The Ashmolean Museum taps Start Licensing as it looks to build its UK licensing programme

Published on: 20th February 2020

The Ashmolean Museum has tapped the award-winning licensing agency, Start Licensing, to represent the brand across all categories as it looks to build out an extensive licensing programme.

Based on Oxford and established in 1683, The Ashmolean is recognised both as the world’s first public museum and  the world’s first university museum. Over the course of its almost 350 year history, it has developed from a cabinet of curiosities into a university museum of art and archaeology adored throughout the world.

A favourite of the travel writer Bill Bryson, who has called it ‘just about the most beguiling museum there is,’ the Ashmolean is a celebrated treasure house with rich and diverse collections. One of its greatest strengths is that these collections encompass worldwide art and archaeology across millennia from prehistory to the present day.

It is the home of collections spanning Old Master drawings and musical instruments; Dutch Still-Life and continental silver; textiles, ceramics and paintings from the Islamic Middle East, China, Japan, South East Asia, India and the Himalayas.

Dec McCarthy, head of publishing and licensing at the Ashmolean Museum, said: “The Ashmolean is delighted to announce the appointment of Start Licensing as our exclusive agent, and hope that this will help to raise the awareness of the possible opportunities for licensing.

“Licensees working with the Ashmolean have unprecedented access to our curatorial departments, study rooms and collections, much of which is not on general public view. The Ashmolean’s licensing team can help licensees make full use of the resources available and work with licensees to develop product which is inspired by the Ashmolean and in turn will inspire consumers.

“We would also love to host product launches, photo shoots and staff training within the museum.”

Existing licensees of The Ashmolean include Woodmansterne Publications, PJ Studio Accessories, Flametree Publishing, and Fox & Chave. The greetings card company Woodmansterne even featured artwork from the Ashmolean in prime position on its tradeshow stand at the Spring Fair recently.

Ian Downes from Start Licensing Limited said: “We are delighted to be working with The Ashmolean Museum. It is a great time to work with a heritage brand and the Ashmolean has a real ‘can do’ attitude. We are looking forward to engaging with licensees and retailers to add momentum to the existing programme.

“We have identified a number of opportunities including working with retailers and brand owners to create capsule collections. We have developed some product concepts to inspire partners and would love to share these with potential partners.

“The Ashmolean Museum represents a great opportunity for licensees to work in an original way and to add value to their businesses. There is scope for licensees and retailers to identify specific design themes and build product ranges accordingly.

“The Ashmolean Museum is a fantastic creative resource and one that should inspire creative thinking.”

The Ashmolean Museum is situated in Oxford and attracts a broad base of visitors including a significant percentage from outside the UK including visitors from countries such as China and Japan. It also hosts a number of exhibitions each year. Next to be housed at the museum is Young Rembrandt, opening on February 27th, followed by Tokyo Art and Photography from July 16 2020.


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