Co-director of the Serpentine Gallery with Hans Ulrich Obrist.
This formidable blonde wants to live until she's at least 100 and her favourite place is Brazil.
If it all went wrong, she would happily start again at a Sainsbury's checkout.
Serpentine - one of the top 10 most visited art galleries in the UK, attracting 1.2 million people, making it the world’s 66th most visited arts institution.
Not a bad show for what was a tea-room built by the Royal Parks in 1934, which became a gallery in 1970.
Making art pay its way is also why the 63-year-old painter turned curator is on the short-list for the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year award.
Peyton-Jones has two galleries to run – the Serpentine and the Serpentine Sackler, the old ammunition store that was renovated two years ago by the Pritzker-winning architect Zaha Hadid – who also designed the first pavilion.
Her biggest bite to date was to take over the old gunpowder store and raise the £14.5m needed to create the Serpentine Sackler and Hadid’s new restaurant.
Using American-style fundraising tactics, she brought in the Sacklers, the Wolfson Foundation, Carphone Warehouse’s co-founder David Ross and many others to back the enterprise; not a penny of public money was used until it opened.
Only 15 per cent of total expenditure comes from the Arts Council.
This, says Ms Peyton-Jones, is now one of the lowest ratios of public subsidies per visitor for any arts organisation in the UK: £6 is raised privately for every £1 of public funding; an astonishing feat at a time when public arts subsidies are falling.
And entry for the public is free.
Princess Diana was the one to set the seal on the Serpentine’s party: she was photographed arriving at the party on 29 June, 1994, wearing the “revenge dress” and shaking hands with Peyton-Jones as Prince Charles was telling all to Jonathan Dimbleby on TV.
Curriculum Vitae: A career in paint.
Name: Julia Peyton-Jones OBE.
Born: 18 February 18 1952.
Education: 1975-78: Studied painting at the Royal College of Art, London.
Career: A painter in London – two of her works hang in the Bank of England – and lecturer in fine art at Edinburgh College of Art. Between 1978 and 1988 she was the curator in the exhibitions department at the Hayward Gallery.
In 1991 she became a director of the Serpentine Gallery, responsible for both commissioning and showcasing the groundbreaking exhibitions, education and public programmes.
Outside interests: Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art; Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects; Professor of the University of the Arts London.
Favourite painting: Vermeer’s Woman in Blue Reading a Letter.
Favourite restaurant: Daquise, a Polish restaurant in South Kensington, where she takes visiting artists and patrons. People can play cards and they let you bring your dog.
Favourite pastime: Walking with her Jack Russell, Charlie.
- An interview with Julia Peyton-Jones | ArtsProfessional
- The woman who attracted art, celebrity and lots of cash | The Times