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Jane Adams

'A chemist and a spiritual home'

Jane Adams, who has managed AWA Partnerships Relations since autumn 2015, has decided to honor her grandmother Josephine O'Brien, with the adoption of Nelli's Saint Bartholomew. 'She was a chemist from Dublin,' Jane explains, 'and I think she would have been interested in how Nelli, a self-taught artist, learned how to mix pigments to make her own paints. When Josephine's husband Alfred Clarke, a Royal Airforce pilot during World War II, was shot-down mid-flight and never found, my mother Freda and her sister Pat, were educated by means of an RAF grant, by nuns at a convent. A grant was given as their dad had been killed in the war.

Josephine would have liked the idea of Nelli's Renaissance convent as a center for female creativity. She was my only grandparent not killed in the war and, I would like the memory of her influence in my life to live on thanks to my adoption of Saint Bartholomew—an unsung Apostle. I believe that Nelli must have taken special care in painting him, as a way to honor Fra' Bartolomeo, whose 500 drawings she inherited. I see many unsung heroes every day, in my work with AWA—museum guards that no one notices, archivists, restorers… not to mention the women artists themselves. Saint Bartholomew is for them as well. And when Nelli is exhibited in the Santa Maria Novella Museum, my children, Josephine and Giovanni, who were born and grew up in Tuscany but are now studying England will have a spiritual place to come home to: Nelli's art!' Josephine is studying History of Art at Goldsmith's University and Giovanni is a charismatic goalkeeper and Sports Science student who dreams to play for England or Italy. Their mother: a pawn on Nelli's chessboard to the benefit of art by women!