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Fairfax House Partnership Studentship‌

Christmas at Fairfax House

The 2016-17 Fairfax House Partnership Studentship will provide the successful applicant with a partial fee waiver of £5,000 and an opportunity to undertake a volunteer placement at the museum.

Fairfax House

About Fairfax House

Fairfax House is one of England’s finest Georgian townhouses and has been open to the public as a historic house museum over the past 35 years. Originally the winter home of the 9th Viscount Fairfax of Emley and his daughter Anne, Fairfax House’s richly decorated interiors and magnificent stucco ceilings make it a masterpiece of Georgian design and architecture. Set in the heart of York, Fairfax House reveals the domestic interiors in which these Georgians would have walked, the tastes and fashions of the day for architecture, interior decoration, food and furnishings, as well as the customs and habits of York’s wealthy gentry and aristocracy. It was a place where the winter season could be enjoyed, and with it, all the entertainments and social engagements that this centre for ‘polite society’ had to offer.

An accredited museum, Fairfax House houses a nationally significant collection of eighteenth-century domestic furniture, clocks, artwork and decorative arts. The Noel G. Terry collection forms the core of this and comprises mostly English pieces of furniture and clocks from the mid to late eighteenth century. This outstanding collection showcases some of the finest examples of craftsmanship from the golden age of English cabinet-making and clock-making. Since the opening of Fairfax House museum in the mid-1980s, the collection has been developed over time with further gifts, bequests and purchases.

The historic significance of the Fairfax House collection lies firstly within its ability to furnish the interiors of a Georgian townhouse and present Fairfax House specifically as a home. The collection as a whole effectively illustrates urban domestic life within the context of York as a centre for polite society, and is instrumental in understanding the social and domestic arrangements for a family such as the Fairfaxes based in York for the winter season. As such it both forms a key part of York’s historical resources, and is a national resource for the interpretation of urban domestic life.

The partnership

The partnership

This studentship is a unique and exciting opportunity for a budding scholar to make a significant contribution to our understanding of the history of the architecture, interior decoration and/or contents of Fairfax House. Your main task will be to research the York City Archives for documents relating to Fairfax House, its history, its placement within the urban infrastructure and archival evidence relating to the past furnishings and purposes of its rooms. So your project will be at the forefront of discovery and will directly impact curatorial displays in Fairfax House as a museum space and historic interior. You will work very closely with staff at the York City Archives,  Fairfax House and your supervisor at the History of Art Department on your project. You will have a zest for the adventure of novel research as well as excellent time-management and communicative skills. 





In order to be eligible to apply for this studentship, applicants must already be holding an offer of a place on the MA in History of Art, or a related pathway degree. Studentship applications are welcomed from all offer holders, regardless of their status (Home, EU or Overseas).  Please see our general guidance.

If you are yet to submit an application for MA study with us but hope to apply for a partnership studentship, please e-mail us immediately at histart-pg-admission​ for individual guidance. You will need to submit your application for an MA place as a matter of urgency.

How to apply 

Submit an enthusiastic personal statement of no more than 500 words which explains your interest in, and suitability for, this partnership opportunity. In particular, we will be looking for:

  • your awareness of, interest in and commitment to the period / theme / collection(s) of the partner institution
  • any relevant skills, knowledge and/or experience
  • how you see the award fitting in with and facilitating your career plans

Remember to consult the information on this webpage, and the partner institution's own website, before you apply.

Please email your personal statement to by 12 noon (BST) on Monday 6 June 2016.


Shortlisted applicants will be invited for interview, scheduled on Friday 24 June 2016. Please ensure your availability for travel and attendance before submitting an application. If you are not in the UK on the interview date it may be possible to arrange interview by skype; please email us ( for guidance.