It was with great sorrow that at the end of 2018 we learned of the death of a member of the Art UK team, Dr Rosie MacArthur, who had sadly lost a long battle with cancer, aged just 37.
Rosie joined Art UK in 2010 as the Coordinator for West London as part of our oil paintings project. She quickly took to the work and was added to the Cambridge University catalogue team in the same year.
Lucy Ellis was part of the London Coordinator team with Rosie and she remembers their time together working on the oil paintings project:
‘We were all new to the job and finding our way through the challenges of persuading collections to participate in the project and sharing the occasional triumphs as we won over a reluctant collection. Rosie was a delightful colleague – her shy and modest exterior belied a great intelligence and a surprisingly cheeky sense of humour which enabled us to laugh off some of the pitfalls and personalities we encountered in our work. It was a great pleasure to work with her.’
Rosie worked closely with Photographer Justin Piperger on the oil paintings project:
‘I had such lovely times working on the art collections with Rosie. Together we photographed so many beautiful collections; I remember the Veronese in its own chapel at Kensington and Chelsea Hospital, and the School of Tintoretto at Leighton House. I remember grand days out to the gardens of the old Archbishops at Fulham Palace and walking with all the equipment across Holland Park to the Orangery there, as the peacocks called out. On longer trips we’d listen to weird music in the car as we drove to Cliveden and other National Trust properties, always having so much to chat about in art and life. I remember Rosie’s lovely smile, her curiosity at all things, and miss her very much.’
Before working for Art UK, Rosie had completed a PhD through the University of Northampton examining the architecture, interiors and art collections of Kelmarsh Hall, Northamptonshire. Rosie had also worked for English Heritage at Kenwood House and as a part-time lecturer in the History Division at the University of Northampton. On successful completion of the London West and Cambridge University catalogues, she went on to work at The National Gallery and the British Museum.
Rosie’s meticulous research skills and friendly personality meant that she was one of the first people we turned to in 2017 when we were recruiting the new Coordinator team to work on the Art UK sculpture project. She took on the role of Coordinator again and was responsible for liaising with some of the largest collections of sculpture in the UK, including the V&A, the National Trust and the British Museum.
Despite her ill health she was fully committed to her Coordinator role and took on the task with the same energy and enthusiasm for which she had always been known. Sadly, illness intervened, and Rosie had to resign from her post in February 2018 to concentrate on further treatment.
We were very sorry to lose such a dedicated and conscientious member of the team. We all loved working with Rosie and will miss her dearly.
Katey Goodwin, Art UK’s Deputy Director, Head of Digitisation and Public Engagement