The Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) today announced the appointment of Dr. Christopher (Kit) Maxwell as curator of European glass. A curator and scholar, Maxwell has a varied background in the academic, museum, and gallery world. In his new role, Maxwell will be responsible for the acquisition, exhibition, cataloguing, and research of the Museum’s European glass collection, with works dating from the early medieval period until about 1900. Maxwell will join the Museum in October.
“I am excited about the knowledge and enthusiasm Kit will bring to his new position at our Museum,” said Karol Wight, president and executive director. “His extensive knowledge of ceramics and his deep interest and past experience in glass made Kit an ideal choice for us. We look forward to having him begin furthering the research on our extensive European glass collection, adding scholarly content to our publications and website, planning for future exhibitions, and enhancing the European collection with notable acquisitions.”
Maxwell graduated with a BA in History of Art from the University of Cambridge in 2001, and took a post at the Royal Collection first in the Royal Library and Print Room at Windsor Castle, followed by the Publications Office at St James’s Palace. In 2005, he completed his master’s degree in Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors at the University of London, and became an assistant curator in the ceramics and glass section at the Victoria & Albert Museum. For five years, he worked on the reinterpretation of the museum’s ceramics galleries, developing a specialty in 18th-century European ceramics, with a particular focus on French porcelain.
In 2010, Maxwell left the V&A to pursue his PhD at the University of Glasgow, which he completed in 2014. The topic of his dissertation research was the dispersal of the Hamilton Palace collection. Maxwell rejoined the Royal Collection as project curator during this time, and since 2013, has been working with Travis Hansson Fine Art, a private art dealer based in Beverly Hills.
“The Corning Museum of Glass is a truly exceptional institution, with an international reputation and an exciting vision for its future,” Maxwell said. “While working at the V&A, I became fascinated by the alchemy of ceramics production, and what the V&A’s ceramics collection represents not just in terms of artistic development, but also what these works reveal about advances in science and technology, political ambition and global trade, and the practical, cultural, and social significance of these works. The stories told by glass are, in many ways, very similar, and I look forward to exploring such narratives with CMoG’s outstanding collection, furthering my research, and presenting exhibitions that I hope audiences will find informative, entertaining, and even surprising.”
The European glass collection of The Corning Museum of Glass ranges in scope from early northern European glass made in rural glasshouses for daily use, to delicate stemware created during the heyday of the Venetian Renaissance. It also includes elaborate cut and engraved glass made in Bohemia, France, and England, as well as ornate glass furniture created for world’s fairs during the mid-19th century.
Since Wight joined the Museum in 2011, she has assembled a new team of curators as staff retired or departed. Part of the process of building the curatorial team included creating the new position of curator of science and technology, filled by Dr. Marvin Bolt in 2013. Wight most recently brought on Susie Silbert to fill the role of curator of modern and contemporary glass, a position long held by Tina Oldknow who retired in September. Kelly Conway joined the Museum as the curator of American glass in 2013, and Wight is curator ancient and Islamic glass in addition to serving as CMoG president and executive director.
“With the addition of Kit, we have a full curatorial team of experts who represent some of the best in glass scholarship today,” said Wight. “I look forward to working together with this dynamic group to further the study, understanding, and appreciation of glass.”