This website was developed by Laurence because of his interest in nineteenth-century art and how it is influenced by and in turn influences other areas, such as science.


Laurence studied the way beauty and related words such as form, progress and nature were used by Charles Darwin and by artists and critics. He investigated the ways in which contemporary ideas about beauty and gender influenced Darwin’s theory of natural selection, principally his theory of sexual selection, and how those ideas influenced art movements, such as the Aesthetic Movement. The research is for a doctorate at the University of Bristol supervised by Professor Elizabeth Prettejohn.

At the Courtauld in 2009 he studied the Aesthetic Movement and completed a dissertation on Albert Moore and during the final part of his degree at Birkbeck College he specialised in Victorian landscape art and the Pre-Raphaelites with Dr. Carol Jacobi.

Laurence has a science background having completed a degree in Physics and an MSc and PhD in computer science in the 1970s and worked in the computer industry from 1968 until recently. In the 1980s he founded a company called Intelligent Environments which became the first internet company to float. He uses this experience to make his research available on the web.

Publications and Dissertations

  • Darwin and Beauty (unpublished PhD thesis, University of Bristol, 2013),supervised by Professor Elizabeth Prettejohn
  • ‘Endless Forms: Charles Darwin, Natural Science and the Visual Arts’, organized by the Fitzwilliam Museum in association with the Yale Center for British Art, The Burlington Magazine (October 2009), a review of the Cambridge and New Haven exhibitions
  • Albert Moore and the Science of Beauty (unpublished MA dissertation, Courtauld Institute, 2008), supervised by Dr. Caroline Arscott
  • John Constable’s The Hay Wain: A Case Study Comparing the English and French Attitudes to Landscape Painting in the 1820s (unpublished BA dissertation, Birkbeck College, 2007), supervised by Professor Lynda Nead
  • Client/Server: A Manager’s Guide (London: Addison-Wesley, 1994)
  • A Conversational Problem-Solving System Represented as Procedures with Natural Language Conceptual Structure (unpublished PhD thesis, Queen Mary College, 1977), supervised by Professor Peter Landin


  • October 2010, ‘The Quantification of Beauty’, By the Numbers, Victorians Institute Conference, University of Virginia
  • September 2010, ‘Darwin, Fashion and the Science of Beauty’, ‘Beauty will save the world’: An interdisciplinary Postgraduate Conference on Art and Social Change, University of Bristol
  • June 2010, ‘Darwin and Beauty’, The Art of Collaboration: Interdisciplinary Approaches to History, Postgraduate Conference, The University of Nottingham
  • June 2009, ‘Whistler’s One-Man Exhibitions and His Use of Double Coding’, Reading Images: Frames and Frameworks, Summer Symposium, Association of Art Historians, University of Bristol
  • February 2009, ‘Charles Darwin, Contingent Form and Whistler’s Nocturnes’, Natural Dialogues: Art, Science, & Material Culture, Graduate Student Symposium, Yale Center for British Art

Business Career

  • Founded Intelligent Environments in 1985 and floated the company on the London Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in 1996. It was the first company to float on AIM with an Internet business plan.
  • Mergers and acquisitions advisor.
  • Business Consultant advising banks and building societies on IT security, processes and regulations.
  • Director of a banking consultancy company.


  • PhD, History of Art, University of Bristol, 2013
  • PhD, Computer Science, Queen Mary College, University of London, 1976
  • MSc, Computer Science, Birkbeck College, University of London, 1972
  • MA, Courtauld Institute, University of London, 2008
  • BA, Birkbeck College, University of London, 2007
  • BSc, University of Surrey, 1968