John Sheeran is an experienced and popular art lecturer who is much admired for the way he brings the Old and Modern Masters to life. John worked as a museum curator during the 1980s, including seven years as Curator of Dulwich Picture Gallery, London. At Dulwich, John was responsible for a world-famous collection of Old Master paintings and a Sir John Soane architectural masterpiece. He also established the gallery's first exhibition and education programmes.
In 1990, John left museums to set up the art consultancy Sheeran Lock with his wife Imogen, an expert in arts and media relations. Over the next 20 years, they organised national and international art exhibitions and education projects, often working with governments and businesses. In 1998, John curated the official 50th Birthday Exhibition of The Prince of Wales at Hampton Court Palace, which featured the Prince’s private art collection from his country home, Highgrove. In 2000, he curated Our World in the Year 2000: The United Nations Millennium Exhibition. This was held at UN Headquarters in New York and showed paintings by 250 artists from 50 countries. It was opened by UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.
In 2002, John was commissioned by the President of Nigeria to curate a special exhibition of contemporary Nigerian art for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Abuja, Nigeria. This was attended by the Queen and several world leaders, and included a ground-breaking art education project for young people from all regions of Nigeria. The success of the latter encouraged John and Imogen to experiment with art education projects for disadvantaged young people in the UK. A favourite was Talking Pictures, in which inner-city teenagers were guided around their city art museums and shown how relevant great artworks can be to their own lives, concerns and feelings. The project took place over two years in Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Dublin, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Southampton. During his time at Sheeran Lock, John also ran a consultancy service for professional artists, advising many painters, sculptors and printmakers on their career development.
In 2008, John started to give art lectures in Suffolk, where he lives. His informative talks are delivered in a relaxed and engaging manner and attract a loyal audience from far afield. The first series, which took place in Framlingham from 2008-11, was called Discover the Great Painters. It featured 80 talks on John's favourite European artists from the 13th century to the present. The series proved so popular that he repeated it in four Suffolk towns from 2011-13. In 2014, John gave his first Masterpiece series of talks, each of which covered the great masterpieces of a particular historical period, starting with the Italian Renaissance and ending with the 20th century. In 2015, John gave a very popular series of lectures called Great Cities of Art. Each considered in depth John’s favourite paintings, sculpture and architecture in a major Western European city. In 2016, he gave his second Masterpiece series of talks, in which he tackled great art thematically, from portraiture and still life to landscape and narrative. For 2017, he is is continuing his Masterpiece series, featuring the great works of individual artists.
John and Imogen have two sons. Matthew is a classical composer specialising in film and TV music. Ed is a singer-songwriter, signed to Asylum / Atlantic Records. Imogen designs and makes jewellery which she sells at John's talks and also online at www.imogensheeran.com.
Photo courtesy of Vitty Robinson