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NJ copyNeil Jeffares is an art historian with a particular interest in eighteenth century pastels. Since 1999 his contributions on art history and portraiture have appeared in journals ranging from the Burlington Magazine, Apollo and the Gazette des Beaux-Arts to the British Art Journal, the Court Historian and Le Musée Condé. In 2006 he published the Dictionary of pastellists before 1800; it was awarded the Besterman/McColvin medal for the outstanding reference book published in the UK that year. Since then he maintains a greatly expanded online version of this work on the website Pastels & pastellists. Growing out of that is his full scale catalogue raisonné of Maurice-Quentin de La Tour, which is embedded within the website and is also constantly updated.

Eighteenth century pastels are seriously neglected by scholars, curators and collectors worldwide. Jeffares’s work is driven by the belief that the special aesthetic pleasure they offer can be enhanced and informed by a prosopographic understanding of all those involved in their creation and collection. He is also committed to sharing this information as widely as possible, without profit, and most of his research is available on his site which is free to all.

Those who follow him on this blog or on Twitter (@neiljeffares) will be aware that Jeffares takes an interest in more than just art history. He tries to illuminate his arguments with ideas drawn from an unusual combination of interests. His opinions on subjects ranging from banking, taxation and law to philanthropy and the arts can also be found in the letters columns of The Times and the Financial Times as well as in evidence to various parliamentary inquiries.

Jeffares read mathematics and natural sciences simultaneously at Trinity College, Dublin. At Oxford he pursued research in mathematics under Sir Roger Penrose before taking up scientific publishing, becoming a managing editor at Pergamon Press. In the early 1980s he moved into finance, spending most of his banking career at Morgan Grenfell which he joined just before the deregulation of financial markets in London in 1986. After the takeover by Deutsche Bank he was global head of Deutsche Morgan Grenfell’s special products group (a business with units in London, Frankfurt, New York, Sydney and Singapore, specialising in complex transactions for large companies). Subsequently he worked as head of structured finance at Royal Dutch Shell for several years. He then ran his own corporate advisory firm before withdrawing from finance to devote himself full time to art history.

Jeffares is married and lives in London. You can email him through the contact tab on his website.

  1. Mark Dias permalink

    I saw your pdf file of pastellists before 1800. I am a direct descendant of Gabriel Papillon. He is my 7th great grandfather. Some of your info filled in some blanks.

    Mark Dias

  2. Bryan Russell permalink

    Quick question … Do you have any copies of your book ‘Understnding British Portraits’ ?
    I’m scouring for one … what better place to start?
    Bryan Russell

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