The first painting that really stopped me in my tracks was Titian's Bacchus and Ariadne at London's National Gallery. I was a teenager – and the dramatic narrative, incredible technique and sheer energy just bowled me over. Ever since then it's been a non-stop love affair with art, old and new.
All of my work – across broadcasting, writing, curating and publishing – has been about communicating my knowledge and passion about the arts to the widest possible audiences. And having come to art relatively late, I know that an enthusiastic, open-minded, well-informed guide can be the key to open up the world of art to all of us – not just those few already ‘in the know’.
After gaining a First in History at Oxford University, I studied European modernism at the Courtauld Institute in London, going on to work at the Tate and Barbican art galleries. I then became a curator at the Courtauld and Hayward galleries, working on a range of exhibitions with artists from Quentin Blake to Antony Gormley. In 2008, I jumped sideways into the world of publishing, taking up the role of Commissioning Editor for art books at Thames & Hudson, where I produced monographs on contemporary artists, survey and art history books, enjoying occasional forays into fashion, photography and the decorative arts. After a brief stint at Phaidon Press, I worked at Tate Publishing, commissioning and overseeing the gallery's art and children's books, before running independent art publisher HENI.
I have also spent the last decade or so writing books myself, including a major monograph on Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry (soon to go into its third edition), and a guide for children on the joys of contemporary art, now available in 11 editions from Catalan to Korean. And in recent years I've loved contributing to, and presenting, a range of programmes for BBC TV and radio, the Art Fund, Christie's, Bloomberg TV and more – communicating my love of art to even wider audiences.
I regularly give talks and lead tours, including for Artangel, Bloomberg Space, Christie's Education, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Courtauld Institute, University College London, the London College of Fashion, and the art and literary festivals at Hay, Cheltenham, Cambridge and Chatsworth. In 2015,
I joined the John Hall Venice Course as a tutor, giving lectures on the Venice biennale, the contemporary art world, and the life, work and collection of Peggy Guggenheim. A passionate advocate for art history in all its forms, I am a Trustee of the UK Association for Art History.
Outside work and beyond my love of art and books, I enjoy poetry and cinema (all sorts), country walks and wild swimming (all weathers), baking, quilting and gardening (all entirely 'experimental').