Graduate Internship:
Collections Intern for Hamish Bowles’ Fashion Collection

Digital Project Requirement:
Creation of an online database of Tang Dynasty metalwork motifs

Qualifying Paper:
Science in the Study and Authentication of Catholic Relics

Describe one surprising discovery during your QP research:
In the fall of 2020 I wrote two course papers, for classes with Professors Jennifer Mass and Ittai Weinryb, about a reliquary statuette in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The metal reliquary depicted a small priest holding a glass cylinder encasing a textile-wrapped bone fragment. The reliquary was attributed to fourteenth century France, but during my research I found that the veracity of these claims was questionable. It first appeared in 1890 in the collection of dealer and notorious forger Frederic Spitzer, and all available provenance information for the object comes from early twentieth century art market sources—auction catalogues and dealers’ records. These sources were entirely responsible for shaping our understanding of this reliquary. The inquiry into this reliquary evolved into my qualifying project, for which I studied the Catholic process of relic authentication and the role of scientific examination in establishing authenticity. My work on the Met’s reliquary statuette also piqued my interest in how auction houses influence our understanding of objects. The perceived authenticity of this reliquary statuette hangs on the reliability of market actors. I hope to gain further insight into the role the market plays in objects’ lives through professional work at an auction house.

Next Steps:
My post-BGC dream job is to work as a specialist (or specialist-in-training) in European and American fashion or decorative arts at a major auction house in New York City.