About Jo Walton

At the age of five I decided to become an archaeologist – but later changed my
mind when I discovered how cold and wet it could be digging in the rain.

Luckily my parents loved visiting interesting places, so my childhood love of
history was enthusiastically (and much more comfortably) encouraged with
frequent trips to art galleries and museums. When I first had the chance to study
art history, as a sixth former, I found that I was meeting paintings and sculptures
that were already old friends – and I've continued to be intensely curious about
art and its histories ever since.

I read art history at Leicester University, then went on to do a post-graduate
diploma in Oxford, specialising in the art and architecture of fifteenth century
Italy. This was a wonderful opportunity to explore one of the most vibrant
and exciting periods in history – and to do so surrounded by the marvellous
collections of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum.

Jobs for art historians were thin on the ground in the early 1980s, so I went to
work in a bookshop. This turned into a happy and successful twenty-year career
in the book trade, eventually running a specialist art bookshop in London, and
working with the auctioneers, Christies. I also thoroughly enjoyed teaching adult
education classes in art history and, in 2000, I became a volunteer guide for Tate
Modern and Tate Britain.

Much of my work now is for NADFAS (the National Association of Decorative
and Fine Art Societies), but I also lecture for Dulwich Picture Gallery, The Art
Fund and for local art groups and societies. Through my links with Tate I've also lectured on several P&O cruise liners, discovering, rather to my surprise, that I
love being at sea in very large ships.

I really enjoy lecturing and introducing audiences to the periods, places and
artworks that I love. Travelling for NADFAS has introduced me to many areas of Britain that I didn't know, and it's also given me the chance to meet fascinating people and learn so much from their experiences and their responses to my talks.