Dr Francesca Berry BA MA PhD (University College London)

Dr Francesca Berry

Department of Art History, Film and Visual Studies
Head of Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies

Contact details

Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

My specialisms are French art, design and visual culture 1840-1940; Edouard Vuillard, the Nabis and domesticity; the representation of the domestic interior across a range of modern visual media; feminist methodologies.


Prior to joining University of Birmingham in 2005, I was lecturer in History of Art at the University of Warwick and previously held a two-year post-doctoral research fellowship at the AHRC Centre for the Study of the Domestic Interior at the Royal College of Art, Victoria & Albert Museum and Royal Holloway College, London. I studied for my BA, MA and PhD in the Department of History of Art at University College London. In 2013 I became Head of Department of the Department of Art History, Curating ad Visual Studies at University of Birmingham. I have been a member of the editorial board of the Oxford Art Journal, published by Oxford University Press, since 2010.


I contribute to many aspects of History of Art undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, most notably the modules:

  • Paris Moderne 1850-1930: Image, Concept, Femininity
  • Inside Out: Interior and Interiority in French Art, Design and Visual Culture 1840-1940
  • Impressionism and After: Art and Society 1870-1900
  • Real and Ideal: Art and Society in Mid Nineteenth-Century France
  • I also contribute to the inter-disciplinary Gender Studies MRes module ‘Gender and Representation’.

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome enquiries from prospective postgraduate students wishing to research any subject that overlaps with my research and teaching interests.

Current Postgraduate Research Supervision


Jordan Silver 'Edouard Manet: A Working Ontology' (University of Birmingham College of Arts and Law Doctoral Scholarship)

Sara Tarter Commercialising Culture: The Display of Art in French, British and American Department Stores (1869-1914) (University of Birmingham College of Arts and Law Doctoral Scholarship)

Elin Morgan 'Jacob Epstein Portraiture' (AHRC) with Dr David Hemsoll

Previous Postgraduate Research Supervision


Alison Hall ‘Displaying Childhood Spaces’ (AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award) with Prof Ian Grosvenor and Dr Sian Roberts

Richenda Roberts ‘Patriotism is not enough’: Visual responses to pacifism and feminism in Britain during World War One’ (AHRC) with Dr Jutta Vinzent. Awarded 2013


Kathryn Murray ‘Edna Clark-Hall’ (AHRC)

Hannah Carroll ‘Estella Canziani’ (AHRC) with Dr Camilla Smith

Elin Morgan ‘The Fragment in the Art of Jacob Epstein’ (AHRC)


The main focus of my research is the artistic and visual culture of the domestic interior in France 1850-1950 and I have published a number of articles and chapters in this field.

I am in the process of completing a book examining the personal and social politics of domesticity in the work and working arrangements of French Nabis artist Edouard Vuillard, Edouard Vuillard: Art and the Politics of Domesticity at the end of the Nineteenth Century. This will constitute the first book-length feminist engagement with Vuillard and Intimisme more generally. I am also curating a loan exhibition of Vuillard's paintings of his mother at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in 2017 and in 2011 published an article specifically on this topic, 'Maman is My Muse: The Maternal as Motif and Metaphor', in the Oxford Art Journal.

I am also currently researching and writing articles on mass media publications associated with the interwar Salon des Arts Ménagers (1923-1983), including the journal L'Art Ménager and the annual exhibition poster. Specifically, I am writing an article 'Mechanical Housewives and New "Feminist" Domesticity in Interwar France' that critically analyses the representation of housewife-automata in SAM publicity materials. This article will be published as part of the edited collection that Dr Jo Applin (University of York) and I are editing and preparing as a result of our July 2015 conference at University of Birmingham, House, Work, Artwork: Feminism and Art History's New Domesticities.

As co-investigator from 2009-2012 on the AHRC funded (£282,000) collaborative research project ‘Suburban Birmingham: Spaces and Places 1880-1960’ (participating institutions are University of Birmingham, Birmingham Archives and Heritage and Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery) I was part of the project's academic management team and researched and published the online essay, ‘Homes on Show: Bournville Village Trust, Feminine Agency and the Performance of Suburban Domesticities’.

Other activities

In July 2015 I co-convened (with Dr Jo Applin, University of York) at the University of Birmingham the two day conference House, Work, Artwork: Feminism and Art History's New Domesticities (sponsors: University of Birmingham, University of York, Oxford Art Journal). An edited collection is now in preparation. Conference website.

Since 2010 I have been a member of the editorial of the Oxford Art Journal, published by Oxford University Press.

I am an external board member of Object, the postgraduate History of Art journal published by University College London.

I have been external examiner to postgraduate and undergraduate programmes at University of Nottingham and Imperial College, London.

At University of Birmingham I have held the following academic leadership administrative and management roles:

  • Head of Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies
  • College of Arts and Law Director of Joint Honours Liaison and Extenuating Circumstances
  • School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music Head of Student Development and Support
  • Welfare Officer
  • Staff Student Committee Chair
  • Undergraduate Admissions Tutor



  • Ed. (with Dr Jo Applin), New Feminist Domesticities (under consideration).
  • Ed. (with Jeremy Aynsley), ‘Publishing the Modern Home: Magazines and Interiors 1870-1965’, special issue of Journal of Design History, vol. 18, no. 1 (2005).

Academic journal articles

  • 'Maman is my Muse: The Maternal as Motif and Metaphor in Édouard Vuillard’s Intimisme’, Oxford Art Journal, vol. 34, no. 1 (April 2011), pp. 55-77.
  • ‘Designing the Reader’s Interior: Subjectivity and the Woman’s Magazine in Early Twentieth-Century France’, Journal of Design History, vol. 18, no. 1 (2005), pp. 61-79.
  • ‘Working Mothers: The Representation of Domestic and Professional Labour in Edouard Vuillard’s Interiors’, Object, no. 1 (1998), pp. 62-83.

Edited book chapters

  • ‘In Bed: The Corporeality and Subjectivity of the Bedroom Scene’, G. Downey (ed.), Domestic Interiors: Representing Homes from the Victorians to the Moderns, Bloomsbury, 2013, pp. 129-46.
  • ‘Linda Nochlin’, D. Costello & J. Vickery (eds.), Art: Key Contemporary Thinkers, Berg publishing, 2007
  • ‘Lived Perspectives: The Art of the French Nineteenth-Century Interior’, J. Aynsley & C. Grant (eds.), Imagined Interiors: Representing the Domestic Interior since the Renaissance, V&A Publications, 2006, pp. 160-83.

Research Council funded online research outputs

  • ‘Homes on Show: Bournville Village Trust, Feminine Agency and the Performance of Suburban Domesticities’, AHRC Suburban Birmingham: Spaces and Places 1880-1960 collaborative research project website, 2011, 


  • 123 authored entries (FB1-FB127) to 3000-entry online research database, Domestic Interiors Database: Representing the Domestic Interior Since the Renaissance, published by the AHRC Centre for the Study of the Domestic Interior, October 2006: www.rca.ac.uk/csdi/didb.

Academic journal review articles

  • 'Women Artists in Interwar France: Framing Femininities', French Studies, 2012, vol. 66, pp 593-4
  • ‘Inside the Psychologised Interior’, Oxford Art Journal, vol. 25, no. 2 (2002), pp. 156-61.
  • ‘Modernity, Modernism and Sexual Difference, Again’, Oxford Art Journal, vol. 30, no. 2 (2007), pp. 327-334.


French art and visual culture 1840-1930, especially Vuillard and the Nabis; therepresentation of domestic space, interior decoration andwomen's magazines; gender