This is five-day continuing professional development course for practising guides, conducted over five weeks in November and December 2017. The course will take place on these Fridays: 10th, 17th and 24th November, and 1st, 15th December (Please note that there will NOT be a session on the 8th December) 2017.

Interpreting British Art is a five-day course which will give you:

  • a comprehensive survey of British art from the medieval period to the present day
  • an understanding of some key debates which have surrounded British art
  • a suggested way of approaching the research and presentation of works in a tour
  • background to the displays and curatorial policies of important London galleries
  • optional practical exercises on researching and presenting works of art
  • aide memoires of key information

Prepared and presented by practising Blue Badge Guides Alan Read and Sarah Ciacci, and aimed at guides, the course is intended to give you a framework of the development of British art and practical guidance on how to tackle a tour for clients.

Using a chronological approach the course will take you through all the major phases and periods of art in Britain so you will see how artists and movements inter-relate.  You will then have a firm foundation from which to present important artists and works, whether in galleries or stately homes.


No detailed knowledge of British art is required though an enthusiasm and a willingness to give art a go are a must!  The course will be geared towards practising guides and is not intended to create art historians.


The format each day will be a morning of formal lectures followed by afternoon visits to a gallery with a combination of model presentations and practical exercises.  In these sessions you will be able to exchange ideas and practise talking about works in a small group.  There is no obligatory background reading but the final session will give everyone who wishes to the opportunity to present a single work.

There is no examination or minimal attendance.


Sarah Ciacci has a BA and MA in History of Art from UCL and worked in the art world for a few years before becoming a Blue Badge Guide, specialising in art. She works as a gallery educator at the NPG, Dulwich Picture Gallery and Jerwood, Hastings. She is adjunct faculty for Richmond University teaching history of art courses and tutors trainees at the National Gallery for the Blue Badge Course.

Alan Read has a master’s degree in History of Art from Birkbeck, has been a Blue Badge Guide since 2003 and a Tate guide for even longer.  He is a NADFAS lecturer and regularly lectures at the NPG and the Dulwich Picture Gallery.


All the morning lecture sessions will be at the British Guild of Tourist Guides, The Guild House, 52d Borough High Street, London, SE1 1XN.  Morning sessions will be from 10:00-12:30.

Afternoon sessions will be from 1:30-5:00 in a variety of galleries to include the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery and several visits to Tate Britain.


The course will take place on these Fridays: 10th, 17th and 24th November, and 1st, 15th December (Please note that there will NOT be a session on the 8th December) 2017.

PLACES AVAILABLE   32     (PLEASE NOTE: if we have fewer than 26 participants the course may not be able to run and you will be advised of this closer to the date)

COST: £280 per person (including booking fee. Once booked places are non refundable)


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