Symmons, Sarah

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Symmons, Sarah

(Natalya Lowndes)

PERSONAL: Born in London, England. Education: Courtauld Institute of Art, B.A., 1967, M.A., 1968, Ph.D., 1979.

ADDRESSES: Office—University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester C04 3SQ, England.

CAREER: University of Essex, Essex, England, faculty member. Has also taught at art schools in Bournemouth, Canterbury, London, and Maidstone, England; lecturer at Cambridge University, London University, University of Georgia, Universtiy of Santiago de Compostela, Savannah College of Art and Design, Leeds City Art Gallery, National Gallery (London, England), Hayward Gallery, and Prado Museum (Madrid, Spain). Art exhibition organizer.

AWARDS, HONORS: Has received awards for academic work.


Goya, Oresko Books (London, England), 1977.

Daumier, Oresko Books (London, England), 1979, second edition, IPC/Chaucer Press (London, England), 2004.

Flaxman and Europe: The Outline Illustrations and Their Influence, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1984.

Goya: In Pursuit of Patronage, Fraser (London, England), 1988.

Art and Ideas, Phaidon Press (New York, NY), 1998.

(Editor and author of introduction) Goya: A Life in Letters, translations by Philip Troutman, preface by Julia Blackburn, Pimlico (London, England), 2004.


Chekago, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1988, Dutton (New York, NY), 1989.

Angel in the Sun, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1989.

Snow Red, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1992.

SIDELIGHTS: Sarah Symmons is an art scholar at the University of Essex who has specialized in the works of Spanish and French artists of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. Having taught and lectured widely at art schools and universities in America, the United Kingdom, and Spain, she has also helped organize exhibitions on such artists as sculptor John Flaxman and painter Francisco Goya. Symmons has published books on Flaxman, Goya, and Honoré Daumier. Daumier, for instance, discusses more than the better-known work by the French artist, exploring his output as a professional newspaper illustration and his more personal paintings of ordinary Parisians.

Symmons received special attention for editing Goya: A Life in Letters, which presents a thorough collection of the Spanish painter's writings in English translation, including correspondence, diary entries, and even business papers. Juliet Wilson-Bareau, writing in the Times Literary Supplement, praised the translation work by Philip Troutman, which she felt well captures Goya's tone of voice, as well as Symmons's work, which "has carried forward a historically and linguistically correct interpretation of the texts." Symmons also planned to collect the personal correspondence of other artists, such as Whistler, Manet, Delacroix, and Aubrey Beardsley.

Symmons told CA: "I also write fiction under the pseudonym Natalya Lowndes. My first novel, Chekago, reached number eight on the British best-seller list. As someone who works in two types of writing (fiction and art history), I find the act of writing wholly absorbing. I have as much respect for good academic writing as for good fiction. I have always loved reading and admire a wide range of authors. As an academic I was particularly inspired by Robert Rosenblum, Francis Haskell and E. H. Gombrich. As a novelist I admire Russian writers such as Chekhov, Tolstoy, and Vladimir Nabokov, and female writers such as Jean Rhys and Margaret Atwood.

"I'm not sure which one of my books is my favorite. I have always enjoyed writing about Goya and particularly loved working on his letters. As to the fiction, the first novel took me many years to write so I have a special fondness for it."



Times Literary Supplement, April 9, 2004, Juliet Wilson-Bareau, review of Goya: A Life in Letters.


International Publishers Marketing Web site, (December 30, 2004).

Sarah Symmons Home Page, (December 30, 2004).