Johnathan Messum is the founder pioneer behind Messums Wiltshire, an inspirational and innovative Art Centre that offers a unique environment for both artists and collectors that celebrates the creative endeavour. He has established relationships with international, national and local artists and collectors who will support the gallery’s activities.
Johnathan’s longer term vision is that Messums Wiltshire will become a cultural institution in the South West of England showcasing modern and contemporary art, design and performance, whilst also providing educational lectures and workshops as part of its exhibitions and events programme throughout the year.
Johnathan initially joined Messum’s London as a Director in 1999, after studying History of Art at Edinburgh University and working for Christie’s in London. He has worked for the family business for most of his career.
At Messum’s London, Johnathan has taken the company into new ventures, starting new collections and building relationships with overseas galleries and museums on behalf of Messum’s artists and artist estates. He has been responsible for negotiating the handling of significant artworks on behalf of vendors of British art and is still actively engaged in the evolution of Messum’s London.
In addition, Johnathan has a much broader interest in continuing to enable modern and contemporary art to flourish in Britain. Johnathan is also a board member of Browns Hotel London Art Weekend.
Catherine Milner has worked in the international art world for more than twenty years. Formerly Arts Correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, she now regularly contributes articles about art to a number of publications including the Financial Times, the Economist and Apollo Magazine.
Having studied Fine Art at Edinburgh University her first job was working for the Barbican Art Gallery. She has since specialised in contemporary British art and was one of the first to write about the Young British Artist group in the early 1990s. Since then she has focused on contemporary Middle Eastern art and traveled extensively throughout the region. She has also recently started taking small groups of collectors to artists studios, exhibitions, art biennales and art fairs around the world.
Alastair MargadaIe has been heavily involved in running the Fonthill Estate over the last 30 years and has always been fascinated by Place Farm and the history behind the farmhouse, gatehouses and the barn that make it one of the finest surviving groups of monastic grange buildings in the country.
Alastair’s family have owned the Fonthill Estate since the early nineteenth century, which includes Place Farm and the Great Barn. The Fonthill Estate is centered on Fonthill Bishop and consists of farmland, woods and gardens with residential property available to rent and commercial business units to let. The estate is extensive and provides a stunning backdrop with over “nine thousands acres of outstanding beauty in the heart of Wiltshire.”
In recent years the barn has been extensively restored to its former glory, under the careful stewardship of Alastair Morrison, the 3rd Lord Margadale and estate manager Simon Fowler. The Barn has floor space over one third of an acre, it is reputed to be the largest though not the longest barn of its type in England.
Alastair and Johnathan Messum have worked together to bring the building back to life and open it to the public as an arts centre and cultural institution for the South West of England. From the Great Barn at Place Farm being built in the 15th century to surviving the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the arrival of Messums Wiltshire is a thrilling moment in the history of the building.
Alastair has a keen interest in the arts and has collected art since his early 20’s, so the involvement of a major London gallery in the Fonthill estate is especially exciting. He has always been greatly involved in all aspects of rural life which are of particular interest.
Harry spent all of his working life in the creative industries, predominantly working for multi-national advertising agencies. Since he retired he has been involved in two start-up businesses (a bank and a health and wellness enterprise). He is also involved in a broad range of other businesses as a non-Executive Director, from sectors as diverse as financial services and pizza delivery.
In addition, Harry also works for a number of charities involved in the arts, ballet and contemporary dance. He has been an advisor to Frieze magazine and art fairs and has also been a judge for Arts & Business. He has been a Trustee and a Governor of Sadler’s Wells for over 20 years and is the Chairman of the Russell Maliphant Company (Russell is one of the world’s leading contemporary dance choreographers), a position that he has held for the past nine years.
Harry is particularly interested in the cross-fertilisation of traditional art forms and the role of education in the arts (he is a Trustee of an art school in London). He likes to paint, but not well enough to actually be called a painter.
Charlie has a great love of the aesthetic and has done from an early age. Having left school where the art department was certainly a favourite haunt, Charlie lived in Hamburg for a year working for an art supplier. During this time, he was then offered a job in the City of London so returned home and began a career lasting 5 years in insurance and banking.
As a child, his mother had renovated property and from an early age, Charlie took a very keen interest. Whilst working hard in the city, he bought, renovated and sold property which allowed him to gain further experience and indulge in his creative side. This finally led to him totally changing career to focus on property 15 years ago. Throughout this time Charlie learnt that other than the position and the bones of the property itself, the most important ingredient in creating a lovely home is the art.
Helen is Chair of Arts Council England South West Area and a member of ACE National Council. She has been involved in the cultural sector in Wiltshire for almost twenty years, first as a trustee and Chair at Salisbury Playhouse and then at the Salisbury International Arts Festival. She is now a trustee of the newly formed Wiltshire Creative, set to deliver a multi-arts programme to audiences across the county and beyond.
Helen is a Deputy Lieutenant of Wiltshire. Driven by the power of the arts and education to change lives, she is a strong believer in the importance of further education and vocational training. She was Chair of Wiltshire College for five years, during a time of transformational change.
Helen’s working life started in advertising and brand development and she has always enjoyed working with creative people and the creative process. This combines happily at Messums with her love and knowledge of Wiltshire.
Anthony Matsena was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and was raised in Swansea, Wales. He began dancing from a young age, training in hip hop and street dance. He then started contemporary and ballet training aged 19 at Gower College Swansea, where he joined County Youth Dance Company and Turning Pointe Dance Academy Swansea. Anthony has been a company member of National Youth Dance Wales (NYDW), creating and touring works by Kerry Nicholls, Odette Hughes (Studio Wayne McGregor), Theo Clinkard, and Eleesha Drennan. Through NYDW, Anthony performed Kerry Nicholls’ aM (2015) at Sadler’s Wells. Anthony continued his training at London Contemporary Dance School, where he will graduate from in 2018. Whilst training at LCDS, Anthony has performed works by Ohad Naharin, Hofesh Shechter, Richard Alston, as well as performing professionally in works by Joseph Toonga for Just Us Dance Theatre, and most recently a new play ‘Tree’ by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah at Young Vic Theatre and Manchester International Festival. Anthony is also the co- founder of Matsena Performance Theatre alongside brother Amukelani.
Melissa has had a life-long love affair with art and art history. This began at home informally with a collector for a father, and the bond was sealed after spending a year on the John Hall History of Art Course. Aside from raising a family and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Melissa (or Mouse as she is usually known!) has worked in various roles in Christie’s and Sotheby’s and maintains a keen interest in Contemporary Art.
Curator (Photography & Film)
Laura Grace Simpkins graduated from the University of Cambridge with a Distinction in Film Studies (Master of Philosophy) in 2019. She achieved a First from the University of Oxford in History of Art (Bachelor of Arts, Hons) in 2017. Academic awards include the ‘Domus Exhibitioner’ scholarship for preliminary exam performance at Oxford and the ‘Graduate Tutors’ Prize for Distinction’ for her final result at Cambridge. Laura has been the recipient of several travel grants based on her research, including the ‘Arabella Travel Fund’ to work throughout the summer of 2015 in an art gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and the ‘Fitzwilliam Society Trust Research Fund’ to study ‘Naked Yoga’ (1974), a film belonging to the Academy Award Archive in Los Angeles. She has interned with arts institutions including Christie’s Auction House as well as held coveted university positions such as Photography Editor for Oxford’s largest student newspaper, ‘The Cherwell’. In her spare time, Laura tutors in History of Art from school through to university level. She is also a qualified yoga teacher and professional life model.
Accounts & Administration
Molly Grant spent her gap year in Australia where she discovered her love of art working as a consultant in a contemporary art gallery in Sydney selling new works by young aspiring artists.
On her return to England Molly started at Messums Wiltshire as our Barista but within a couple of months had worked her way up to the position of Accounts Manager.
Molly is studying for a BA Hons degree in Business Management on her (rare) days off and is the font of all knowledge with the day to day running of Messums Wiltshire.
Following her graduation in Design, Stephanie spent fifteen years in the fashion industry managing and running client accounts for many of our leading brands. Her other roles included sourcing fabrics and developing new concepts from the far east and Europe whilst leading a team of young designers and product developers.
Importantly, working for top British brands taught Stephanie the value of classic design and great craftsmanship.
After a break to raise a family, a career change led Stephanie to join the Messums Wiltshire team where she runs the online presence and exhibition planning.
Having grown up and learnt to cook in Bangkok, Sunny Sin moved to London in her teens. After graduating from university in BSc Nutritional and health she tried numerous career paths but decided to follow her real passion for cooking.
She spent a gap year travelling and learning different cuisines in South America, New Zealand, Australia and South East Asia. On her return to England she moved to the country and decided to settle in Wiltshire.
Sunny aims is to introduce new cuisines and flavours Wiltshire and the surrounding areas.
Messum’s Wiltshire is a pioneering multi-purpose gallery and arts centre celebrating the creative endeavour.