The Creation of a Country House Museum, Aston Hall, Birmingham

Martin Ellis

Wednesday 20th November 2019

The Creation of a Country House Museum: The Furnishing of Aston Hall

Looks at one of the finest Jacobean country houses in England. Built between 1618 and 1635, its public history is almost as long as its life as a private house. Aston was the first great house in Britain to be taken into public ownership – and the subject of the country's first major Heritage campaign. The Hall, full of outstanding interiors effectively unaltered since the middle of the 18th century, is now part of Birmingham’s museum service. After an introduction to the house, the talk considers the ideas, problems and excitement of interpreting a major house and collection for the public, and the series of furnishing programmes which, since the 1940s, have steadily brought the Hall back to life.

 

John Leith, Aston Hall, colour lithograph, 1862

Martin Ellis:

Martin has worked as a field archaeologist, art curator, broadcaster and art dealer. At Blackburn and Birmingham Museums, he curated collections of fine and applied art, exhibitions and historic buildings. His most recent project is the co-curation of the major exhibition Victorian Radicals, currently on an 8-venue tour of the USA. Martin was closely involved with the development of the BBC and British Museum project A History of the World in 100 Objects, and has written and presented a variety of programmes for BBC Radio 4 in association with Pier Productions. He currently works with his wife Julia in their art and antiques business. Martin is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, an accredited lecturer for the Arts Society, a Freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company and a Research Associate at the University of Birmingham.