As Curator of Seventeenth-century Portraits I am responsible for the acquisition, display and interpretation of portraits dating from this period. In addition my role involves providing advice to colleagues, members of the public and other institutions, and undertaking research both on the Gallery’s collection and on seventeenth-century British portraiture more generally. I have just curated a major exhibition on Henry, Prince of Wales (1594 – 1612), at the Gallery, and I am currently working on a catalogue raisonné of the works of Sir Peter Lely with Diana Dethloff.
I studied English at the University of Cambridge and History of Art at the Courtauld Institute. My studies were followed by a year at the Royal Collection, working on sixteenth and seventeenth-century portrait miniatures, and then three years at York City Art Gallery. I was appointed Curator of Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-century Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in 1995 and worked in that position until 2002, during which time I oversaw the installation of the new Tudor Gallery in the Gallery’s Ondaatje Wing, the refurbishment of the seventeenth-century galleries and of the displays at Montacute House in Somerset, and co-curated Painted Ladies: Women at the Court of Charles II. In 2002 I started work part-time as Seventeenth-century curator.
I am interested in early portrait miniatures, seventeenth-century workshop practice, the work of Sir Peter Lely and his studio, and art and collecting at the court of Henry, Prince of Wales. I am also planning to develop research on the art of the civil war period in England. Building on the work of the late Sir Oliver Millar and Diana Dethloff, I am researching and co-writing a catalogue raisonné of the works of Sir Peter Lely, to be published by Yale University Press. I am also currently working on a chapter on the Jacobean artist Robert Peake for Painting in Britain 1500 – 1630: Production, Influences and Patronage (ed. Tarnya Cooper et al., forthcoming) which has developed from the Making Art in Tudor Britain project at the National Portrait Gallery, and from work I undertook in connection with The Lost Prince exhibition.
The Lost Prince: The Life & Death of Henry Stuart, Catharine MacLeod with Timothy Wilks, Malcolm Smuts and Rab MacGibbon, National Portrait Gallery, London, 2012
Painted Ladies: Women at the Court of Charles II (National Portrait Gallery, 2001), with Julia Marciari Alexander; Politics, Transgression and Representation at the Court of Charles II (Yale Center for British Art and The Paul Mellon Centre for the Studies in British Art, 2007), also with Julia Marciari Alexander; two chapters on the portrait collection of Lord Lumley (with Tarnya Cooper and Margaret Zoller) in Art Collecting and Lineage in the Elizabethan Age: the Lumley Inventory and Pedigree,