Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton

Marjorie Allthorpe Guyton

Areas of Interest

Arts, Literature

Honorary Award

Honorary Doctor of the University, 2005


Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton trained as an art historian under Professor Peter Lasko at the University of East Anglia and became Assistant Keeper of Art, Norwich Castle Museum, working with Dr Miklos Rajnai on oeuvre catalogues of John Sell Cotman. After PhD research at the Courtauld Institute on Anglo/French interchange 1780-1830, she published A Happy Eye, a history of Norwich School of Art 1830-1982, in the context of the history of British art education. In 1981 she turned to working with contemporary art and was a selector for the Arts Council's British Art Show 1982/4 with artists Jon Thompson and Sandy Moffat. In 1992 she was appointed editor of Artscribe International and relaunched the magazine. Her many essays include Richard Deacon, Whitechapel 1989, Anish Kapoor, Venice Biennale 1990, Helen Chadwick, Serpentine Gallery 1994. She has been external examiner for the City University, London and Goldsmiths' College, University of London and a Member of Goldsmiths' Council 2000? 2006. Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton was National Director of Visual Arts, Arts Council England 1993-2006.

Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the University in 2005 for services to British Artists.

Marjorie has been President AICAUK (International Association of Art Critics) since 2009, an External Examiner, MA Fine Art Painting, Slade School of Fine Art, London since 2010, and a Trustee of City and Guilds of London Art School since 2011.


"The Senate of Anglia Polytechnic University has great pleasure in recommending the award of the degree of Honorary Doctor of the University to Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton, BA, AMA, FRSA, PhD, Director of Visual Arts (Arts Council of Great Britain), university teacher, art consultant, author, editor, nurturer, encourager, animator and art enthusiast extra-ordinaire. Today, we honour Marjorie for her great commitment to artists and the whole spectrum of the world of art, its teaching, its appreciation its public promotion and its overall enrichment of the life of the nation and especially for her association with Norwich School of Art and Design, over the past twenty five years.

Marjorie attended school at Blyth Girls' School in Norwich and went on to the University of East Anglia where she earned a BA Hons degree in Fine Art, specializing in American and European art and architecture from the 18th to 20th centuries. She subsequently gained a Leverhulme Scholarship and was later successful in the Museums Association Diploma, which involved wide-ranging curatorial skills from the management of art collections and institutions to conservation, exhibition organization, display and divers scholarly activities. She later undertook research for a PhD at the Courtald Institute (University of London) where her thesis was entitled the British Critical Response to French Art 1780-1830. It was then, in 1982, that she decided upon a career as a critic and curator of contemporary art.

In her curatorial adventures, Marjorie was for ten years the Assistant Keeper at Norwich Castle Museum in Norfolk. Here, she undertook extensive research on the collection of Norwich School of Art, publishing oeuvres catalogues, arranging loan exhibitions using funds raised from the Arts Council and charities like the Marc Fitch Fund and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and was also responsible for the conservation, re-housing and display of the major collection of over one hundred civic portraits dating from the early 17th century. She was Selector for the two-year Arts Council British Art Show 1982-84; served as Curator for Vanitas, a multi-site Triennial Festival Exhibition for Norwich School of Art; served as Curator of A Happy Eye (A History of Norwich School of Art 1837-1982) set in the context of an art exhibition and was Purchaser for the Arts Council 1993 Collection.

Marjorie's publications are prodigious. Newly appointed as Editor, she undertook the re-launch of a totally transformed Artscribe in 1991, contributing various editorials, reviews and features on such artists as Damien Hirst, Theodore Gericault, Anish Kapoor and Derek Jarman; she was UK Contributing Editor of Flash Art, Contributor to Art Forum and featured in the national press (The Independent, The Guardian) was heard on radio and appeared on television; she has written various catalogue essays on contemporary artists, including: Anish Kapoor, Tarantara, Baltic 2001, Richard Deacon and many more, she has written a number of General Essays, including: Solid Foundations, Economic Impact of the Visual Arts, Edge 90, The Big Dipper and she has produced various Historical/Museum Publications, including, of course, the " of the show..." A Happy Eye, A School of Art in Norwich 1845-1982, various oeuvres catalogues, especially as co-author with Miklos Rajnai of John Sell Cotman, The Early Years, about the origins of NSAD and contributed a chapter on art and literary life to C Barringer's Nineteenth Century Norwich.

Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton was appointed Director of Visual Arts at the Arts Council of Great Britain in 1994. She has presided over a great renaissance in the international reputation of British artists and the development of the national infra-structure for their support. Her close association with the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich Castle Museum, the Norwich and Norfolk Contemporary Arts Society and Norwich School of Art and Design has been of immense benefit to the practice and appreciation of contemporary art in East Anglia.

It is for these reasons, therefore, that I invite you, Vice-Chancellor, to confer on Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton, BA, AMA, FRSA, PhD the degree of Honorary Doctor of the University."