Libby Anson

Libby Anson is a writer, artist, creative and professional development coach and lecturer.

She studied Fine Art at the university of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (1980-84), before going on to undertake postgraduate Art Gallery & Museum Studies at Manchester University. She has since worked in the public and private gallery sectors, curating exhibitions and working as a gallery educationalist. From 1990 she has been a freelance art critic and a member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) since 1993; her writing has been published in a variety of national and international publications.

Libby co-authored the A-Z of Art and has written and contributed to a number of exhibition catalogues. She has edited art historical books, practical drawing guides and art education publications.

She has also been a fine art lecturer and creative professional development coach for over twenty years. She currently works at the Glasgow School of Art as Student Employability & Enterprise Manager, while maintaining her own writing and fine art practice.

Libby's practical work focuses on painting and drawing, having also specialised during her studies in art history and in printmaking - particularly fine etching. She continues her artistic practice which also includes performing and writing for theatre.

Her work as a critic followed on from her management at the end of the '80s of the commercial Creaser Gallery, Portobello, London, concentrating on contemporary abstract painting. Her written work has been published in Art Monthly, Contemporary Art Magazine, UNTITLED, Taïde (Hungary) and Material (Sweden) among other magazines, producing mainly exhibition reviews and artists' interviews.

Libby has been a lecturer in painting, life drawing, art criticism and professional development for various UK universities and has also worked as a life model. Her interest in the creative and professional development of artists, designers and writers has informed both her coaching, which she has delivered for various national arts and literary organizations as well as individual creatives, and also her current work with student employability and entrepreneurship.


  • A - Z of Art (1996)
  • The History of Art: The Essential Guide to Painting Through the Ages (2009) (contributing editor)
  • The Fundamentals of Drawing: A complete Professional Course for Artists (2009) (contributing editor)


  • Marty St James at the Redtory, (catalogue essay, Ghangzhou 2012)
  • Endri Kosturi (interview, http://vimeo.com/48984576; exhibition catalogue 2012)
  • Towards an Inspired Future: Creative Partnerships and Gallery Education (engage, 2006)
  • Encounters with Contemporary Art - schools, galleries and the curriculum (engage, 2004)
  • Andrzej Jackowski, (Galleries, 2003)
  • Trust in Us: Juan delGado and his Wellcome Trust Residency (a-n, 2003)
  • Marion Kalmus: 'Restoration Drama' (catalogue 2001)
  • Ann Hamilton; Anne Tallentire (Venice Biennale interviews, Make, 1999)
  • Trope - Image and Voice - Vit Hopley & Eve Lomax (PORTFOLIO, 1997)
  • Emily Patrick: Recent Paintings (catalogue essay, 1997)
  • Dorothy Cross (interview, Art Monthly, 1997)
  • New Territories (catalogue essay, 1996)
  • Marlene Dumas; Tracer; Orlan (Art Monthly, 1996)
  • Mona Hatoum; Tim Head; Tacita Dean; Division of Labor (New York) (Art Monthly, 1995)
  • John Baldessari (Material, 1995)
  • Ansel Krut (London Magazine, 1994)
  • Simon Laurie (catalogue essay, 1993)
  • Joan Eardley (Women's Art, 1992)
  • Sarah Raphael (Artists and Illustrators, 1991)
  • Silvia Ziranek; Keith Vaughan; Forces of Nature (Art International, 1991)
  • Elspeth Lamb; Sarah Raphael; Brian Chalkley; David Hiscock; Simon Costin; Sharon Matheson; Julie C. Major; Jo Ganter; Terry Shave; Roger Kite; Graca Coutinho; Alex Beleschenko; June Redfern; Pierre Cardin (CV Guide to the Arts, 1990)


Stephen Farthing

Stephen Farthing studied at St Martin's School of Art, London (1969-73) before taking his Masters Degree in Painting at the Royal College of Art, London (1973-76). Here he was awarded an Abbey Major Scholarship, taking him to The British School at Rome for a year from 1976. His teaching career began as a Lecturer in Painting at Canterbury College of Art (1977-79), after which he was a Tutor in painting at the Royal College of Art, London from 1980 to 1985. He went on to become Head of Painting (1985-87) and Head of Department of Fine Art (1987-89) at West Surrey College of Art and Design. From 1990 he was Ruskin Master at the Ruskin School of Fine Art and Professorial Fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford until 2000.

Stephen Farthing has exhibited extensively in one man shows since his first solo exhibition held at the Royal College of Art Gallery, London in 1977. His work, representing Britain, was shown at the Sao Paulo Biennale in 1989, leading to many further solo shows in the UK and abroad, including South America and Japan. He has also participated in many group exhibitions since 1975, including the John Moores Liverpool Exhibitions, in which he was a Prize Winner in 1976, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1991, 1993, 1997 and 1999. He was represented by The Edward Totah Gallery in London and New York until Edwards death in 1997.

Farthing was Artist in Residence at the Hayward Gallery, London in 1989. He was elected Royal Academician in 1998 and in 2000 was made an Emeritus Fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford. In 2000, Duckworth published, The Intelligent Persons Guide to Modern Art. He was executive director of the New York Academy of Art from September 2000 until August 2004 when he was appointed Rootstein Hopkins Research Chair of Drawing at the university of Arts London, which he has held until 2017. Stephen now lives and works in New York and London.

Recent Solo Exhibitions

  • National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto
  • Paco Imperial, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • National Museum of Art, Montevideo, Uruguay
  • The Minories Art Gallery, Colchester
  • Sloane Racotta Gallery, Mexico City
  • Museo de Monterrey, Monterrey
  • Museo Carrillo Gil, Mexico City
  • City Museum, Montevideo, Uruguay
  • Otemae Centre for the Arts, Otemae University, Kansai, Japan
  • Mary Ogilvy Gallery, St Anne's College, Oxford
  • Anne Berthoud Gallery, London
  • British Council, Kyoto, Japan
  • Brantwood House, Cumbria
  • Amagansett Applied Arts, New York

Recent Commissions

  • 2004 - Cleveland Browns NFL, Browns Town Mural for stadium, Cleveland, Ohio
  • 1988 - Portrait of the past and present historians Eric Hobsbawm, Rodney Hilton, Sir Keith Thomas, Sir John Elliot, Lawrence Stone and Jean Thirsk (commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, London). Topographical painting of Dorset (commissioned by the Dorchester Hospital Trust)


  • Art: The Whole Story
  • 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die: Revised and Updated
  • Derek Jarman's Sketchbooks
  • Renaissance Art Pop-up Book
  • Royal Academy Illustrated 2005: A selection from the 237th Summer Exhibition
  • 501 Great Artists: A Comprehensive Guide to the Giants of the Art World
  • The Sketchbooks of Jocelyn Herbert
  • The Sketchbooks of Nicholas Grimshaw
  • Art: From Cave Painting to Street Art- 40,000 Years of Creativity



Francesca Ramsay

Francesca Ramsay is a freelance art historian and writer.

After completing an undergraduate degree in History of Art and Classics at the University of Glasgow, Francesca trained at the Warburg Institute in London, where she achieved a Distinction. This multidisciplinary education in Renaissance art and culture provided her with excellent academic research and writing skills (as well as some pretty niche knowledge). Here, she specialised in works on paper, notably in drawings of the nude. This was followed by a stint at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, where she worked as a researcher and cataloguer in the Prints and Drawings Department, and later as an antique print and map specialist at Sanders of Oxford.

Since graduating, Francesca has always worked at the interface between art and the public, leaving her adept at transforming complex ideas and academic jargon into something both accessible and entertaining. A varied career has left her with experience in both the commercial and public sectors. She is a trained art valuer, cutting her teeth at Dawson’s Auctions in Maidenhead and London, and has also worked as Press Manager at Frieze London. Francesca has designed and led tours in world renowned institutions including the National Trust, The Royal Albert Hall and The Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. She also teaches art history, leading cultural groups around Italy with Art History Abroad.

Francesca lives and works in Bristol. She is currently working on a monograph on the queer British painter Wilfred Avery, as well as her first book, an artistic exploration into what it means to feel real, and why so many of us don’t.




Rated 4.7 out of 5 based on 102 reviews.

  • Angelica Boca

  • 26-Jul-2022

End of Module 5

The tutor Stephen Farthing is excellent. His feedback has been provided promptly and helpfully. Libby, his replacement for Module 3,...

  • J Cullum

  • 24-Jul-2022

An Enjoyable Experience

I have thoroughly enjoyed every module so far even those stretching which art I thought most appealing. Every module author...

  • Emma de Souza

  • 19-Jul-2022

Excellent art appreciation course

I’m really enjoying The Art Institute programme. I was interested in art before starting the course and now 10 modules...

  • Lee Sharon Kemp

  • 14-Jul-2022

Demanding but rewarding course

It is a demanding course which gets harder with each module but it does mean you have to keep going...

  • Jeremy Bettington

  • 09-Jul-2022

Great course so far!!

I am immensely enjoying the course so far. The materials are varied and interesting and I'm learning so much. My...

  • Sean McGranaghan

  • 05-Jul-2022

A well structured and balanced course

I was keen to improve my knowledge and understanding of art and tried a couple of free courses I found...

  • Lynn J

  • 14-Jun-2022


I am loving every aspect of this history of art course. Really well organised and I am learning so much....

  • FG

  • 20-May-2022

Highly recommend art course

This is an excellent course and I have learnt so much. It would be good preliminary training for anyone thinking...

  • David

  • 22-Apr-2022

A Really Excellent Course

Having reached and completed Module 10, I am looking forward to completing the diploma course and continuing on with further...

  • Ms Bury

  • 03-Apr-2022

Am enjoyable and challenging course

The course is really comprehensive and expertly covers the complex story of the history of art. The assignments are marked...

  • EP

  • 01-Apr-2022

The Art Institute's online Art Appreciation Course

I have just completed module 10 of twelve, and have thoroughly enjoyed it so far. What has been a revelation...

  • Pat Howarth

  • 27-Mar-2022

Modules are interesting

Modules are interesting, informative and well constructed. Assignments are challenging to achieve a distillation of the wider reading that is...

  • snorth

  • 23-Mar-2022

For anyone interested in Art History I…

For anyone interested in Art History I can highly recommend this course, the modules are easy to follow with 3...

  • F MAC

  • 18-Mar-2022

An excellent course

I enrolled on the Art Appreciation Course in October 2021. Five modules in , this has been a very positive...

  • J Cullum

  • 11-Mar-2022

Very interesting and informative…

Very interesting and informative modules building a coherent chronology of the development of western art. As a newcomer to this...