The Assumption of Mary, Titian

We’ve been running our Trenchard Cox Art History Abroad Scholarship for over 20 years, continuing our mission to inspire a lifelong love of learning about subjects from art and architecture to history, literature and music.

Here we catch up with one of our former winners, Annabel Glover (née Emmison) to find out what her prize-winning essays were about, the highlights from her 6-week course in Italy (18 years later!) and to learn how her trip inspired her in later life.

The Scholarship

In 2002, Annabel Emmison was planning her gap year when she read about Art History Abroad’s courses for students discovering the art, culture, history and cuisine of Italy – it sounded ideal. She then heard about our scholarship in association with NADFAS (now The Arts Society), which asks for two essays; one on a piece of art you love, and one on a piece you loathe. Annabel got to work, writing about  ‘Antonio Canova’s sculpture, ‘Amore and Psyche’ and Tracey Emin’s ‘My Bed’.  A few weeks later she heard to her amazement that she had won!

Translucent marble statue of Cupid kissing Psyche

Photo: Amore and Psyche, Antonio Canova, 1793, by Kimberley Vardeman,  licensed under CC BY 2.O

Highlights from Italy

Deciding to use the prize towards an AHA Spring gap year course, Annabel headed off that January for six glorious weeks in Italy. Looking back (17 years!) she remembers picnicking on the Palatine Hill whilst reading Keats and Byron, all the while wearing big coats, scarves and sunglasses in the bright winter sun.

Staying in a hotel in the Piazza della Rotonda, Rome, she and a friend used to open the shutters and greet the day with “Morning, the Pantheon”, which was directly opposite, which felt incredibly special. In Florence, the hotel had a beautiful loggia which had featured in the film ‘Tea with Mussolini’ so they felt very sophisticated on that particular sun-drenched balcony, prosecco glasses in hand. On her return she even wrote a piece for the NADFAS (now The Arts Society) review about her Italian odyssey.

What Annabel did next …

Inspired by the course, Annabel went on to study History of Art at Edinburgh University and then helped to recover stolen art for the Art Loss Register.  She then joined a fine art agent advising private clients on their art collections – although she didn’t expect to actually have to carry a £1 million painting around Mayfair! A move to North Yorkshire meant a change of direction and she joined Aysgarth School where she loved introducing Year 8 art scholars to Monet, Picasso and Titian (with memories of seeing his ‘Assumption of the Virgin’ at the Frari in Venice). Soon the Head of Art asked her to run lessons for Year 3 pupils in the Pre-Prep. She would teach them about a specific artist and then they would create their own collaborative art ‘in the style of’ Seurat, Warhol or Matisse. They even made a version of ‘Field’ by Antony Gormley.


Last year Annabel returned to London, since when she has worked as an Art Wizard for the brilliant start up ‘The Little Grand Tour’ introducing children to great art within galleries. We are so pleased to hear that Annabel’s scholarship helped inspire a lifelong love of art and that she has gone on to share that in her work with children.

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