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Jane Mackay was born in London. Always a prolific painter, but also intrigued by the sciences, she originally chose to study medicine, qualifying as a doctor at the Westminster Medical School in 1970.


Subsequently working as a volunteer in Papua New Guinea, and then as a GP in Southwark, she relinquished her medical practice at the millennium in order to pursue her artistic career full-time. Since then she has exhibited widely in the UK and abroad and in 2016 gained her Masters in Fine Art (MFA) from the University of Arts, London.


Her artwork has evolved along an unconventional path; her main passion is painting music. Fascinated by the relationship between the visual and auditory parts of the brain she depicts the synaesthetic images evoked when listening to music. She has found these images a constant source of creative inspiration, fundamental to her life as an artist.


Jane has held solo exhibitions at festivals in Salisbury, Aldeburgh, Ludlow and Tewkesbury and at the Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal School of Church Music. She has show her work at the Wigmore Hall and St John’s, Smith Square in London, and as part of the English Choral Experience at Abbey Dore, in Herefordshire. During the academic year 2000-2001 she was Artist in Residence with Cambridge University Musical Society holding two solo shows in Cambridge.


Her work has featured widely in the national press and specialist music magazines. TV appearances have included This Morning with Richard and Judy (Granada) and Come To Your Senses with Adam Hart-Davis (BBC 2); in the Child of Our Time series (BBC1) in 2006 and a BBC4 Prom Concert broadcast in the same year. She has taken part in films for the Handel House Museum, Discovery TV, BBC2 Horizon, the Philharmonia Orchestra, Icon Films (Channel 4) and a documentary for South Korean TV (2008). 


She has designed CD covers, book jackets and greetings cards, including work for The Musicians Benevolent Fund, the Bach Choir, Hyperion, Collins Classics, Oxford University Press, Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers and the Boydell Press.


Her work has recently been included in a Polish language book about Nabokov and Synaesthesia by Anna Ginter, University of Lodz. In August 2016, Jane was signed up for design work with the Swedish company Photowall.


In February 2019, in collaboration with Siobhán Doyle and the Lir string quartet, Jane launched a new festival, Aesynth, celebrating the phenomenon of synaesthesia through art, music, talks and film, at the In-Spire Galerie, Dublin.

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Photos by Rachel Davies

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