What is the best part of your job?
All of it! I love chatting to our visitors and volunteers and I love uncovering and sharing the fascinating stories of the people who lived and worked at Upton in the past.
What attracted you to Upton?
I was so excited by the prospect of managing the historic mansion and particularly the fabulous art collection. It was the art really that drew me here as that’s my passion. It still is the reason I get out of bed in the morning!
What do you see in the Squash Court Gallery in 5 years time?
I have a vision where our Squash Court Gallery becomes a go to destination for art lovers across the region because we’ll be putting on a programme of interesting, eye-catching and exceptionally high quality exhibitions from world leading artists. We’ll be showcasing the very best of contemporary art and breathing new life into our historic collection at the same time.
How do you prioritise which painting to conserve next?
We work with our conservators and paintings advisors to survey all our collections on the basis of need, assigning a priority code to each painting from 1-4 (4 being the most in need of immediate action). We then work through each of the priority 4 paintings, then the priority 3s etc., until we’ve completed all the necessary treatment. Conservation never stops though; in fact, everything we do from dusting to environmental control is all designed to ensure that we’re conserving and caring for our paintings ‘for ever, for everyone’ which is the National Trust’s mission.
What is your favorite painting and why?
I have a new favorite painting each day and they’re all so special that it’s difficult to choose just one but I consciously pick a work each year to get to know better and this year, I’m really drawn to ‘The Tired Traveler’ by Jan Steen which is in our Picture Gallery. It’s a really engaging painting of a man at a bar, flirting with a bar maid: it’s cheeky and slightly irreverent but beautifully painted.