This selection of translations over the past 30 years shows some of the memorable projects I've had the privilege of working on. There's quite a lot of Hieronymus Bosch and also examples of translations from French and German in addition to all the ones from Dutch.
Roger H. Marijnissen and Peter Ruyffelaere, Hieronymus Bosch (Antwerp: Fonds Mercator, 1987)
This is where it all started. At the age of 24, I was asked to translate a hefty monograph on Hieronymus Bosch. This was pre-internet (round our way, at least) and even PCs were only just becoming available for ordinary people. I did the work on an Amstrad PCW computer armed with just a relatively small Wolters Dutch-English dictionary. Fortunately, I could rely on the encouragement and feedback of Prof. Peter King, especially for the swathes of Middle Dutch.
The results were obviously acceptable as I worked with Roger Marijnissen several more times over the years, while Peter Ruyffelaere is still a customer as head of the publisher Ludion. Looking back, I can't quite believe I had the nerve to accept the job, having only done a few, very varied assignments before that: a novella by the Belgian magic realist Hubert Lampo, a Dutch memoir about tracking and recovering RAF planes shot down over the Netherlands and a retail training course for Bradford City Council (!).
Since then, Hieronymus Bosch has cropped up regularly in my work, most notably during the 500th anniversary of Bosch's death in 2016. There are a couple more examples on this page.
Fleur Roos Rosa de Carvalho, Prints in Paris 1900: From Elite to the Street (Amsterdam: Van Gogh Museum 2017)
It's always a pleasure to work on exhibition catalogues and other books for the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, but this one was particularly special. The museum has a big collection of fin de siècle
French prints, which it has placed online in an amazing, searchable and downloadable database
, which I also helped translate. I've been following a fine-art printmaking course since 2012 at the Leuven academy (SLAC), which made working on both the website and the exhibition catalogue even more rewarding.
Jacqueline Marette, Wooden Supports in 12th-16th-Century European Paintings (Copenhagen: CATS 2016)
This is a French-English translation I did with my long-term collaborator Paul Van Calster. It is published online
by the Getty Foundation.
The French art historian Jacqueline Marette published her pioneering Connaissance des Primitifs par l'étude du bois du XIIe au XVIe siècle
in 1961. It was the first major study of the wooden panels used as a support by medieval painters. The type and age of the wood, together with the construction and preparation of the panels are key elements in art historical research nowadays, but this groundbreaking study had not previously been available in English.
Matthijs Ilsink, Jos Koldeweij, Ron Spronk et al.,Hieronymus Bosch, Painter and Draughtsman. Catalogue raisonné (Brussels: Mercatorfonds 2016)
This new catalogue raisonné of Hieronymus Bosch's paintings and drawings was probably the most important of the several books I translated on the artist in 2016, the 500th anniversary of his death. There were major international exhibitions in his home town of s-Hertogenbosch, for which I also did the catalogue and visitor guide, and in Madrid. There was a spectacular opening event for the Dutch exhibition opened by the King of the Netherlands, which I also got to attend.
Till-Holger Borchert, Bosch in Detail (Antwerp: Ludion 2016)
More Bosch from 2016, this time a rare translation from German (which I do if the subject matter is in my comfort zone). The amazing In Detail series is published by Ludion and uses the latest high-resolution images so that leading art historians can explore selected details. I also translated Manfred Sellinck's Bruegel in Detail in 2014.
Marije Vellekoop & Nienke Bakker, Van Gogh at Work
(Yale University Press, 2013)
This was a co-translation with Michael Hoyle, in which I translated the biographical half of the book.
Sylvia Ferino-Pagden, Manfred Sellink & Till-Holger Borchert (eds.), Imperial Treasures: Masterpieces from the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna (Tielt-Weesp: Lannoo, 2011). Co-translator, Dutch and German texts
I translated texts from both Dutch and German for this exhibition catalogue.
Nico Van Hout, The Unfinished Painting (Antwerp: Ludion, 2012)
Included in The Independent's Books of the Year 2012.