Jonathan Keates is a polyglot biographer, novelist, former schoolteacher and - as a confirmed Venetophile, the city is the subject of his 1994 history - chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund.

Almost all of Keates work, including his fiction and short stories, is set in the past and focuses in particular on the culture life and cultural figures of history. His books encompass not just studies of places, usually in Italy (Venice, Tuscany and Umbria) but also musicians and writers (Handel, Purcell and Stendhal). Keates has confessed to ‘egocentricity’ in that his books are about ‘sharing my enthusiasm and curiosity (almost the only decent qualities I possess) with others’. He also shared these traits with his pupils as a teacher for 40 years at the City of London School.