Beliefs of Reality and Beyond

My passion for the art and architecture of Central and Eastern Europe was first fired as a student at London University where I specialized in late medieval art. Many of the greatest examples are to be found in Prague, which I first visited in 1972 when few tourists ventured behind the Iron Curtain. This sparked a wider interest in the culture and history of Czechoslovakia including its country houses as well as the equally rich artistic heritage of its neighbours – especially Hungary, Silesia and the Balkan states. I was well placed therefore to write the first post-communist guide book to Prague, published by John Murray in 1991.

This deep knowledge and love of the entire region led me to step in and save from dereliction an 18th century house Saxon house in Transylvania. Acquiring the house in 2000, it has now been restored and furnished with pieces of Czech arts-and-crafts as well as contemporary examples made by local craftsmen.

The fragility of historic buildings in Romania is the same as in many of the other countries that can be visited on our tours. The situation is often knife-edge between sympathetic conservation undertaken along traditional lines or a quick fix and destruction through ignorance. 'Hand-crafted' tours such as ours can contribute hugely to the long term survival of the historic fabric and art of these countries. Private visits to houses, churches and museums, whether for lectures, meals or concerts, ensures that the money brought in through tourism goes straight into the pockets of the locals, proving to them that their cultural inheritance is a valuable resource to be cherished.

I have lectured in art history for over 40 years on a broad range of subjects and disciplines spanning art, architecture, decorative arts and landscape and garden history. My audiences have been equally diverse, from night classes to St Paul's Girls' school from the V&A to Sotheby's and Christies.

I hope you will join me on more cultural adventures in the heart of Europe; I guarantee intellectual and visual stimulation as well as fun!