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, Film and Visual Studies

Contact details

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

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


Prior to joining the department 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.


I contribute to many aspects of History of Art undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, most notably teaching the modules ‘Inside Out: Interior and Interiority in French Art, Design and Visual Culture 1840-1940’; 'Real and Ideal: Art and Society in Mid Nineteenth-Century France' and co-teaching ‘The Body and Its Representation’. I also contribute to the inter-disciplinary Gender Studies MPhil 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


Elaine Williams ‘Florence Camm’

Alison Hall ‘Displaying Childhood Spaces’ (AHRC funded)

Past supervision


Richenda Roberts ‘Patriotism is not enough’: Visual responses to pacifism and feminism in Britain during World War One’ (AHRC funded) PhD awarded 2013


Kathryn Murray ‘Edna Clark-Hall’ (AHRC funded) MPhil awarded 2012

Hannah Carroll ‘Estella Canziani’ (AHRC funded) MPhil awarded 2012

Elin Morgan ‘The Fragment in the Art of Jacob Epstein’ (AHRC funded) MPhil awarded 2012


The main focus of my research is the artistic and visual culture of the domestic interior in mid-nineteenth- to early twentieth-century France and I have published a number of articles in this field. An essay on the visual culture of the bedroom was recently published in the collection G. Downey (ed.), Domestic Interiors: Representing Homes from the Victorians to the Moderns.

I am in the process of completing a book examining domesticity and the interior in relation to the work of French Symbolist 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 planning a book on the interior as a pictorial motif in French art and visual culture 1850-1950, The Shared Art of the Interior. As co-investigator 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 published the online essay, ‘Homes on Show: Bournville Village Trust, Feminine Agency and the Performance of Suburban Domesticities’, http://www.suburbanbirmingham.org.uk/spaces/bournville-essay.htm

An edited collection concerning current issues in feminist art history (ed. with Jo Applin & Harriet Riches), Bodies of Work: The Matter of Feminism Now, is under consideration with an academic press.

Other activities

I was co-convenor of The Grand-daughters’ Generation: Feminism and Art History Now, a symposium in honour of Linda Nochlin on the occasion of her 80th birthday, University College London, 5 February 2011.

I am an editorial board member 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.


At the University of Birmingham I am College of Arts and Law Director of Joint Honours Liaison, departmental Joint Honours Contact and Student-Staff Committee Chair in History of Art.



  •  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

  • ‘Bedrooms: Corporeality and Subjectivity’, 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, 2012, http://www.suburbanbirmingham.org.uk/spaces/bournville-essay.htm
  • 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

  • ‘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