The MA in Fine and Decorative Art is taught from the perspective of an art expert, rather than an academic art historian. Based on Sotheby’s original training scheme, the Works of Art Course, this programme has been taught in London for nearly forty years; the approach is object-based and often object-specific.
Case studies in Old Master paintings, modern art, furniture and ceramics from the Renaissance to the present day form the core curriculum, along with the development of professional skills for attributing and cataloguing works of art, culminating in the House Sale project, which closely mirrors the auction house environment.
The defining characteristic of this programme is its frequent and regular visits to museums and galleries, the auction house, and country-house collections for first-hand observation of art objects. The visual and hands-on approach, supported by a thorough grounding in materials and techniques, gives a firm foundation for postgraduate research and the excitement of unravelling the material culture of the past.