- Also known as
Dr Dora Thornton, FSA, FRHistS
primary name: Thornton, Dora
- individual; curator; British; Female
- Life dates
- St Hilda’s College, Oxford [MA Hons [Modern History], 1984; PhD, The Study Room in Renaissance Italy, with particular reference to Venice 1560-1620, awarded 1990, Warburg Institute, London;
Andrew W. Mellon Fellow, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1989-90; Curator of Renaissance Europe and Curator of the Waddesdon Bequest, 1990-2018. Author [with Timothy Wilson} of Catalogue of Italian Renaissance Ceramics in the British Museum, books on the Waddesdon Bequest, on Italian Renaissance culture and the history of collecting, and on Shakespeare; numerous articles, many collaborative; curator of Waddesdon Bequest Gallery  and curator of BM exhibition, Shakespeare: Staging the World . Since 2018, Curator of the Goldsmiths’ Company Collection. Trustee of the London Library and of the London Library Trust, [1998-2010], including appointment of Librarian and Deputy Librarian ; Trustee of Uppingham School, [2015-20]; member of Education and Academic Committee; Council of Society of Renaissance Studies [1996-99]; Kelmscott Manor Committee, Society of Antiquaries, [2011-2018]; Consultative Committee, West 86th Street, journal of the Bard Graduate School, New York, [2014-]; Freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company.
correct as of October 2020
- DORA THORNTON: PUBLICATIONS 1990-2017
The Scholar in his Study, Ownership and Experience in Renaissance Italy, New Haven and London 1997 (Selected by the publishers for entry for the Mitchell Art Prize 1997)
(with Luke Syson), Objects of Virtue, Art in Renaissance Italy, London (BMP), 2001
(with Timothy Wilson) Italian Renaissance Ceramics, A Catalogue of the British Museum’s Collection, 2 vols., BMP 2009
Shakespeare:staging the world [with Jonathan Bate] BMP 2012
Shakespeare’s Britain [with Jonathan Bate and Becky Allen] BMP 2012
A Rothschild Renaissance, Treasures from the Waddesdon Bequest, British Museum Press 2015.
(ed., with Pippa Shirley), A Rothschild Renaissance: A New Look, [conference papers] British Museum Research Publication 122, London 2017
ARTICLES, EXHIBITION CATALOGUE ENTRIES AND REVIEWS
“Maiolica Production in Renaissance Italy”, in Ian Freestone and David Gaimster, eds., Pottery in the Making, World Ceramic Traditions, British Museum, London 1997, pp.116-121
with Marta Ajmar, “When is a portrait not a portrait? Belle donne on maiolica and the Renaissance praise of local beauties”, in The Image of the Individual, proceedings of a joint Warburg Institute/British Museum colloquium, eds. Nicolas Mann and Luke Syson, British Museum, London 1998, pp.139-153
“The quest for a Renaissance intellectual”, British Museum Magazine, Spring 1998, pp.26-27
Six entries on maiolica in The Enduring Image, Treasures from the British Museum, exhibition catalogue, New Delhi and Mumbai, 1997-8, cats.222-227, pp.158-164
with Jeremy Warren, “The British Museum’s Michelangelo acquisitions and the Casa Buonarroti”, The Journal for the History of Collections, Spring 1998, 10, no.1, pp.9-30
Review of Clifford M..Brown, “`Our Accustomed Discourse on the Antique:Cesare Gonzaga and Girolamo Garimberto, two Renaissance Collectors of Greco-Roman art”, The Journal for the History of Collections, 6, no.1, 1994, pp.119-120
Review of Irene Favaretto, Arte antica e cultura antiquaria nelle collezioni venete al tempo della Serenissima, The Journal for the History of Collections, 4, no.1,1994, pp.162-163
Review of Clare Robertson, `Il Gran Cardinale’, Alessandro Farnese, The Journal for the History of Collections, 5, no.2, 1994, pp.244-245
Review (with Jeremy Warren) of Giuseppe Toderi and Fiorenza Vannel Toderi, Placchette, secoli XV-XVIII nel Museo Nazionale del Bargello and Yvonne Hackenbroch, Enseignes, The Medal, Spring 1997, pp.125-127
Contributor to Venice, A Documentary History, eds. Brian Pullan and David Chambers, Oxford 1991, pp.181-182
`The Armada Service: a recent acquisition by the British Museum’, Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries, XXXVII, Part III, Spring 1993, p.81
Review of David Chambers, A Renaissance Cardinal and his Worldly Goods: the Will and Inventory of Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga 1444-1483, The Journal for the History of Collections, no.1, 1993, pp.98-99
Review of P.L.Bagatin, La Tarsia rinascimentale a Ferrara, Burlington Magazine, CXXXV, May 1993, p.363
` The Armada Service’, Apollo Magazine, Decorative Arts Issue, January 1993, p.49
review article of Fake? Symposium at the BM, The Journal for the History of Collections, 2, no.2, 1990, pp.242-244
Review (with Jeremy Warren) of Maria Stahr, plakety Renesansowe: Katalog Zbirow Muzeum Narodwego w Pozniu (Renaissance Plaquettes, Catalogue of the National Museum in Poznan), The Medal, no.26, Spring 1995, pp.117-118
Catalogue entry for Exhibition Catalogue, Circa 1492, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992, pp.172-173
Two entries in The German Renaissance Print, ed.Giulia Bartrum, London 1995, cats.172, 186
(with Michael Cowell), “`The Armada Service’: a set of late Tudor dining silver”, The Antiquaries Journal, 1996, pp.154-180
“Valerio Belli and after: Renaissance gems in the British Museum”, Jewellery Studies, 8, 1998, pp.11-20
“An Allegory of the Sack of Rome by Giulio da Urbino”, Apollo, June 1999, pp.11-18
review of Jacqueline Marie Musacchio, The Art and Ritual of Childbirth in Renaissance Italy, New Haven and London 1999, The Burlington Magazine, CXLI, August 1999, pp.479-480
“Thomas More’s Jewels come to the BM”, British Museum Magazine, 36, Spring 2000, p.13
“Lustred pottery from the Cantagalli workshop, its sources and English connections”, Apollo, February 2000, pp.33-40
review of Olga Raggio and Antoine Wilmering, The Gubbio Studiolo and its Conservation, 2 vols., Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in Burlington Magazine, CXLII, no.1171, October 2000, pp.635-636
“The Status and Display of Small Bronzes in the Italian Renaissance Interior”, The Sculpture Journal, V, 2001, pp.33-41
two entries in Cleopatra of Egypt, From History to Myth, eds. Susan Walker and Peter Higgs, exhibition catalogue, British Museum London 2000, cats.379 and 380, pp.356-357.
“From Waddesdon to The British Museum: Ferdinand Rothschild and his cabinet collection”, Journal of the History of Collections, vol.13 no.2, 2001, pp.191-214
Seven entries for Giulia Bartrum, ed., “Albrecht Dürer and his legacy”, ex.cat. The British Museum, London 2002, p.246, cat.199, p.248, cat.202, p.254, cats.208-209, p.256, cat.210, p.262, cat.216
“Painted enamels of Limoges in the Wernher Collection”, Apollo, no. 483 (May 2002), pp. 10-16.
“A bella donna from the Pasolini collection in the British Museum”, Faenza, LXXXIX, 2003, pp.135-150
Annual Treasure Report 2002: entries
(with David Mitchell) “Three Tudor silver dress-hooks”, The Antiquaries Journal, 83, 2003, pp.486-491
“The uses of Dürer prints as sources for Italian Renaissance Maiolica”, paper from the Dürer conference at the BM, 2003, as an Occasional Paper on the webpage of the Department of Prints and Drawings on the website of the BM, March 2004 (ISBN 0 86159 130 5) electronic publication available in pdf format @ http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/researchpublications/durer.html,
“Le mie cose: Fra Sabba da Castiglione e i suoi oggetti”, in AR Gentilini, ed. Sabba da Castiglione 1480-1554. Dalle corti rinascimentali alla Commenda di Faenza, atti del convegno , Faenza 19-20 maggio 2000, Florence 2004, pp.307-322
Annual Treasure Report 2003: many entries.
“A plaquette by Leone Leoni acquired by the British Museum”, The Burlington Magazine, December 2006, CXLVIII, pp. 828-832.
Review of At Home in Renaissance Italy, exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum 2006, in Apollo, December 2006, pp. 80-1.
Annual Treasure Report 2004: many entries.
“Stories in Ceramic”, Art Quarterly, Winter 2007, pp. 56-8
“Mixed Culture” (A Mexican jewel) British Museum Magazine, Summer 2008, p. 45.
“Exquisite lightness”, British Museum Magazine, Autumn 2008, pp. 42-4.
“Giulio da Urbino and his role as a copyist of Xanto”, Faenza, 2008, pp. 269-289
“The Waddesdon Bequest as a neo-Kunstkammer of the 19th Century”, Silver Studies, 2008, pp. 15-25.
Art and Love in Renaissance Italy, ed. Andrea Bayer, Ex.cat. MMA, New York, and Kimbell, Fort Worth, New Haven and London 2008, cats. 1-31, pp. 68-100, and cats. 79 and 81.
(with Susan La Niece, Stefan Roehrs and Antony Simpson), “Limoges Painted enamels: evidence for specialist copper-smithing workshops”, The British Museum Technical Bulletin 3, 2009, pp. 13-22
Treasure Annual Report 2005-6, many entries
“A Documentary Venetian Renaissance Dish in The British Museum”, JOURNAL OF GLASS STUDIES, 51, 2009, pp. 76-85
Treasure Annual Report 2007, many entries
Catalogue entry on The Holy Thorn Reliquary of Jean duc du Berri in Treasures of Heaven, ex .cat. Cleveland Museum of Art and Walters Gallery Baltimore, New Haven and London 2010, eds. Martina Bagnoli, Holger Klein, C.Griffith Mann and James Robinson, cat. 54.
“Cantagalli pieces in the British Museum and the Fondo Cantagalli”, in Il Risorgimento della maiolica italiana:Ginori e Cantagalli, eds; Livia Frescobaldi Malenchini and Oliva Rucellai, ex.cat.Stibbert Museum, Florence 2011-12, Florence 2011, pp. 121-130
12 catalogue entries in Majolique, la faïence italienne au temps des humanistes, eds. Thierry Crépin Leblond and Françoise Barbe, Paris 2011 [ex.cat. Musée de la Renaissance, Ecouen]
Shakespeare’s Britain [with Jonathan Bate and Becky Allen], British Museum Press, London 2012
Shakespeare, Staging the World [with Jonathan Bate], British Museum Press, London 2012
[with Jonathan Bate], “The play’s the thing”, The Spectator , 7 July 2012.
“For all time”, British Museum Magazine, Autumn 2012, 73, pp. 22-26.
[with Jonathan Bate], “Rediscovering Shakespeare with objects”, Oxford Today magazine, Trinity Term 2012, p. 13.
“Shakespeare: staging the world”, The Exhibitionist, no.7, February 2013, pp. 79-85.
Entry on maiolica plate with the arms of Cardinal Pietro Bembo in Pietro Bembo e l’invenzione del Rinascimento, eds. Guido Beltramini, Davide Gasparotto and Adolfo Tura, ex.cat. Palazzo del Monte di Pietà, Padua 2 February – 19 March 2013, Padua 2013, p. 370 cat.6.3
Catalogue entry on Medici Valencian vase in The Springtime of the Renaissance, Sculpture and the Arts in Florence 1400-1600, eds. Beatrice Paolozzi Strozzi and Marc Bormand, Bargello, Florence 2013, pp. 478-9
“The Cheapside Hoard”, exhibition review, Burlington Magazine February 2014, pp. 121-2.
“Venice or façon de Venise? Two enamelled glasses in the British Museum”, Study Days on Venetian Glass, 2013-2014, eds. Rosa Barovier and Cristina Tonini, Venice, Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, 2014, pp. 127-139.
Review of Italian Renaissance and Later Ceramics,by Alan P. Darr, Patricia Simons and Timothy Wilson., Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts, vol.87, no.1.4, 2013) • The Burlington Magazine, June 2014, no. clvi, pp. 397-8.
Review of The Hockemeyer Collection, vol.2., catalogue by Timothy Wilson and J.V.G.Mallet, The Burlington Magazine, July 2014, no.CLVI, p. 467.
“In the field of Harkirk”, British Museum Magazine, Autumn 2014, pp.54-5
[With Ian Freestone, William Gudenrath, Martina Bertini, Andrew Meek and Denise Ling], “Technical Study of a rare Venetian turquoise glass goblet from the Waddesdon Bequest”, British Museum Technical Bulletin, vol.8, 2013, pp.1-12.
[with Janina Parol], “Lost and found: toys, tears and the Thames”, blogpost, British Museum December 2014; Lost and found: toys, tears and the Thames
[book review] “A glimpse behind the doors of a Roman baroque palace” The Art Newspaper, April 2015 p.62
[book review] “Divine drawers and pietre dure dazzle in Wiltshire: the cabinet of Pope Sixtus V”, 1 May 2015
Blogpost, “A Rothschild Renaissance”, http://www.historytoday.com/dora-thornton/rothschild-renaissance 2015
Blogpost, “`made of straw of rare beauty’; Kongo cloths in Renaissance European collections,”http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2015/kongo/blog/posts/kongo-textiles-renaissance-european-collections
Classic Review: book review of O.Impey and A.MacGregor, eds., Origin of Museums, Oxford 1985, in History Today, November 2015, p. 59.
[with Andrew Meek and William Gudenrath], “Opal glass in the British Museum attributed to the Buquoy glasshouse”, Glass Studies, 57, 2015, pp. 167-182
[with Maickel van Belleguem, Paul Buck and Susan La Niece], “Conservation treatment and technical observations on two objects from the Waddesdon Bequest with life castings”, British Museum Technical Bulletin, vol.9, 2015, pp.15-14
“Volpone's Chest? The Tale of a Trunk”, Furniture History vol.LI, 2015, pp.51-62
Arnold Hunt, Dora Thornton and George Dalgleish, “ A Jacobean Antiquary reassessed: Thomas Lyte, the Lyte Genealogy and the Lyte Jewel”, The Antiquaries Journal, Available on CJO 2016 doi:10.1017/S0003581516000019, then as The Antiquaries Jornal, vol.96, 2016, pp. 169-206.
“Polyvalent plates”, review of F.Barbe, Majolique; l’Āge d’Or de la Faïence Italienne au XVI Siècle, Paris 2016, in The Art Newspaper, July 2016, p.44.
“Banking and Benevolence”, review of Les Rothschild: une Dynastie de Mécènes en France, 1873-2016, Pauline Prévost-Marcilhacy, Marc Bascou, Marianne Grivel, Isabelle Le Masne de Chermont and Pascal Torres, Paris 2017 in The Art Newspaper, May 2017, p.24.
Circulating a likeness: Her Majesty’s Picture, British Museum blog and handling video for YouTube http://blog.britishmuseum.org/her-majestys-picture-circulating-a-likeness-of-elizabeth-i/, July 2017
Review of “Small Wonders”, Gothic boxwood miniatures. Toronto, New York and Amsterdam , Burlington Magazine, August 2017 159, no.1373, pp.663-664
“Baron Ferdinand Rothschild’s sense of family origins and the Waddesdon Bequest in the British Museum”, Journal of the History of Collections, online December 2017, published 2018, pp.1-18
Review of T.Wilson, Italian Maiolica and Europe: Medieval, Renaissance and Later Italian pottery in the Ashmolean Museum, Burlington Magazine, vol.CLX, March 2018, pp.254-55.
“Carved to Commission”, British Museum Magazine, Spring 2018, p. 41.
“An English Puritan Colony in the Caribbean in 1630: The Providence Island Company Matrix”, in Seals and Status: the power of objects, eds.J.Cherry, J.Berenbeim and L.de Beer, British Museum 2018, pp.10-18.2
Peter Davidson, Mark Blundell, Dora Thornton, Jane Stevenson, “The Harkirk graveyard and William Blundell ‘the Recusant’ (1560-1638): a reconsideration”, British Catholic History, 2018, vol. 34(1), pp. 29–76
“The Paston Treasure”, review of Norwich Castle Museum exhibition and catalogue with Yale Center for British Art, Burlington Magazine, 160, September 2018, pp. 772-774.
“A dish from the Cantagalli workshop in the British Museum”, Burlington Magazine, 160, no. 1387, October 2018, pp. 816-823
Review of Catherine Jones, Royal Collections Catalogue of European Silver, Silver Studies 2018.
DATED AFTER 2019
“Talking Points”: Court Cups of the London Goldsmiths’ Company as contemporary commissions”, Canadian Silver Studies, 22, 2019, pp.31-40
“`A long succession of magnificent provocative treasures for the collection at Goldsmiths’ Hall’: designs and making of Louis Osman’s commissions for the Goldsmiths’ Company 1966-85”, Silver Studies, 35, 2019, pp.5-20
Review of Philadelphia Museum American silver in art newspaper
With Kitty Lameris, William Gudenrath and Andrew Meek, “Two Tudor drinking pots with London mounts, 1548-49”, Glass Studies 2019, pp.1-37
Review of The Sacred Home in Renaissance Italy. By Abigail Brundin, Deborah Howard and Mary Laven, June 2019, 1395, 161, pp. 522-523
Review of Maioliche di Savona e Albisola a Firenze (1650–1700). By Marco Spallanzani, Burlington Magazine, September 2019, 1398, 161, pp.785-786
“A curiosity from the Calamelli workshop: a recent acquisition for the British Museum”, in Giulio Busti, Mauro Cesaretti and Bruno Cocchi, eds., La maiolica italiana del Rinascimento, studi e ricerche, atti del convegno internazionale, Assisi September 2016, Turnhout Belgium 2019, pp. 63-82
“Making US silver great again”, review of B.G.Garvan, D.L.Barquist and E.R.Agro, American Silver in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Vol. 1, Makers A_F, New Haven and London 2020, in The Art Newspaper, November 2020, p. 68.
“`Degli Antiquari il Re’: Giovanni Freppa as Dealer, Collector and Forger in nineteenth-century Florence”, in JV.G.Mallet and E.P.Sani, eds., Maiolica in Italy and Beyond, papers of a symposium held at Oxford in celebration of Timothy Wilson’s Catalogue of Maiolica in the Ashmolean Museum, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford 2020, pp. 153-179.
The Brooch Unpinned: an exploration of the Goldsmiths; Company Collection, Goldsmiths’ Fair Handbook 2020, pp. 4-9
correct as of November 2020