My mother was a painter. In my teens I was mentored, like the young Francis Bacon, by the painter Roy de Maistre. Studied at the Central School of Art. Degree in Philosophy. Employed when young as a junior curator for ten years at the British Museum (Departments of Prints & Drawings and Oriental Antiquities), where I could handle and learn from masterpieces of western and eastern art. Retired as an analyst & policy advisor from the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office.

My output is both religious (various church commissions) and secular - though the secular side stems from a catholic consciousness. The paintings often reflect interest in the relationship between the human and non-human orders (I’m a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London). The encyclical Laudato Si has been especially fruitful for me. Although for artistic purposes I take a sustained interest in the empirical world, my real focus is on the world of the spirit. I want my pictures to reach those aspects of our experience which are not really amenable to language or, indeed, to music. From one perspective they are naturalistic, but from another they are not; they are metaphors, reflecting some drama or situation at a spiritual level. Fuseli’s quip - ‘hang nature, she puts me out!’ - comes to mind.

It has taken me many years to reconcile in painting two aspects of my nature: one a vivid - perhaps over-vivid - imagination; the other highly analytical, critical. Gradually I’ve evolved a way of painting in which these aspects are reconciled and complement each other (rather than glare at each other across an abyss!). The paintings are generally large, in oil on canvas or wood.

I’m particularly interested in English painting of the late 18th and early 19th centuries (Romney, Reynolds, Fuseli, Stubbs, et al), French Ancien Regime painting plus Ingres and Seurat, the American luminists, Spanish 17th century painting and late medieval North European painting. I also have an interest in icons produced in the wake of Patriarch Nikon’s 17th century reforms - and admiration for Chinese landscape art of the late Tang, Sung and Yuan dynasties, plus aspects of Tibetan and Japanese religious art. Whilst I naturally admire certain 20th & 21st century masters, I strongly recommend all figurative artists young or old to scrutinise the extraordinary art of the Chauvet caves. Much can be learned from it: its vitality, largeness of form, vividness of observation - so ancient and shrouded in mystery. It is here, it seems to me, that the grand European tradition has its roots.

An elderly priest, sadly no longer with us, used to say to me: ‘whatever you do, do it for the glory of God’. A sound maxim for our conduct in both art and life.

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