ABOUT US
1754-1780 / Chair, Thomas Chippendale ©V&A Museum
Council

The Society is governed by an elected Council supported by specialist officers. Council members are elected to serve a 3 year term and are responsible for ensuring the Society fulfills its aims and objectives. Council meetings take place quarterly.

Simon Swynfen Jervis FSA – President

After Cambridge, Simon Jervis worked at Leicester Museum and, from 1966, at the Victoria
& Albert Museum (Department of Furniture), before being appointed Director and Marlay
Curator of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (1990). From 1995 he was Director of
Historic Buildings, The National Trust, retiring in 2002. He was President of the Society of
Antiquaries of London (1995-2001). He was Chairman of the Furniture History Society
(1998-2013, Editor 1988-92) and of the Walpole Society (2003-2013), and was also until
early 2013 Chairman of the Leche Trust and of the Trustees of Sir John Soane’s Museum,
and a Trustee of the Emery Walker Trust. He also served as a member of the Reviewing
Committee on the Export of Works of Art (2007-2014). He remains a Director and Trustee of
the Burlington Magazine.


His books include High Victorian Design (1983), The Penguin Dictionary of Design and Designers
(1984) and Roman Splendour, English Arcadia (2015, with Dudley Dodd), A Rare Treatise on
Interior Decoration and Architecture, Jooseph Friedrich Zu Racknitz’s Presentation and History of
the Taste of the leading Nations (2019). He has also published a large number of articles, guidebooks,
book reviews, and exhibition catalogues.

Christopher Rowell – Chairman

Christopher Rowell is the National Trust’s Furniture Curator. This specialist role involves researching, publishing and advising on an extensive international collection displayed in historic interiors in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. About eighty of the Trust’s houses contain notable furniture, woodwork and picture frames. He has published widely on country house collections, including editing and contributing to Ham House: 400 Years of Collecting and Patronage, published in July 2013 by Yale University Press. This is the first in a series of Yale books, published in partnership with the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, on individual great houses of the National Trust and on aspects of its rich and varied collections. Forthcoming volumes will include Christopher Rowell’s Furniture in National Trust Houses.

Dr Megan Wheeler – Honorary Secretary

Megan read Modern History at Christ Church, Oxford and in 2006 completed her DPhil on the persecution of Protestants in England in the reign of Mary I, before turning to Art History.  Having worked as a Specialist in Furniture and Works of Art for Bonhams Auctioneers until 2015, Megan joined the National Trust as a cataloguer on its Furniture Research & Cataloguing Project before taking up the role of Assistant National Curator for Furniture in January 2021.  She is also the Furniture History Society's website officer.

Martin Williams – Honorary Treasurer

Martin Williams trained as an accountant. For 20 years from 1976, he was chief executive of the Musicians Benevolent Fund. From 1995-2011, he was company secretary of four of The Prince of Wales’s charities and carried out projects for a wide range of organisations including the Royal College of Music and Imperial College. Martin is trustee of a number of charities including the Royal Albert Hall and the Kathleen Ferrier Scholarship Fund. He administers the Ouseley Trust, a charity supporting the choral liturgy of the Church of England. Martin was a trustee of the Society of Antiquaries of London from 1994-2000 and still serves on its Finance committee. He has been a non-executive director of Marlin Chemicals Ltd for over 30 years, and, currently, he is the non-executive chairman of the Edition Peters Group - international music publishers based in Leipzig.

Dr Megan Aldrich – Honorary Editorial Secretary

Megan Aldrich is an independent historian of architecture and design, including gardens, furniture and interiors.  Her past work has focused particularly on historicism and the Gothic Revival during the period 1750-1850.  She began her carerr at the Victoria and Albert Museum, is the former Academy Director of Sotheby's Institute of Art in London, and edited Furniture History from 2001 to 2005.  She lectures and published widely, and in 2019 will offer courses at Oxford and Reading Universities.  Recent publications include a study of medievalism in the landscape gardens at Stowe for an exhibition at Wörlitz in Saxony in 2015, a study of Capability Brown as an architect at Burghley House for the ICOMOS conference in Bath to commemorate the tercentenary of Brown's birth (Garden History 2016), an an article on 'Thomas Rickman and the Victorians' in a volume of the same name, co-edited with Alexandrina Buchanan as part of a research project on the architect and antiquary Thomas Rickman (1776-1841), (Victorian Society Studies in Architecture and Design, forthcoming).

Additional Council Members
Dr Christophe de Quénetain

Christophe is an art dealer and the chairman antiquairs of TEFAF.  He is also the author of Pierre Garnier, 1726/27 - 1806, Les Styles Consulat et Empire and Une paire de fauteuils néoclassiques par Antonio Landucci et Antonio Asprucci 'habillés' par Alexis Mabille.  He read History of Art and Architecture at the École du Louvre, and has degress from the University François-Rabelais de Tours, and the University of Strasbourgh, as well as a doctorate from the Sorbonne.  He was also an auditor at IHEDN ('Institut des hautes études de défense nationale') and has trained at the École Boulle.

Adrian Hume-Sayer

A director of the Private Collections and Country House Sales department at Christie’s, Adrian specialises in furniture and works of art. He has been responsible for a number of notable collection sales including: Harewood, Collecting in the Royal Tradition; The Collection of Professor Sir Albert Richardson; and Works of Art from the Collection of the Marquesses of Londonderry as well as orchestrating  the sales of the personal collections of Margaret Thatcher and Audrey Hepburn.   Training as an auctioneer at the age of twenty-one, he initially worked at Tennants Auctioneers in his native North Yorkshire moving to Bonhams in 2003 and subsequently to Christie’s in 2009.   With a particularly strong interest in all types of English furniture and works of art, Adrian has a been a member of the Furniture History Society for ten years; he also sits on the selection committee for the Attingham Summer School.  Adrian’s other interests include architecture, agriculture and classic cars and he has recently embarked on the restoration of a derelict farmhouse in the Yorkshire Dales, which dates in part to the 17th century.

Professor Mark Westgarth

Mark Westgarth is Associate Professor in Art History and Museum Studies at the University of Leeds.  HIs research interests are focused on the history of the art market, especially on the market for antiques/decorative art and on the history of the antique trade in Britain.  His publications include A Biographical Dictionary of 19th century Antique and Curiosity Dealers.  He was Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded project Antique Dealers: the British Antique Trade in the 20th century, a cultural geography (2013-2016) and on SOLD! The Year of the Dealer: antique dealers, art markets & museums (2019-2020).  He was also the guest curator for the exhibition, SOLD! The Great British Antiques Story at the Bowes Museum in 2019.

Mark is Founder and Director of the Centre for the Study of the Art and Antiques Market at the University of Leeds, where he is also Director of Impact & Innovation in the School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies and Impact Lead for Impact Case Studies for REF2014 and REF2021.  He is a member of various academic and research project Advisory Boards, including Cluster Chair and Peer Review Panel for the AHRC White Rose University Consortium, the Advisory Board for the AHRC-funded Shakespeare and Royal Collections project.  Mark has been an external examiner on university programmes at Newcastle, Buckingham and Nottingham Trent universities; he was Buckingham University programme quinquennial review expert panel member (2016) and was the nominated external review panel expert for the Christie's MA programme revalidation in 2018.  Mark has been the Chair of the Leeds Art Fund since 2015. 

Dr Esmé Whittaker

Dr Whittaker is a Curator at English Heritage, responsible for the collections and interiors at Chiswick House, Marble Hill House and Kenwood.  Before joining English Heritage in 2012, she worked at the Victoria & Albert Museum and was Assistant Curator for the exhibition The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement, 1860-1900.  She also curated the inaugural exhibition at Two Temple Place in London, William Morris: Story, Memory, Myth, for the Bulldog Trust.

Esmé has an MA and PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art, focusing on the Aesthetic and Arts & Crafts movements.  Her PhD research informed her book, Arts and Crafts Houses in the Lake District (Frances Lincoln, 2014), which she co-authored with Matthew Hyde.  Her most recent publications include the articles 'Almost her creation: Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and the decoration of Chiswick House', The Burlington Magazine (March 2018), and 'On the Border: Barn Close and the evolution of the Arts and Crafts interior, 1902-1931', The Decorative Arts Society Journal (2018).

Dr Alexandra Gerstein

Alexandra Gerstein is the McQueens Curator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts at The
Courtauld Institute of Art. She studied at the École du Louvre, Paris, and subsequently at The
Courtauld writing her PhD on aspects of sculptural integration in the public buildings of the
Edwardian Baroque Revival. In her current post, she is responsible for a collection of about
500 objects, spanning a variety of media and dating from Antiquity to the early twentiethcentury.
She also leads on matters related to provenance research for the period 1933-45.
She has co-curated two exhibitions in collaboration with the State Hermitage Museum,
on porcelain from Revolutionary Russia (‘Circling the Square: Avant-garde Porcelain from
Revolutionary Russia’, 2007) and on Empress Josephine and the arts (‘France in Russia:
Empress Josephine’s Malmaison Collection’, 2008).

Stephen Jackson

Stephen Jackson is Senior Curator, Furniture and Woodwork, at National Museums Scotland
(“NMS”). He has previously worked in a range of museums including the National Museum
of Scotland and the Victoria & Albert Museum. After reading history at Cambridge, he
completed his MPhil at St Andrews on Scottish furniture.

His published research ranges from Scottish cabinet makers in America to the patrons of
Charles Rennie Mackintosh. For NMS he has acquired items by makers and designers ranging
from Lucio de Lucci to Thomas Chippendale and William Trotter. In 2007, he curated Green
Design: Creativity with a Conscience—one of the first exhibitions to address sustainability.
He is currently Vice Chair of the Recognition Scheme committee at Museums Galleries
Scotland. Stephen is also a member of the Council of the Regional Furniture Society and,
since 2019, editor of its journal, Regional Furniture.

Other Roles Within FHS

Other roles across the Society exist in order to support Council in their duties.

Sharon Goodman – Newsletter Editor

Sharon Goodman is the furniture and decorative arts researcher for a leading London auction house.  She has an undergraduate degree in History, and a Master's degree in Fine and Decorative Art.  To date, she has published two academic articles on furniture: in 2007, on the designs of the Aesthetic Movement architect Bernard Smith in the Journal of the Decorative Arts Society, and in 2016, on the Mayhew & Ince commission for Sir Thomas Edwardes in Marylebone in the Furniture History Society's journal Furniture History.  She has recently submitted a third article on the work of Paul Saunders for the 9th Earl of Lincoln at Exchequer House (10 Downing Street), London, for publication in The British Art Journal in 2018.

Kate Hay & David Oakey – Co-Chairs of the Events Committee

Kate Hay studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University and worked for five years in the Civil Service, before retraining and working for an antique dealer.  She then joined the Victoria and Albert Museum where she gained her Museums Diploma.  She is an assistant curator in the Furniture, Textiles and Fashion Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum, where she specializes in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British Furniture. Her research interests include British japanning, the reuse of Asian lacquer as veneers, and nineteenth-century British and Maltese pietre dure. She published her research into Maltese marble makers in an article, Mosaic Marble Tables by J. Darmanin & Sons of Malta, in Furniture History 2010.  She is currently reviewing the wide range of research information and archival material collected by the Furniture Section since the 1960s and published her research into two silent films found there in Chippendale, the Movie: The Rediscovery of 1920s ‘Biopics’ of Chippendale and Sheraton in Furniture History 2018. She is a long-standing member of the FHS and has previously served on the Council.

Adriana Turpin – Grants Committee Chair

Adriana is academic director of an MA  run by the Institut d'Etudes Superieures des Arts (IESA) and the Wallace collection on the history and business of art and collecting, which is validated by Warwick University.  Previously she was Deputy Director, Sotheby's Institute where she specialised in the history of decorative arts. She has written various articles on English furniture, including the discovery of a table designed for Queen Mary's Water Gallery at Hampton Court. She also wrote on William Beckford's collections of furniture for the exhibition held at the Bard Graduate Centre and Dulwich Art Gallery, 2002-3 and completed an article on the new world objects in Cosimo I de Medici's collection in Curiosity and Wonder, ed. A.Marr and J.H. Evans published by Ashgate Press. She is now conducting further research into the display of the Medici Tribuna in the Uffizi. Most recently, she has written an essay on the nineteenth-century interpretation of the Renaissance interior.

Jill Bace – Grants Secretary

After receiving her undergraduate degree in History of Art from Vassar College, Jill Bace joined Harvard University’s Fogg Art Museum as Assistant Curator of Ancient Art.  An MA in Art History from the University of Michigan and a RSA Diploma in Fine and Decorative Arts at Christie’s in London, where she specialised in 17th and 18th century furniture and ceramics, were followed by a stint volunteering on the British Galleries Project at the V&A.  She has worked as a freelance writer and for the past two decades has been a Guide Lecturer at the Wallace Collection.       

Beatrice Goddard – Events Secretary

Beatrice Goddard has an undergraduate degree in History of Art from the University of East Anglia, MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art and Diploma in Arts Management from Digby Stuart College, Roehampton. After working for Bonhams Auctioneers she was Exhibitions Manager at both the Crafts Council and the National Portrait Gallery then latterly a Curatorial Assistant at the American Museum in Bath and freelance exhibition organiser.

Keith Nicholls – Finance / Membership Secretary

Keith Nicholls has a degree in Economics & Politics and is a qualified accountant. He spent much of his career working for a division of Emerson, a multi- billion-dollar US conglomerate, in a variety of roles including finance, operations and purchasing. Following time in Slovakia, setting up financial controls and reporting for a new manufacturing plant, Keith joined Arts & Business, one of the larger Prince of Wales charities, as finance director. After a number of roles, both paid and unpaid, in the voluntary sector, Keith joined The Society in April 2015.

Jill Bace – Publications Officer

After receiving her undergraduate degree in History of Art from Vassar College, Jill Bace joined Harvard University’s Fogg Art Museum as Assistant Curator of Ancient Art.  An MA in Art History from the University of Michigan and a RSA Diploma in Fine and Decorative Arts at Christie’s in London, where she specialised in 17th and 18th century furniture and ceramics, were followed by a stint volunteering on the British Galleries Project at the V&A.  She has worked as a freelance writer and for the past two decades has been a Guide Lecturer at the Wallace Collection.       

Dr Megan Wheeler – Website Officer

Megan read Modern History at Christ Church, Oxford and in 2006 completed her DPhil on the persecution of Protestants in England in the reign of Mary I, before turning to Art History.  Having worked as a Specialist in Furniture and Works of Art for Bonhams Auctioneers until 2015, Megan joined the National Trust as a cataloguer on its Furniture Research & Cataloguing Project before taking up the role of Assistant National Curator for Furniture in January 2021.  She is also the Furniture History Society's Honorary Secretary.

To contact a Council Member please email us at the relevant email address:

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Governance

To read the set of rules by which the FHS is governed, please click here.

To read the Annual Report of the Trustees and the Financial Statements for the Year ended 30 June 2020, pleae click here.