Julian Halsby was born in London in 1948 and after Highgate School studied History of Art at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He then joined the staff of Croydon College of Art lecturing in the History of Art and Design and rose to become Senior Lecturer and Head of the Conservation Department.
Julian has written seven books on art history including Scottish Watercolours 1740 -1940̛̛, the biographies of Diana Armfield RA and David Wolfers, owner of the New Grafton Gallery, and a Dictionary of Scottish Artists. He has also written hundreds of articles including the current series of In Conversation̛̛ for The Artist̛̛ magazine and many articles on art criticism. Julian currently lectures for NADFAS and other adult education organisations and is chairman of Artslink, a local community arts education charity.
During the 1980s Julian ran Highgate Gallery with his wife, Miranda, and they now jointly run Newland Gallery, situated behind their medieval house in Sherborne. (www.newlandgallery.co.uk). They run exhibitions of their own work as well as of other artists. They are also involved in community art exhibitions.
He studied painting in Florence and began exhibiting in London, first at the Thackeray Gallery and later at the New Grafton. He currently shows at a number of galleries throughout the South of England. Julian works in oil on board, mostly on a fairly small scale. He paints both landscapes and nudes in interiors, two themes that run throughout his work. One of his great passions is Venice, about which he has written a book Venice – The Artists̛̛ Vision̛̛. He returns to Venice most years to paint, delighting in the flickering light, the unusual architecture and the wonderful sunsets.
Julian and his wife spend the summers in their house in the Languedoc, not far from Montpellier. Julian loves the intense light of the Languedoc, a light which has captivated many artists including Courbet. He paints the vineyards set against the blue mountains, the Mediterranean with its unspoilt beaches and the ports of Meze and Marseillan. He also enjoys the dramatic mountains and gorges to the north, especially the exciting Gorges du Tarn where sheer rock cliffs tumble into dark green water.
Dorset and the West Country are another of Julian̛̛s passions. He loves the hilly landscapes, especially in spring when bluebells, rape and cow parsley create a riot of colour. He is also attracted to the dramatic coastline which he walks whenever possible. Julian also paints small nudes in interiors, influenced by the intimate panels of Bonnard and Bernard Dunstan.
Julian was elected to the RBA in 1994, to the International Association of Art Critics in 1996, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1997 and to the Critics Circle in 2006.