Listen to artists speak about their lives and work, their friendships, networks and rivalries, in a selection of more than 120 audio extracts. The clips are from Artists’ Lives, an oral history project making life story recordings with artists, curators, art writers and others who work in the field of visual art.

The sound clips are set in context within Voices of art, a series of essays by writers immersed in the art world of the 20th and 21st centuries.


Frank Bowling in his New York studio loft, standing in front of South America x 3 at root 2 puce, 1967. Photo: Tina Tranter. Courtesy of Frank Bowling Archive.

Frank Bowling

Elena Crippa writes on the career of artist Frank Bowling.

Read more
Germaine Greer by Paula Rego, pastel on paper laid on aluminium, 1995. 47 1/4 in. x 43 3/4 in. (1200 mm x 1111 mm). Commissioned, 1995. Primary Collection NPG 6351. © National Portrait Gallery, London. Image not licensed for reuse.

Shared stories between Artists’ Lives and the National Portrait Gallery Collections

Helena Cuss explores the links between Artists’ Lives recordings and the collection at the National Portrait Gallery.

Read more
I AM AN ARCHIVE: Westminster Walk, November 2008. Barbara Steveni taking with Brian Haw, Peace Campaigner in Parliament Square. Photo by John Mallinson. Courtesy Barbara Steveni. Image not licensed for reuse.

Barbara Steveni and the creation of the Artist Placement Group

Victoria Lane celebrates Barbara Steveni’s vision as an artist and co-founder of Artist Placement Group.

Read more
Norman Ackroyd in the studio. © Sandra Lousada. Image not licensed for reuse.

A sense of place: The work of Norman Ackroyd

Cathy Courtney uncovers the stories and skills that lie behind the etchings and watercolours of Norman Ackroyd.

Read more
Sir Eduardo Paolozzi with his sculpture of Newton at the British Library, photographed by Chris Lee.

The London art world, 1950-1965

Duncan Robinson compares his own memories of the London art world of the 1950s with those in the Artists’ Lives oral history collection.

Read more


The artist's studio

Experience the artist's studio by listening to stories from behind the scenes.

Read more
Drawing from life. Royal Academy, Somerset house. Image taken from <i>The Microcosm of London</i>. Originally published/produced in R. Ackermann: London, 1808 - 1811.


How do you learn to draw? Discover a multitude of varied responses to the life drawing room at art school.

Read more
Kasmin at work in his gallery during an exhibition of Kenneth Noland paintings. Courtesy Collection Kasmin.

Art and money

Buying, selling, collecting and exhibiting: explore the world of art and money.

Read more
Sir Eduardo Paolozzi with his sculpture of Newton at the British Library, photographed by Chris Lee.


Hear from a gallery owner and from artists how new materials used in the 1960s made it difficult for sculptors to find exhibiting spaces.

Read more

Discover collection items from the British Library and institutions across Europe