Frances has a joint post with the University of Edinburgh and the National Galleries of Scotland. She has curated numerous international exhibitions and her main area of specialism is French and Scottish nineteenth-century art, with an emphasis on collecting, the art market, national identity, cultural revival and artistic networks.
Frances is Chair of the Association for Art History and Senior Trustee of the Burrell Collection in Glasgow. She is on the Board of the International Art Market Studies Association (TIAMSA) and is patron of the Paisley Museum Reimagined cultural renovation project. She is the 2022 Van Gogh Museum Visiting Fellow and ison the advisory Board of the Van Gogh Worldwide project, a digital platform for all works by Vincent Van Gogh. She is also a Group Leader for Art UK and is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Scottish Society for Art History.
She began her career working for Sotheby's auctioneers and, briefly, as an arts journalist. She gained her PhD at the University of Edinburgh in 1994 and has taught at the universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow and at Edinburgh College of Art. She worked in the curatorial department at Tate Britain before joining the National Galleries of Scotland in 2001. She was appointed to her current post in 2005.
Frances is curating the National Galleries of Scotland's main summer exhibition,A Taste for Impressionism: Modern French Art from Millet to Matisse which opens at the Royal Scottish Academy on 30 July 2022. The accompanying book, The Impressionist Era: The Story of Scotland's French Masterpieces was published in October 2021.
Frances is also co-author (with Michael Clarke) of a major critical catalogue,French Paintings 1500-1900 in the National Galleries of Scotland, due for publication in Autumn 2022.
Publications and exhibitions
Frances is the author of Van Gogh's Twin: the Scottish Art Dealer Alexander Reid (1854-1928) (2010), Impressionism and Scotland (2008) and Monet and French Landscape: Vétheuil and Normandy (2006). More recently she produced two edited publications: The Idea of North: Myth-Making and Identities (with Marja Lahelma), 2019, and Nordic Artists' Colonies 1870-1920, a special edition of Art in Translation (Taylor & Francis), 2 vols, June and December 2017.
Frances has curated several major international exhibitions, most recently Pin-Ups: Toulouse-Lautrec and the Art of Celebrity (National Galleries of Scotland, 2018-19). Others include Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh: Impressions of Landscape (Taft Museum, Cincinnati, the National Galleries of Scotland and the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, 2016-17); Celts: Art and Identity (British Museum and National Museums of Scotland, 2015-16 - catalogue shortlisted for the Current Archaeology Book of the Year 2017); American Impressionism: A New Vision 1880-1900 (Giverny, Edinburgh, Madrid 2014-2015), which received $600,000 in sponsorship from the Terra Foundation for American Art; Van Gogh to Kandinsky: Symbolist Landscape in Europe 1880-1910 (Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Helsinki 2012-13); Impressionism and Scotland (2008); Van Gogh and Britain: Pioneer Collectors (2006); Gauguin's Vision (2005); Patrick Geddes: the French Connection (2004).
French, British nineteenth-century art; Collecting and Art Market; Networks and Artists' Colonies; Celtic Revival and northern identity; American Gilded Age.
History of Art Collecting and Art Market Research Cluster
Frances is leader of the History of Art Collecting and Art Market Research Cluster.