A quick stab at a list of the most important published scholarly papers and books, which would aid in producing a timeline history of visual arts production in Birmingham and the Black Country. In approximate chronological order…

Late 18th century:

Hargraves, Matthew (2006). Candidates for Fame: The Society of Artists of Great Britain, 1760-1791. Yale University Press.

Heleniak, Kathryn Moore (1982).
“John Gibbons and William Mulready: The Relationship between a Patron and a Painter”.
The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 124, No. 948 (Mar., 1982), pages 136-141.

John Gibbons (1777-1851) was a Birmingham ironmaster who created an extensive collection of British art, and was friendly with many local artists as part of a “sketching club with other collectors and painters”

Robinson, Eric (1953).
“Matthew Boulton, patron of the arts”.
Annals of Science, Vol. 9, Issue 4, December 1953, pages 368-376.

Fraser, David (1990). “Joseph Wright of Derby and the Lunar Society: an essay on the artist’s connections with science and industry'” — in Egerton, Judy (Ed.), Wright of Derby (1990).

Early 19th century:

Fawcett, Trevor (1974). The Rise of English Provincial Art: artist, patrons and institutions outside London, 1800-1830. Oxford Studies in the History of Art and Architecture, Oxford University Press.

Author? (2009). Sun, Wind, and Rain: The Art of David Cox (1783-1859). Forthcoming exhibition catalogue.

Robinson, Leonard (2007). William Etty: The Life and Art. McFarland & Co.

Chapter 18 has a short account of the history of: Birmingham Academy of Arts (1814-) / Birmingham Society of Arts (1821-) / Birmingham Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts (1828-, “for the encouragement of artists resident within 30 miles of Birmingham”).

Dent, Robert (1918). The Society of Arts and The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists: A Century of Local Art History, 1812—1912. Publisher unknown.

Morris, Sidney (1974). Catalogue of Birmingham & West Midlands Painters of the Nineteenth Century. (Self-published).

Photography in the 19th century:

Wigh, Leif, et al. (1998). Oscar Gustave Rejlander: 1813(?)-1875. Moderna Museets Utstallningskatalog.

Founding member of the Birmingham Photographic Society. Some of the earlier books on Rejlander are said to be poorly researched.

Harker, Margaret (1988). Henry Peach Robinson: Master of Photographic Art, 1830-1901. Wiley.

Important later member of the Birmingham Photographic Society.

James, Peter (2006). A Record of England: Sir Benjamin Stone & The National Photographic Record Association 1897-1910. Dewi Lewis Publishing and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

A major Birmingham photographer, and his famous Warwickshire Photographic Survey and National Photographic Record Association.

James, Peter, et al. (1998). Coming to Light: Birmingham’s Photographic Collections. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

Substantial scholarly survey that details the history of photography in Birmingham, with an emphasis on art and documentary photography, rather than on commercial portrait studios. Has an account of the history of the Birmingham Photographic Society, among others.

Victorian and Edwardian art circles, societies:

Hill, Joseph (1897). The Artists and Art Workers of Birmingham. Midland Arts Club.

Hill, Joseph (1928) The History of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists. Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.

Dent, Robert (1918). The Society of Arts and The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists: A Century of Local Art History, 1812—1912. Publisher unknown.

Morris, Sidney (1974). Catalogue of Birmingham & West Midlands Painters of the Nineteenth Century. (Self-published).

Gere, Charlotte (1975). The Earthly Paradise: F. Cayley Robinson and the Painters of the Birmingham Group. Exhibition catalogue, The Fine Art Society.

Author? (1977). Frederick Cayley Robinson A.R.A., 1862-1927. Exhibition catalogue, The Fine Art Society.

Author? (1980). Joseph Southall 1861-1944, Artist-Craftsman. Exhibition catalogue, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

+ the mass of books and papers on Edward Burne-Jones.

+ the Public Catalogue Foundation catalogues for Birmingham and Staffordshire. (These cover oil/acrylic paintings only).

Art schools:

Swift, John (1988).
“Birmingham and its Art School: Changing Views, 1800-1921”.
International Journal of Art & Design Education, 7 (1) , pages 5—29.

Swift, John (1999).
“Women and Art Education at Birmingham’s Art Schools, 1880-1920: Social Class, Opportunity and Aspiration”.
International Journal of Art & Design Education, 18 (3) , pages 317—326.

Wallis, Lawrence William (1963). Leonard Jay, Master Printer-craftsman, First Head of the Birmingham School of Printing, 1925-53: An Appraisal. Charles Skilton Ltd.

The Arts and Crafts Movement:

Crawford, Alan. (1984). By Hammer and Hand: the Arts and Crafts Movement in Birmingham. Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery.

164 pages, a book rather than a catalogue.

Gammage, M.T. (1978).
“Art and Industry: the origins of the Birmingham school for jewellers and silversmiths”.
Journal of Educational Administration and History, 1978.

Pevsner, Nikolaus (1937). An Enquiry into Industrial Art in England. Cambridge University Press.

Pevsner used research he had done at Birmingham University, during 1934 and 1935.

+ the mass of books and papers on Edward Burne-Jones, Morris, and the Arts and Crafts Movement 1870-1914.

+ the Bromsgrove Guild of Applied Arts.

+ this could also reference the art glass of South Staffordshire, and the art ceramics of North Staffordshire.

Surrealism:

Levy, Silvano, et al. (2001). Surrealism in Birmingham, 1935-1954. Exhibition catalogue and book, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

Has scholarly essays and chronologies. Also information about the post-war Birmingham Artists’ Committee.

Levy, Silvano (2003). The Scandalous Eye: The Surrealism of Conroy Maddox. Liverpool University Press.

Remy, Michel (1990). Emmy Bridgwater. Paintings, Drawings, Collages. Exhibition catalogue, Blond Fine Art.

The late 20th century:

Author? (1998). Birmingham Arts Lab: The Phantom of Liberty. Exhibition catalogue, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

Of course, there will also be information widely-scattered in the many biographical dictionaries of British artists, the various magazines and newspapers that were produced over the centuries, and buried deep in archives.