Lecturers

Siân Walters, MA (Cantab)

SIan portrait

Siân Walters lectures for the National Gallery, NADFAS and Surrey University, as well as many art societies and colleges in and around London. Having graduated from Cambridge University, Siân spent four years in Italy and France where she worked for the Peggy Guggenheim Museum and the eminent scholar H.C. Robbins Landon. As well as running Art History in Focus, she spends much of the year lecturing abroad, particularly in Italy and Spain, and is well known for her enthusiastic, structured yet informal approach. Siân is delighted to have been nominated by an independent travel company in 2008 and 2009 for the Daily Telegraph’s Best Guide Award. In 2016 she was named a Highly Commended finalist in the Wanderlust World’s Best Guide Awards.

Siân’s specialist areas are 15th and 16th century Italian painting, Spanish Art and Architecture, and the relationship between Dance and Art (she is an honorary advisor to the Nonsuch Historical Dance Society). She has given many lectures on this subject for the National Gallery, including a number of events in conjunction with the gallery's “Renaissance Siena”, “Sacred Made Real”, and “Canaletto and his Rivals” exhibitions. A special lecture in conjunction with the recent Leonardo da Vinci exhibition was also recently commissioned by the gallery, as one of a small number of Friday evening talks given talks by Leonardo specialists and academics.

In 2013 Siân was asked to represent the National Gallery at the international Hay Festival where she gave a number of presentations on the gallery’s recent Titian acquisitions

Siân studied music as well as art history: she was awarded a choral exhibition at Cambridge University and a 1st for her dissertation on the paintings of the composer Arnold Schoenberg, and has appeared in a film about Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. She often arranges art tours which have a musical element, such as an evening at the opera, tickets to a concert or a visit focusing on the musical heritage of a city. In 2007 Sian was invited to give the prestigious annual T Rowland Hughes Lecture at the University of Wales, which in recent years has been given by leading figures in the art world such as Neil Macgregor, Sir Roy Strong and Sir Kyffin Williams.

For a list of sample lecture titles, study days and courses, please click here.

Check the National Gallery website and your local NADFAS branch for up-and-coming public lectures by Siân.

Click here to listen to Siân interviewed about angels in art for the National Gallery podcast

Click here to see Siân leading a tour on the new National Gallery website

Guest Lecturers

Art History in Focus also draws on the knowledge and expertise of a number of distinguished guest and visiting lecturers, as well as curators and academics who often join us for study days and tours. Here are a few of the lecturers who have worked with us recently or who will be doing so soon:

Jacqui Ansell

Jacqui Ansell studied at the Courtauld Institute, specialising in the history of costume. Since 1992 Jacqui has used this wider knowledge of cultural history to tutor and write for the Open University and she also lectures for the National Gallery and Christie’s, tutoring undergraduates in the fine and decorative arts.

Dr Xavier Bray

Dr. Xavier Bray was Assistant Curator of 17th and 18th Century European paintings at the National Gallery, chief curator at the Dulwich Picture Gallery and is now the director of the Wallace Collection. In 2009 he curated the exhibition The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture 1600-1700 which received unanimous praise for its profound and sensitive examination of a subject which was previously unfamiliar to British audiences.

Raymond Chai

Raymond Chai is an eminent ballet master and choreographer. He has been guest teacher for many professional companies including Matthew Bourne's New Adventures, Richard Alston Dance Company, English National Ballet and Rambert Dance Company. He is Ballet Lecturer for the London Contemporary Dance School and Ballet Master for Ballet Black.

Martin Clayton

Martin Clayton is Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Royal Collection, and curator of 'Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist' which took place at the Queen's Gallery in 2012

Sarah Dunant

Sarah Dunant is a writer, broadcaster and critic. She has written twelve novels, four of which have been short listed for awards, three screen plays and edited two books of essays. Her most recent novels, set within the Italian Renaissance, weave cutting edge historical scholarship into fast moving popular fiction. They have been best sellers in Britain and America and have been translated into thirty languages

Andrew Graham Dixon

Andrew Graham-Dixon is one of the leading art critics and presenters of arts television in the English-speaking world. He has presented numerous landmark series on art for the BBC, including the acclaimed A History of British Art, Renaissance and Art of Eternity, as well as numerous individual documentaries on art and artists. For more than twenty years he has published a weekly column on art, first in the Independent and, more recently, in the Sunday Telegraph. He has also written a number of acclaimed books, on subjects ranging from medieval painting and sculpture to the art of the present.

Dr Andrew Duncan

Andrew Duncan graduated with a PhD in history from Oxford University and has for many years worked as an independent historian and guide. He has written a number of London guidebooks, amongst other publications, and leads regular walking tours in the capital as well as further afield. An expert on the cities of Verona and Bologna, Andrew has tailor-made a number of city and country walks for Art History in Focus Tours.

Livia Galante

Livia obtained a degree in Archaeology at the University of Rome "La Sapienza," and has a Master's degree in the History and Conservation of Cultural Heritage. Her main field of interest is ancient Roman topography and early Christian architecture; however, she is an accomplished scholar whose teaching ability extends to the Renaissance and Baroque Rome. As a native Roman, Livia is very enthusiastic in sharing the deep love and knowledge she has for her hometown with guests coming from abroad

Professor Deborah Howard

Deborah Howard is Professor of Architectural History in the Faculty of Architecture and a Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge. Her principal research interests are the art and architecture of Venice and the Veneto; the relationship between Italy and the Eastern Mediterranean, and music and architecture in the Renaissance. A recent examination of this subject, Sound and Space in Renaissance Venice: Architecture, Music, Acoustics, was published by Yale University Press in 2009. Deborah was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2010.

Suzannah Lipscomb

Dr Suzannah Lipscomb is a historian, author, broadcaster and award-winning academic. She is Senior Lecturer and Convenor for History at New College of the Humanities

Helen Little

Helen is the Assistant Curator of Modern British Art at Tate Britain and has worked on a number of exhibitions including Picasso and Modern British Art.

Leslie Miller

Lesley Miller is Senior Curator of Textiles and Fashion at the V&A and Professor of Dress and Textile History at the University of Glasgow. She has led the curatorial team on the reinterpretation of the V&A's Europe 1600-1815 Galleries at the museum over the last five years. She has taught History of Design for over 20 years, specialising in tradition and innovation in the European fashion and textiles trades of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Jane da Mosto

Jane is an environmental scientist and international consultant on sustainable development. Since 2001, she has been working with Venice in Peril and Cambridge University to develop an independent platform for examining scientific information concerning the current state and future of Venice. In 2004 she published The Science of Saving Venice

Dr Cetty Muscolini

Dr Muscolini is an eminent art historian and author, and the Director of the Museo Nazionale di Ravenna.

Dr Duncan Philips

Dr Duncan Philips is a Chartered Building Surveyor and one of the leading experts in the field of building conservation with over 30 years experience. He is author of 'The Essential Guide to Buying and Owning a Listed Building' and lectures regularly on building conservation and architectural history topics. He is a member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation and is on the RICS Building Conservation Board

Leslie Primo

Leslie Primo studied at Birkbeck College and is a highly popular lecturer and tutor at the National Gallery, Reading University, the National Portrait Gallery and the City Literary and Bishopsgate Institutes in London, specialising in early Medieval and Renaissance art.

Sarah Quill

Sarah Quill, a trustee of the Venice in Peril Fund, has worked for many years in Venice, building up a photographic record of the city’s architecture, sculpture and daily life. Her book Ruskin’s Venice: The Stones Revisited (2000) was re-published in a new edition in 2015

Guy Rooker

Guy Rooker is an orthopaedic surgeon and well-known Nadfas lecturer with a special interest in the relationship between art and anatomy, and the remarkable contribution made to our understanding of the subject by Leonardo da Vinci.

Patrick O'Sullivan

Patrick O'Sullivan is Head of Art Handling at the National Gallery, where he has worked since 2005.

Dr Jennifer Sliwka

Lecturer and Senior Research Fellow at King's College London, Dr Sliwka was formerly the Ahmanson Curator at the National Gallery. Her recent exhibitions have included Monochrome: Painting in Black and White and Visions of Paradise which featured new research on Botticini's Palmieri altarpiece and other paintings made for the Florentine church of San Pier Maggiore in Florence.

David Wertheim

David Wertheim is one of the world's leading experts on Japanese prints, and director of the Japanese Gallery in London.

Colin Wiggins

An art historian and artist, Colin was Head of Education at the National Gallery for many years and then Special Projects Curator, inviting leading contemporary artists such as Peter Blake, Paula Rego, Anthony Caro and Bridget Riley to collaborate with the gallery and take up residencies at the museum. He has curated exhibitions by these and many other artists and is currently working on a project with Paula Rego. Colin is also a practicing printmaker, with work in various collections including the Los Angeles County Museum and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Thank you warmly for coming to Bangor, and for delivering a brilliant lecture. It has been very enthusiastically received here, as I know you'll have appreciated from the audience's reaction, and it rightly takes its place in a long line of distinguished T. Rowland Hughes lectures.”

Dr David Roberts, Bangor University

Read more testimonials and comments

Become a Friend of AHF

Enjoy a wide range of exclusive benefits including prize draws, special events and priority booking

More Info

Loyalty Scheme

Enjoy a gift selection of fine wines for every 4 tours you book with us

More Info

ahf on facebook

Discuss AHF events online and get to know other members

More Info