Welcome to the website of Dr Jacqueline Riding, art historian, historian, adviser and author.

Jacqueline specialises in British history and art of the long eighteenth century. She is an experienced adviser and consultant for museums, historic buildings and film. She was the historical and art historical consultant for Mike Leigh’s award-winning feature film Mr. Turner (2014), his latest film Peterloo (2018) and Wash Westmorland’s Colette (Number 9 Films) starring Kiera Knightley and Dominic West. Jacqueline discussed her work on Peterloo at the London School of Economics in March 2019, the recording is available here. Her tie-in book Peterloo: The Story of the Manchester Massacre (Head of Zeus) described by The Guardian as ‘quite simply magnificent’ is out in paperback (more reviews below). Her previous book Jacobites: A New History of the ’45 Rebellion (Bloomsbury 2016) was the winner of the Silver Award, Military History Monthly Magazine and described by Colin Kidd in The Guardian as “a fresh and historically convincing perspective”, “an enthralling narrative”, “a work of penetrating insight and dispassionate balance, which is captivating from start to finish.” Support independent bookshops by ordering Jacobites here and Peterloo here via Bookshop.org.

Jacqueline’s next book, Hogarth: Life in Progress, the first biography of this great British artist in over 20 years, will be published on 25 March 2021 by Profile Books.

On Peterloo: The Story of the Manchester Massacre –

‘Gripping … quite simply magnificent: splendidly researched, thoroughly well written, and very difficult to put down.’ John Barrell, The Guardian

‘A superb account of one of the defining moments in modern British history.’ Tristram Hunt.

‘Peterloo is one of the greatest scandals of British political history … Jacqueline Riding tells this tragic story with mesmerising skill.’ Professor John Bew, author of Citizen Clem.

‘Fast-paced and full of fascinating detail.’ Tim Clayton, author of Waterloo.

‘This is the best single account of the massacre of August 1819. A brilliant piece of historical research that sets the event in the wider political and social context and which brings to life the tragic events of August 16. This is the book to turn to for anyone interested in learning what happened in Manchester on that day and why Peterloo continues to resonate today.’ Michael Powell, Chetham’s Library

‘Vivid, engrossing and well-research’, ‘an evocative account’, ‘gripping and intellectually robust’, ‘[Mike Leigh’s] film and Riding’s excellent accompanying book will rightly heighten public awareness of the events of 16 August 1819’. Professor Ted Vallance, BBC History Magazine

‘Jacqueline Riding lets the evidence speak for itself, and in doing so produces a cool and even-handed indictment of the authorities and the soldiers at St Peter’s Field that is far more devastating than any emotional rant,’ ‘cleverly structured’, ‘the sequence of events that Riding lays out in forensic details is shocking’, ‘The Peterloo story … is one that deserves to be remembered as a less than glorious chapter in our island history. No one has told it better.’ Saul David, Literary Review

‘Careful, closely researched … a fascinating and moving story … [Riding] does a fine job of putting the event into context.’ Dominic Sandbrook, The Sunday Times

Her book, drawing on her PhD thesis, Basic Instincts: Love, Passion and Violence in the Art of Joseph Highmore (Paul Holberton Publishing), was published to accompany the exhibition at the Foundling Museum (29 Sept 2017 – 7 Jan 2018). It can be ordered here. “[Basic Instincts] brings Joseph Highmore out of the shadows.” – Apollo Magazine. Read more reviews for Basic Instincts here.