Five Questions with... Holly Smith, Gallery Assistant

PM&Co: How did your interest in art begin?

 

HS: I have always had an interest in art. I think it has stemmed from my mum, who took myself and my siblings around country houses and art galleries from a young age.

 

PM&Co: What did you do before joining PM&Co?

 

HS: Before working at the gallery, I was working and studying in Leeds where I completed my BA in Art History. I then went on to doing my master’s in Art Law which has been a very interesting and different insight into the art world.

 

PM&Co: What do you like the most about our current exhibition?

 

HS: The story of Sarah Biffin is what captivates me about this exhibition. You don’t often come across such strong and inspirational female figures in the 18th/19th century. I think that everyone who has visited the exhibition is in awe of her talents.

 

PM&Co: Which artworks from the main collection are you drawn to the most?

 

HS: I have always been fascinated by Elizabethan Portraiture, including miniatures - I think it’s because of the history and symbolism which can be expressed through the sitter. We currently have a George Gower in our collection from 1573 which amazes me every time I look at it. A later artwork which I am drawn to as well is the Angelica Kauffmann, Portrait of Caterina Odescalchi (1783). What I find fascinating is that the sitter of an artwork always has a story to tell not matter who he or she is.

 

PM&Co: What have you been researching recently?

 

HS: I have been assisting our portrait miniature specialist, Emma Rutherford on researching some John Smart sketches. This has reignited my interest for this period and the British and East India Company – it has also been great to learn more about portrait miniatures and the artists who created these delicate and personal pieces of art.

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500 Years of British Art