Art Drama Passion
art experiences – putting the story into art history

Hello, and thank you for visiting.

I’m Lynne Hanley an art historian on a mission to share as much about art and art history, in all its fabulous bonkersness, as I can with you. I want to make learning about art accessible, surprising and above all wildly compelling and enjoyable.

Every painting tells a story. Every painting has a story. For each of my individual art tours, I share the stories behind several carefully selected masterpieces so that you don’t just learn about art but enter a whole new world. Think intrigue, passion, murder, lust and some fantastic gossip; you could say that these aren’t art tours but full art experiences! Who knew art appreciation could be so entertaining?

I offer virtual art tours, delivered via Zoom to be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home, and when the galleries are open, gallery art tours at the National Gallery in London.

art historian says Hello Cupid!

Lynne was so knowledgeable and brought the paintings to life! I learned so much about the stories behind all the paintings and it was the best museum tour I have ever been on. Would love to go on this tour again and again.

BeeGallery Art Tour

Witty, charming, funny, accessible and thoroughly gorgeous... I hung upon every word. You are the perfect guide through London's galleries.

Sofie MasonGallery Art Tour
Art historian studying in the library at UCL

My personal art history

I have a BA and MA in art history, and (full disclosure!) I love reading art history papers so that I can weave all the best bits into fascinating narratives for you to enjoy. I do the text books so you don’t have to!

I vividly remember when this photo was taken. It was May 2017 in the library at UCL where I was forced to carry out my research on the floor because there were no available desks. I was probably reading about Cornelis van Haarlem and more specifically his painting illustrating the Cadmus myth in the National Gallery. It’s often commented that my my chosen topic was an ‘interesting’ choice for someone with a sunny disposition but it earned me a distinction so something worked. You can read my dissertation here if you fancy it. It should probably come with a long word warning!

If you’re interested in what prompted me to learn about art in the first place, there’s more…

Rodin’s The Thinker, Paris 1991

The Grand Tourist finds the National Gallery

My flirtation with art and art appreciation began in Paris in the early 1990’s. During the course of a year, I discovered the fabulously louche post-impressionist art of Toulouse-Lautrec in the artist’s quarter of Montmartre, and roamed the corridors of the Musée d’Orsay, loving a lot and understanding only a little.

In my 20s and early 30s I was a tour guide and quite by chance ended up (sort of ) following the well-trodden path of the 18th century Grand Tourist. I discovered much of Europe and eventually travelled further afield, visually devouring everything from sculpture to art installations to altarpieces, from Berlin to Beijing and back again, before settling in London.

Once in London I found my spiritual home at the National Gallery and became a frequent visitor whilst working in events with both corporate clients and high net worth individuals. It was interesting but it wasn’t my calling.

Then one day, browsing the internet in my dressing gown, I discovered a humanities course at the Open University. 

The rest, as they say, is art history.