All Things Bright and Beautiful: British design 1830 to today, 1972;
The Simple Life: C. R. Ashbee in the Cotswolds, 1981;
The Omega Workshops: decorative arts of Bloomsbury, 1984;
Eric Gill, 1989;
William Morris: a life for our time, 1994;
Stanley Spencer: an English vision, 1997;
Byron: life and legend, 2002;
Last Curtsey: the end of the debutantes, 2006;
Anarchy and Beauty: William Morris and his legacy, 2014,
Her book The Last Pre-Raphaelite: Edward Burne-Jones and the Victorian Imagination, (2011) won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography. Burne-Jones was quite fond of cats, and she did not stress this at all in this much praised biography of the artist.
Fiona MacCarthy graduated from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She lists her hobbies as
"Museums, theatre, looking at buildings," in her Who's Who article. She received an OBE in 2009, which was, sadly, the same year her husband, David Mellor, died. They had married in 1966 and had two children.
Throughout her career MacCarthy wrote articles for the Guardian, TLS, and New York Review of Books. This is in addition to posts as Design Correspondent, for the Guardian, (1963–69); Women’s Editor at Evening Standard, (1969–70); Literary Critic for The Times, (1980–90) and then Observer, (1990–98).
During the years of 1998-2005 Fiona MacCarthy was an Associate Editor, of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.