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Alexandra A. Kirtley


Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Montgomery-Garvan Curator of American Decorative Arts, 2015 to present 

The Montgomery-Garvan Associate Curator of American Decorative Arts, 2009 to 2014 

Associate Curator, American Decorative Arts, 2007 to 2009

Assistant Curator, American Decorative Arts, 2001 to 2007

Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, Delaware, Research Assistant, 1999 to 2001



University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, M.A., 1999

                        Lois F. McNeil Fellow in the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture

                        Master of Arts, May 1999. Thesis: “ ‘Procured of the best and most Fashionable  

                        Materials:’ The Furniture and Furnishings of the Lloyd Family, 1750-1850.” 

The Attingham Summer School, Great Britain

                        Norfolk Study Trip, September 2022

                        Summer School (Royal Oak Foundation Scholar), July 1999 

Hamilton College, Clinton, New York, A.B., (honors) 1993

History of art major (thesis: Botticelli’s Adoration of the Magi), history minor 

                        Member, Phi Sigma Iota (National Foreign Language Honor Society)

Select Publications                                                                                                                               

“American Furniture,” America’s Collection: The Art and Architecture of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the U.S. Department of State, NY: Rizzoli, forthcoming September 2023

Contributor and Co-Editor (with Brock Jobe and Stephen Latta), The Wonder of Wood: Decorative Inlay and Marquetry in Europe and America, 1600-1900 (2022 conference paper post-prints)

Winterthur: Co-publisher TBD, forthcoming, Spring 2024  

“A New Day at the PMA” ANTIQUES Volume CLL (March/April, 2021), pages 56-64.

American Furniture 1650-1840: Highlights of the Philadelphia Museum of Art 
New Haven and London: Yale University Press in association with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2020 (second printing, 2021)

“Taking Inventory: A Scholarly Appetite for Scallops” ANTIQUES Volume CLXXXVII (May/June, 2020), pages 52-53

“Taking Inventory: Philadelphia Stories” ANTIQUES Volume CLXXXVI (January/February, 2019) pages 72-79

“On Books: Book Review,” ANTIQUES Volume CLXXXV (July/August, 2018) pages 46-50.

“Boston baroque: Upholstery for an early easy chair,” with Robert F. Trent ANTIQUES, Volume CLXXXV (March/April, 2018) pages 66-71. 

Classical Splendor: Painted Furniture for a Grand Philadelphia House Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art and Yale University Press, 2016 (with Peggy A. Olley) 

“Compendium” in Leslie Anne Miller, Start With a House, Finish With a Collection. London: Scala Arts Publishers, Inc., 2014.

“Thomas Affleck, A Scottish Cabinetmaker in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia” in Making for America: Transatlantic Craftsmanship—Scotland and the Americas in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 2013.

“Artistic Spirit Lives in the Athens of America”The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 11, 2011. For www.philadelphiaencyclopedia.org

Treasures of American and English Painting and Decorative Arts in the Julian Wood Glass Collection (New York: Rizzoli for the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, 2010) (with William Keyes Rudolph)

“Contriving the Madisons’ drawing room: Benjamin Henry Latrobe and the furniture of John and Hugh Finlay” ANTIQUES, Volume CLXXVIII (December, 2009) pages 56-63. 

“From Apprentice to Master: The Life and Career of Philadelphia Cabinetmaker George G. Wright”American Furniture 2007 (with Clark Pearce and Catherine Ebert) Luke Beckerdite, ed.  Easthampton: Antique Collectors’ Club, p 110 to 131.

“Catalogue Raisonné of Bonnin and Morris Porcelain,” Ceramics in America 2007 Robert Hunter, ed. Easthampton: Antiques Collectors’ Club, 2007, p 220 to 300.

Book Review of Nancy Goyne Evans, Windsor Chair-Making in America: From Craft Shop to Consumer (University Press of New England, 2006) for Winterthur Portfolio (Spring, 2007).

“The Painted Furniture of Philadelphia: A Reappraisal,” ANTIQUES, Volume CLXIX, (May, 2006) pages 134 to 145. 

The 1772 Philadelphia Furniture Price Book: An Introduction and Guide to Prices of Cabinet and Chair Work. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2005.

“Survival of the Fittest: The Lloyd Family’s Furniture Legacy” in American Furniture 2002, Luke Beckerdite, ed. Hanover: University Press of New England, 2002, 2 to 53

“A New Suspect: Baltimore Cabinetmaker Edward Priestley (1778-1837),” American Furniture 2000,

Luke Beckerdite, ed. Hanover: University Press of New England, 2000, 100 to 151.

Select Exhibitons at PMA                                                                                                                    

Co-Curator, Reinstallation and reinterpretation of early American Art Galleries with Kathleen A. Foster, David L. Barquist, and Carol E. Soltis. Opened May 3, 2021 

Co-Curator, “Classical Splendor: Painted Furniture for a Grand Philadelphia House” September 2, 2016 to January 1, 2017 with conservator Peggy A. Olley

Curator, “Art in Revolutionary Philadelphia,” April 17, 2010 to April 10, 2011

Curator, “Colonial Philadelphia Porcelain: The Art of Bonnin and Morris” March 8 to June 1, 2008

Curator, “Elegant Innovations: American Rookwood Pottery, 1880–1960: The Gerald and Virginia

Gordon Collection” November 15, 2003 to March 21, 2004

Select Lectures (2015-2023)                                                                                                     

“A Rising Tide Lifts All Ships: Re-Presenting American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art” Jonathan

L. Fairbanks Lecture, Decorative Arts Trust Philadelphia Symposium, April 27, 2023

“ ‘A Beautiful Kind of Mosaic Work’: Inlaid Marquetry on Early Pennsylvania Tables” Wonder of Wood

Conference, Winterthur and Philadelphia Museum of Art, April 27, 2022.

“Connections: The Furniture Maker’s Muse” Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Keynote at the Furniture Seminar, March 18, 2022

“A Rising Tide Lifts All Ships: Philadelphia and Lancaster Furniture” Campaign Celebration at Historic Rockford, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, September 29, 2021

“Connections: Painted Furniture in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and the Upper South” at Furniture Up Close Conference, Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library, October, 2020

“'Wealth and ambition & taste': B H Latrobe’s Classical Splendor in early 19th century Philadelphia” The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association Decoration Arts Symposium, May 28, 2019

“From Design Book to Design—The Philadelphia Cabinetmakers' Companions and Guides, 1750-1800” The Library Company of Philadelphia, April 2, 2019

“Furniture—A Touchstone for Understanding Cultural Exchange and Transmission of Style in Colonial North America” The College Art Association, New York, February 16, 2019 

“ ‘Send none but the Finest Quality’ The Edward Lloyd Family’s Art and Patronage in Early Maryland,” Collector’s Day, The Hammond-Harwood House Association, Annapolis, Maryland, November 2, 2018

“Concealed: The Notes and Knots of Classical Furniture in Mississippi,” The Historic New Orleans Collection Forum, August 4, 2018

Commencement Address, Roland Park Country School, Baltimore, Maryland, June 12, 2018

Wealth and ambition & taste': Painted Furniture and Interiors in early 19th century Philadelphia” Antiquarian Society of The Art Institute of Chicago”, March 13, 2018

“Furniture as Canvas: Painted Decoration in the American Psyche” Colonial Williamsburg Antiques Forum, Williamsburg, VA, February 22, 2018

‘great and extended Traffique and commerce’: Philadelphia’s Southern Trade in Pursuit of Porcelain” Henry Green Symposium, University of Georgia, February 1, 2018

“Tropical Hardwood in Philadelphia Furniture,” Winterthur Furniture Forum, April 7, 2016

“Aristocratic Wishes and Republican Virtues in Philadelphia, 1780-1820,” Colonial Williamsburg Antiques Forum, Williamsburg, VA, February 21, 2016

‘Send none but the Finest Quality’: Art and Patronage in Early Maryland—The Edward Lloyd Family and Beyond, The 23rd Annual Newport (R.I.) Symposium, April 28, 2015

Furnishing 18th century Philadelphia—Grandeur and Grace Reconsidered, Associates of the American Wing, Detroit Institute of Arts, January 28, 2015

Current Boards                                                                                                                                   

Member, Curatorial Advisory Board to the Commission on Art, United States Senate (2003—present)

Trustee, The Andalusia Foundation (2006—present; Collections Committee Chair, 2006-present)

Governor, The Decorative Arts Trust (2013—present; Education Committee Chair, 2021—present; Secretary, 2022—present)

Trustee, Delaware Historical Society (2018—present)

Member, Advisory Board, The Magazine Antiques (2019—present) 

Member, Advisory Board, The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (2021-present)


Born in Baltimore, September 19, 1970 Graduate of Calvert School (1983) and Roland Park Country School, (1989: Athletic

Association President; Recipient of The Most Outstanding Contribution to Athletics Prize and The Faculty Prize).                    

Married September 9, 2000, to Roger Donald Kirtley

            Daughter, Caroline Summerfield Kirtley, born December 29, 2003

            Son, Henry Aristides Kirtley, born February 27, 2007

Travel throughout United States, Africa, Asia, and Europe

Conversational Italian and French

Tennis, gardening, swimming, skiing