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NAME: Charles Robert Saumarez Smith

DATE OF BIRTH: 28 May 1954
PLACE OF BIRTH: Salisbury, England


1966-1971 Marlborough College, Wiltshire
1972-1976 Kings College, Cambridge
1972 Open Scholarship
1974 Part 1 History (First Class)
Senior Scholarship
1976 Part 2 History of Art (First Class)
BA Thesis: The Neo-Classical Mausoleum
1978 MA
1976-1977 Henry Fellowship, Harvard University
Special Student, Fogg Art Museum and Resident Fellow, Lowell House
1977-1979 State Studentship, Warburg Institute
1986 Ph.D., Combined Historical Studies,
London University
Ph.D. thesis: Charles Howard, third Earl of Carlisle and the Architecture of Castle Howard


1991 Museum Management Institute, Berkeley, California
2003 Senior Executive Programme, London Business School



Senior Director, Blain|Southern

On leaving the Royal Academy, I was employed by Blain|Southern as a Senior Director, working with artists, representing the gallery at art fairs, and giving advice on museum, gallery and other client relationships


Secretary and Chief Executive, Royal Academy

• overall responsibility for plans for the redevelopment of 6, Burlington Gardens, a major, grade 2* listed building designed by James Pennethorne immediately north of the Royal Academy, including the appointment of the architect, Sir David Chipperfield in 2008.

• annual fund-raising of c.£15 million pa of revenue funding and capital fund-raising of £56 million for the capital project, including a successful application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant of £12.7 million.

• an exhibitions programme which included From Russia, involving major diplomatic negotiations with the British and Russian governments over issues of restitution, Anish Kapoor, which was extremely innovative in the way that it showed works of art in the main galleries, David Hockney, which got 600,000 visitors, Bronze, Sensing Spaces, Anselm Kiefer, Ai Weiwei , Painting the Modern Garden, Abstract Expressionism and, in 2018, Charles I and Oceania.

• working closely with Royal Academicians, particularly the President and Treasurer, in the governance of the organisation, preparing and discussing material for presentation at Council meetings, ensuring that the governance runs smoothly and giving advice constantly on policy and new initiatives.

• overseeing radical organisational restructuring and change, including the hiring of nearly the entire senior management team.

Director, National Gallery

• Oversight of the East Wing project designed by Sir Jeremy Dixon and Edward Jones, of which the first part, including the Getty entrance, new café, bookshop and Annenberg Court, opened in September 2004, and the second part, including the new front entrance and redecorated staircase hall, opened in September 2005.

• A programme of major acquisitions, including works by Bernardo Daddi, Annibale Carracci, Henri-Pierre Danloux and Adolph Menzel, and leading the public appeal for Raphael’s Madonna of the Pinks, acquired in March 2004 for £22.5 million.

• A programme of exhibitions, including El Greco (over 200,000 visitors), Russian Landscape in the Age of Tolstoy, Raphael: From Urbino to Rome (230,000 visitors), Caravaggio: The Final Years (nearly 250,000 visitors) and Velázquez (approximately 300,000 visitors).

• Maintaining visitor numbers at between 4 and 5 million p.a.

• Overseeing prize-winning new corporate identity in conjunction with The Partners.

• Involvement in improvements to visitor services, including arrangements for franchise of National Café and National Dining Rooms under Oliver Peyton.

• fund-raising from major trusts, foundations and individuals and managing the relationship with corporate sponsors and major individual donors, including long-term donors to the National Gallery and members of the Beaumont Group.

• Trustee relations.

• Acting as Accounting Officer, involving good practice in all aspects of financial management.

• Managing relationships with government and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

• Ensuring good relationships with the press, including the arts correspondents.

• Representing the Gallery and its interests to the public, owners of pictures, academics, and museum colleagues nationally and internationally.

Director, National Portrait Gallery

• The formulation of the brief, appointment of architects, detailed design, fund-raising, planning consent and arrangements for the opening of a major £16.2 million new wing, which opened on 4 May 2000.

• The redisplay of large parts of the collection, including a £1.2 million redesign of first floor galleries by Piers Gough of CZWG and refurbishment of top floor galleries by David Mlinaric of Mlinaric, Henry and Zervudachi.

• Fund-raising, including gifts of £2.75 million from Christopher Ondaatje, an Anglo-Canadian financier, £1 million from Drue Heinz Hon. DBE and £500,000 from the Wolfson Foundation.

• Major acquisitions, including Thomas Cromwell by Hans Holbein, Horace Walpole by Sir Joshua Reynolds and the Duchess of Windsor by Gerald Brockhurst, all with substantial funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and National Art Collections Fund.

• An active programme of commissions, including A.S. Byatt by Patrick Heron, Richard Branson by David Mach and John Major by John Wonnacott.

• A programme of historical exhibitions — Raeburn, The Art of the Picture Frame and The Sitwells — and exhibitions devoted to the work of living photographers — Avedon, Cartier-Bresson, Leibovitz and Lord Snowdon.

• An increase in visitor numbers from between 500,000 and 600,000 during the 1980s to just under 1.2 million in 2000.

Head of Research, Victoria and Albert Museum

• Appointed ‘to maintain and enhance the V&A’s reputation as an international centre of scholarly excellence, monitoring existing research projects, fostering new approaches to material culture, encouraging publication and leading a small group of experts’ following major structural reorganisation.

• Responsible for ten permanent staff and an annual budget of £59,000.

• Author of The Research Policy of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Assistant Keeper, Victoria and Albert Museum, with special responsibility for V&A/RCA MA Course in the History of Design

• Curriculum planning, teaching and thesis supervision

• Organisation of lectures, conferences and research seminars

• Financial administration, staff management and library accessions.

Visiting Lecturer, Department of Art History and Theory, School of Comparative Studies, University of Essex

• Teaching eighteenth-century art history to first year undergraduates.

Christie’s Research Fellowship in the Applied Arts and Director of Studies in the History of Art, Christ’s College, Cambridge

• Supervision of undergraduate students in Department of History of Art, and member of College governing body.

Part-time Assistant, Warburg Institute Photographic Collection

• Cataloguing, labelling and filing photographs by subject-matter


1985-1989 Executive Committee, Design History Society

1987-1990 Executive Committee, Society of Architectural Historians

1987-2000 Care for St. Anne’s: Limehouse Parish Church

1988-1993 Editorial Board, Art History

1988-2006 Trustee, Soane Monuments Trust

1990-1994 Executive Committee, Association of Art Historians

1992-1996 Executive Committee, London Library

1993-2015 Council, Charleston Trust

1994-2007 Advisory Committee, Government Art Collection

1995-1999 Advisory Council, Paul Mellon Centre for British Studies

1996-1999 Steering Committee, SCI-ART, The Wellcome Trust

1996-2003 Advisory Council, The Warburg Institute

1998-2001 Council, Museums Association

1998-2012 Advisory Committee, Museum Leadership Programme, University of East Anglia

1998-2002 Expert Panel for Museums, Libraries and Archives, Heritage Lottery Fund

1999-2002 Pictures, Portraits and Decoration Committee, British Academy

1999-2004 Advisory Council, Institute of Historical Research

1999-2003 Chairman, English Art Museum Directors’ Conference

2000-2006 Trustee, Engage (The National Association for Museum and Gallery Education)

2000-2004 Co-chairman, Museums and Galleries Month

2001-2013 Governor, The University of the Arts (previously the London Institute)

2002-2007 Member of Board of Electors of Slade Professorship of Fine Art, University of Oxford (ex-officio)

2002-2006 Chairman, Management Committee, Centre for the Study of the Domestic Interior

2002-2005 Museums and Galleries Standing Committee, Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB)

2002-2004 Vice-President, Museums Association

2002-2006 Member, Visual Arts Advisory Committee, British Council

2003-2015 Trustee, Public Catalogue Foundation

2003-2015 Trustee, Prince’s Drawing School

2003-present Editorial Adviser, Museum Practice

2003-2007 Editorial Board, Modern Painters

2003-2007 Board member, School of Advanced Study, University of London

2004-2010 International Advisory Board, Courtauld Institute of Art Research Forum

2004- 2013 Chairman, Conferments Committee, University of the Arts

2004-2006 President, Museums Association

2005-2009 Advisory Committee, Getty Leadership Institute

2005-present International Advisory Council, Louise T. Blouin Foundation

2008-2013 Advisory Board, Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi
(2010-2013 Chairman)

2008-present Advisory Committee, Prix Pictet

2008-present Editorial Advisory Panel, Apollo

2009-2011 Advisory Council, Arts and Business

2009-2013 Fine Arts Editor, Finch’s Quarterly Review

2014-present Facilitator, Bond Street Strategic Board

2015-present Panel Member, Funding Review of Specialist Institutions, Higher Education Funding Council for England

2016-                           Trustee, Watercolour World (2019-present  Chairman)

2018-                           Trustee, Garden Museum

2018-                           Curatorial Committee, Design Museum

2019-                           Chairman, Royal Drawing School


1990 Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion for outstanding works of architectural history by the Society of Architectural Historians (Great Britain)

1991 Honorary Fellow, Royal College of Art

1995 FRSA

1997 FSA

2000 Hon. FRIBA

2001 Hon. D. Litt., University of East Anglia

2002 Slade Professor, Oxford University
Honorary Fellow, Christ’s College, Cambridge
Hon. D. Litt., University of Westminster

2003 Hon. D. Lit., University of London
Hon. D. Litt., University of Sussex

2005 Hon. DU, University of Essex

2007 Visiting Professor in the Graduate School for Humanities and Social Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London

2008 CBE

2010 Visiting Professor of Cultural History, School of History, Queen Mary, University of London

2016 Emeritus Trustee, Charleston Trust

2016 Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Victoria & Albert Museum

2018 Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Victoria and Albert Museum

Knight Bachelor ‘For services to Art, Architecture and Culture in the UK’

Apollo Personality of the Year

2019 Professor of Architectural History, Royal Academy of Arts

Doctor of Letters, Queen Mary University