Royal curator’s King James’s memories

Martin Clayton in the print room at Windsor Castle
Martin Clayton in the print room at Windsor Castle

One of the Queen’s senior art curators has revealed he fell in love with art while on a school trip to Moscow with King James’s School.

Martin Clayton, 47, head of prints and drawings at the Royal Collection was named as a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) by the Queen in the New Year’s honours list, marking his 25 years of service.

He said: “I am very grateful to receive that, the job in itself is its own reward. It is hard to believe I have been here for 25 years, time flies by.

“I still remember the trip to St Petersburg, then Leningrad of course, with King James’s School to Russia,which seemed like a rather odd trip for a Yorkshire comprehensive school to take in the 1980s.

“We visited an art gallery, the Hermitage and it was only for an hour and half and I remember I didn’t want to leave, I was just fascinated by the chisel marks on the sculptures.”

Mr Clayton then took up a place at Cambridge University, graduating with a double first before he started working at the Royal Collection.

He is now based in Windsor Castle and curates collections around the world.

His mother Brenda Clayton said her and husband David are incredibly proud of Martin’s achievements.

“We have been proud of him all his life, he has achieved such great things.

“My husband still finds it so strange when we go to visit a collection and see the brochure for sale in the gift shop with his name on and says ‘that’s my son!’”

Despite the accolade, the modest curator didn’t tell his parents who found out about his achievement when reading the Telegraph.

Mrs Clayton said: “He is quite modest. I still remember when he came home from the Moscow trip, the art had been so exciting for him.”