OM Interview with Emma Ward – International Fine Art Dealer
Emma Ward (née Page) attended Queen Mary’s from 1985 -1991, before studying A levels at St Peter’s School and Fine Art at Newcastle University. Having worked at leading Fine Art dealers Dickinson for more than 22 years, Emma recently established her own company, Ward Moretti. She has an extensive knowledge of works of art across the ages – from Old Masters and Impressionist, to modern and contemporary. Emma is married and lives in London.
We spoke to Emma about her time at Queen Mary’s and the impact it had on her career.
What is your first impression of Queen Mary’s?
I remember going to the summer Sports Day at Duncombe Park to have a look around and it seemed very imposing. It was the last year the school was at that location and I attended QM from the first term it moved to Baldersby Park.
What is your overarching memory of school?
My time there was incredibly happy. It was full of fun, friendship, mischief and laughter!
Which teachers had the greatest influence?
So many of the teachers had a large impact on our formative years – we loved the Belwards, and were terrified of Mr Burnham!
What was your favourite subject?
ART! Because art has always been my thing from a tiny age!
What did your time at Queen Mary’s teach you?
We built friendships which have lasted to this day and at the same time, we learned to work hard and play hard, and to fend for ourselves.
Do you still keep in touch with any friends from Queen Mary’s?
Absolutely! My year group has remained very close, and has marked many special occasions together. Many of us have been each other’s bridesmaids or godmothers to each other’s children. My QM friends today are still some of my best friends and I’m sure that’s because we know each other from back to front!
What would you advise someone wanting to pursue a career in art dealing?
The advice I would give anybody growing up is to try to choose a job you think you will love. It helps if you know what you want to do from an early age and I was lucky enough to know what I wanted to be from my early years at QM. I then set about achieving my goal by training in the right subjects and applying for the right courses.
It takes time and hard work to develop the skills and the experienced expertise needed to do this job, so you have to be patient. There are often many people trying to fight over too few roles and so you have to separate yourself from the crowd. Being female when I started out over 24 years ago could at times be a disadvantage in a male-dominated industry. Luckily, much of that has now changed.
Can you describe your job and what an average day entails?
Until recently I was the Managing Director of an international art dealership with galleries in New York and London. We handled a great range of artworks from old masters such as Canaletto, to impressionists like Monet and Van Gogh, and up to Modern works by Picasso, Warhol etc. My job requires a lot of international travel to visit collectors, attend the major art fairs as well as the Sotheby’s and Christie’s auctions. I can safely say no two days are the same in my job! One day I might be bidding on an expensive painting at Sotheby’s in the morning, then going to Paris that afternoon, or meeting with a collector over dinner to discuss the possible sale of his/her painting.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to embark on a career in your industry?
I would suggest that you visit as many museums as you can. Learn about paintings not from illustrations in books or online, but by going to see them in person to better understand how they are made. Add any additional strings to your bow as you can, such as languages, which are useful in the international art world.
You also need to be prepared to meet and to be able to handle very unusual characters – the people I deal with are often more colourful than the paintings I handle!
If you look back now at your school days, what would you tell a 13 year old you about your time at school and your life ahead of you?
I would tell them to enjoy every bit of it and to focus and work hard on what you want to achieve and go out and make it happen!
To learn more about Emma’s work or use her services, please go to her website,
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