Robert Wenley

Head of Collections and Deputy Director, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham


Research Interests

With a fine-art curatorial background at the Wallace Collection, London, and Glasgow Museums, Robert’s primary research interests have been in three distinct areas of early modern material culture: French bronzes, c.1600-1800; Netherlandish, Dutch and Flemish paintings, c.1500-1800; and the History of Collecting (fine art) in Britain and France, c1600-1950. At the Barber Institute, he has managerial responsibility for the care, display, interpretation and research of the world-class European art collections, including more than 600 prints. In recent years he has been the curatorial lead on a number of painting-in-focus exhibitions at the Barber, all of which have included prints. He is also currently Chair of the Public Picture Gallery Fund, founded in 1871 to support the acquisition of the fine arts, including prints, for the city of Birmingham.




  • French Bronzes in the Wallace Collection, Wallace Collection, London, 2002

  • Foundations of a Collection, Scala/ Barber Institute, 2012 (editor & co-author)

  • Pride and Persecution: Jan Steen’s Old Testament Scenes, exh. cat., Paul Holberton/ Barber Institute, 2017 (editor & co-author


Journal articles

  • ‘Robert Paston and The Yarmouth Collection’, Norfolk Archaeology, 41/2, 1991

  • ‘William, 3rd Earl of Lothian: Covenanter and Collector’, Journal of the History of Collections, 5/1, 1993

  • ‘French Royal Bronzes in Great Britain’, Apollo, CL, September 1999

  • ‘The 8th Marquess of Lothian as a Collector of Italian Old Masters’, Journal of the Scottish Society for Art History, 8, 2003

  • ‘The 4th Marquess of Hertford’s ‘lost collection’ of Sculpture’, Sculpture Journal, XII, 2004

  • ‘Masterpieces of a Merchant City’, Apollo, CLXIX, July 2006

  • ‘Tributes to a Golden Age: Dutch Old Masters in the Burrell Collection’, Apollo, CLXVIII, December 2008

  • ‘Guercino in Glasgow’, Master Drawings, 48/2, Summer 2010


Contributions to Exhibition Catalogues

  • Anatole Demidoff (1812-70), Prince of San Donato, Wallace Collection, London, 1994

  • ‘A Dance to the Music of Time’ by Nicolas Poussin, Wallace Collection, London, 1995

  • Le comte de Nieuwerkerke: Art et pouvoir sous Napoleon III, Musée National du Château de Compiègne, 2000

  • Cast in Bronze/ Bronzes français de la Renaissance au Siècle des lumières, Musée du Louvre, Paris/ Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York/ J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2008

  • The Paston Treasure: Microcosm of the Known World, Yale Center for British Art/ Norwich Castle Museum, 2017

  • Murillo IV centenario, Museo de Bellas Artes, Seville, 2018 [forthcoming]


Print-related displays curated

  • Dürer to Daumier, Burrell Collection, Glasgow, 2008

  • Lasting Impressions: 20th-Century Portrait Prints [from the National Portrait Gallery, London] (co-curated with Art History and Curating MA students), Barber Institute, 2014

  • The Naked & the Nude, Barber Institute, 2014

  • Tales from History: Prints & Drawings from the Dutch Golden Age, Barber Institute, 2017


Contact Details

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts

University of Birmingham

Edgbaston, Birmingham

B15 2TS