Frances has a joint post with the University of Edinburgh and the National Galleries of Scotland. She has curated numerous international exhibitions and published mainly on French and British (especially Scottish) nineteenth-century art - but more recently on Nordic and American 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, Senior Trustee of the Burrell Collection in Glasgow and sits on the Burrell Renaissance Board. She is on the Board of the International Art Market Studies Association and is organising the 2021 TIAMSA conference on Museums and the Art Market. She is also patron of the Paisley Museum Reimagined cultural renovation project. She is 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.
She is co-author (with Michael Clarke) of a major critical catalogue, French Paintings 1500-1900 in the National Galleries of Scotland, for publication in 2022.
She is also working on several exhibitions, includingA Taste for Impressionism: Masterpieces of French Art from Millet to Matisse (with the National Galleries of Scotland) and Degas and Britain (with Glasgow Museums).
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.