My role involves working across the Collection, assisting period curators with research, including enquiries and potential acquisitions. I organise displays and give public tours and talks. Since joining the Gallery I have worked with the 18th, 19th and 20th century collections, curating displays on subjects as diverse as the portrait drawings of Sir Francis Chantrey, Queen Victoria’s children and the publication of D.H.Lawrence’s novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover. In 2010, my focus shifted to the Contemporary collection, where I worked on a number of Gallery commissions including Shami Chakrabarti by Gillian Wearing and James Lovelock by Michael Gaskell, and installations such as Noble and Webster’s taxidermy portrait of Isabella Blow.
I studied History of Art at the University of Bristol and before my appointment as Assistant Curator at the National Portrait Gallery in 2005 I worked as museum assistant at the Wallace Collection and documentation officer at the Holburne Museum in Bath. In 2007, whilst working at the Gallery, I undertook a part-time masters degree in English Literature: Life-Writing at King’s College, focussing on the relationship between forms of biography/autobiography and portraiture.
I continue to be fascinated between the relationship between written life-stories and visual portraits. Recent projects include researching the history of some of the Gallery’s commissioned portraits, using the artists’ sketchbooks and written accounts of the making of a portrait. I am currently researching for a forthcoming exhibition of portraits by Dame Laura Knight, which opens in 2013, and drawing on Knight’s own writing in two autobiographies.