gemma Plumpton gained an MA in The Art Market and The History of Collecting from the University of Buckingham in 2018, following a BA in Art History. Her research considers the often overlooked role of dealers in institutional collecting; in particular scholar-dealer James Byam Shaw (1903-1992), who received his connoisseurial training in European museums and maintained close friendships with museum professionals in the UK and US. In October 2019 Gemma will begin an AHRC CPD PhD studentship with the University of Leeds and The National Gallery, Collecting Continental Old Masters at Harewood House, Yorkshire.