Frances has a joint post with the University of Edinburgh and the National Galleries of Scotland. Her specialist area is European and American nineteenth-century art, with an emphasis on collecting, the art market, national identity, cultural revival and artistic networks.
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 Senior Trustee of the Burrell Collection in Glasgow and sits on the Burrell Renaissance Board. She is a founding Board member of the International Art Market Studies Association and is on the steering committee for the European Revivals Research Network, initiated by the Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki, in 2009.
Frances is co-curator of Pin-Ups: Toulouse-Lautrec and the Art of Celebrity (National Galleries of Scotland, 2018-19).
She is also co-editor (with Marja Lahelma) of The Idea of North: Myth-Making and Identities, to be published by The Birch and the Star in 2018.
Publications and exhibitions
Frances is the author of Impressionism and Scotland (2008) and Van Gogh's Twin: the Scottish Art Dealer Alexander Reid (1854-1928) (2010) and editor of Nordic Artists' Colonies 1870-1920, a special edition of Art in Translation (Taylor & Francis), published in two volumes in June and December 2017.
She has curated several major international exhibitions. These 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 and British nineteenth century; Collecting and Art Market; Networks and Artists' Colonies; Celtic Revival and northern identity.