Gillian Riley

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Gillian Riley is an English food writer.


She was born 1933 [1] and brought up in Yorkshire, read History at Cambridge University. After obtaining a diploma in education, she went to live in London where she worked as a designer in print and publishing, combining this with part-time teaching. Study trips to Italy in pursuit of lettering and inscriptions fuelled a passion for the history of Italian gastronomy which gradually took over her life. Her illustrated translation of Giacomo Castelvetro's The Fruit, Herbs & Vegetables of Italy was published by Viking Penguin in 1989, and in paperback, text only, by Prospect Books in 2012. Then followed three titles in the Painters & Food series for Pomegranate Books: Renaissance Recipes, Impressionist Picnics, and The Dutch Table. A ''Feast for the Eyes, the National Gallery Cookbook, involved the lateral thinking needed to use art to illuminate the story of food, and food to shed light on hitherto ignored aspects of painting. Food in Art, Reaktion Books 2015, covers earliest times to the Renaissance. The Oxford Companion to Italian Food, OUP 2007 describes contemporary Italian food in its historic background. She is currently[when?] working on a biography of Ulisse Aldrovandi, the sixteenth century naturalist.


  • Renaissance Recipes. Pomegranate Artbooks. 1993.
  • Impressionistic Picnics. Pomegranate Artbooks. 1993.
  • A Feast for the Eyes: Evocative recipes and surprising tales inspired by paintings in the National Gallery. National Gallery London Publications. 1998.[2]
  • The Oxford Companion to Italian Food. Oxford University Press. 2007.[3]
As translator
Selected articles