The Alchemy of Paint (2009) and The Riddle of the Image (2014) were originally conceived as a single book. I intended to suggest that materials had their own inherent meanings, then show that materials could contribute meaning to the things that incorporated them. In the end, Alchemy, just explored the meaning of five materials (one of which did not exist). So, Riddle starts with an introductory chapter that explores the meanings associated with a single artist's material (lead white), then looks at how a range of materials contribute meaning to five works of art.

Both books are the result of looking at art very closely (sometimes with the aid of scientific equipment) and then dwelling on them at length (usually on long dog walks).

I am currently writing Red: The Passions of Earth, Blood and Fire due to be published by Reaktion Books in 2015.

detail of Metz Pontifical, MS 298 fol.138r, reproduced with the permission of the Syndics of the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge