I find when I look back on my schooldays in the 1960s and 70s that you spend years of terror pushing yourself through challenging experiences without necessarily allowing yourself to enjoy them. Even so, the highlight of mine was going up to Cambridge where I'd always wanted to read history. It really was an experience I found to be very inspiring. I'd always loved history and in fact I'd have been pretty happy being a historian if I weren't working in the art world. For me, history is about how people have thought and what motivated them. I've also found particular parts of history are more interesting. I'm thinking of the Byzantine, late Antique and Early Medieval periods - ones which others tend to overlook. I first went to school when I was four in one of those large 19th-century London houses run by a woman who lived in it. She seemed to me to be incredibly old - as if she were an Edwardian - and wore sensible shoes and calf-length dresses. We sat in forms in various rooms such as the dining room and study, and I remember her being very warm and good at teaching us to read and write. In fact, the experience was a very good educational foundation for the rest of my schooldays. By the time I went to prep school in Gloucestershire, west of London, to where my parents moved at the age of seven, I was well ahead. Initially, I was a day boy, then from the age of ten I boarded. I look back now and think probably it would've been better for me to have lived in right from the start. It's painful but you adapt. Later I won a music scholarship to Marlborough College. I played the piano and flute. I had a variety of teachers, one of whom had worked in the Foreign Office during the second world war. She was in her late sixties and she really was old school, not only in the way she wore tweeds but in how she analysed our sentences. In contrast, there was another one who wore flares and had a John Lennon hairstyle and round glasses. He was very good at drama and art, and I think he broadened our education. By the time I went to Marlborough at the age of 13, I'd become more accustomed to boarding at school. Interestingly, although I'd won a scholarship in music and did a lot of it, I didn't like it that much. In the sixth form, we had a great history teacher, though he wasn't good with students who weren't interested in his subject. I liked the way he included, for instance, elements of literature. I'd describe his teaching as a stream of consciousness and you either passed or failed. I won another scholarship - this time in history - to go to Cambridge. My father had studied there and I have always found it a nicer town than Oxford. It was also further away from home which can often be attractive to students. However, I didn't know what I wanted to do with a history degree. I did know that I wanted to earn a reasonable amount of money and also to go overseas to broaden my experience. I landed a job in marketing and distribution for Jardine Matheson in Japan in the early 80s. I'd told them I'd be delighted to work for them if they offered me a job in Japan. Living there was fascinating because the country was becoming this happening place. I stayed there for five years and encountered a whole new world. I began to develop an interest in culture at a time when Japanese design was taking the world by storm. Having grown up in a small village in England, this was like heaven as I'd wanted to live in a city. However, marketing and distribution weren't really for me. It was art that attracted me, after having spent five years going to lots of exhibitions in Japan. So I enrolled to do a master's in art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art back in London. That was another challenge in that going back to college was quite difficult. I'd been working and I had to return to thinking the way I had five years previously and I'd found I'd lost that intellectual rigour. I've found my journey has been about putting myself in situations that were a challenge. Going beyond your comfort zone at the same time as setting high standards. I've also been quite ambitious in that I did have to work hard going to Cambridge, wanting to succeed and getting a first class honours in history.