Upcoming Appearances



East London, by Charles Saumarez Smith

Monday, 10 July 2017 – 18:30 until 20:00

Royal Over-Seas League
Over-Seas House, Park Place London SW1A 1LR

£25 (includes wine and nibbles)

To book, please contact Supporter Services on london@artfund.org.uk or call 0844 4154151

Click here to book online











Queen Mary University of London

Charles Saumarez Smith will be in conversation with Amanda Vickery to mark the publication of his new book, East London.

Tuesday 23rd May, 6:30pm. Registration required.


John Sandoe Books

Charles Saumarez Smith will be giving a talk on his upcoming book East London

Wednesday 10th May, 6:30pm.  Tickets £10

020 7589 9473

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Royal Academy of Arts

Designing Urban Identities: East London

The first in a series of debates which aims to explore how architecture is helping to shape or erode London’s identity.

Monday 8th May, 6:30pm.

Tickets £12, available here.

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Royal Academy of Arts

Charles Saumarez Smith on ‘East London’

Thursday 4th May, 7:00pm.

(Exclusive to Friends of the RA)



Charles Saumarez  Smith in conversation with Dan Cruickshank discussing Charles’ new book, East London

Tuesday 2nd May, 6:30pm.

Tickets £5 (email events@hatchards.co.uk, or telephone 020 7439 9921)

Conference on Jacobean Architecture and Charlton House
Donald Insall Associates
12 Devonshire Street, London W1G 7AB

Friday 9 September:

9:30am             Introduction by WMFB & DIA
10:00am            Jacobean Architecture (Malcolm Airs)
11:00am           Inhabiting Jacobean Houses: Collections and Artefacts (Susan Bracken)
12:00pm          Tea Break
12:30pm           Patrons and Architects: Nobility, New Money and the building of Jacobean Houses (Jonathan Foyle)
1:30pm             Lunch
2:30pm             Jacobean Landscapes (Paula Henderson)
3:30pm             Findings of recent surveys at Charlton House (Donald Insall Associates)
4:30pm             Tea Break
5:00-6:00pm           Moderated Discussion of Papers (Charles Saumarez Smith)


Maggie’s culture crawl 
Friday 16 September

On Friday 16 September Culture Crawl London will take you on a 10 mile night-time adventure around the city.

As you wind your way around the capital, you’ll uncover a route steeped in history, art, and culture, whilst gaining exclusive access to amazing buildings, encountering talented performers and enjoying delicious food and drink along the way.

Start time:



10 miles

The route:

The route features some of the capital’s most spectacular venues including; Tate Britain, Kensington Palace, The V&A, Serpentine PavilionFoster + Partners Studio and the Royal Academy of Arts alongside Maggie’s West London Centre


The Dining Club at Strawberry Hill
Thursday 6 Oct 2016 7:00 PM

“Horace Walpole and The Royal Academy”

The Dining Club will be joined in October by Charles Saumarez Smith CBE; former Director of The National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery, and current Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts.

Following a three course dinner served in the magnificent Gallery at Strawberry Hill, Charles will discuss Walpole and the Royal Academy in the eighteenth century.

Membership of The Dining Club is required.

The South Creake Lectures
Church Lane, South Creake, Fakenham, Norfolk, NR21 9LX

Thursday 7 October 2016
The Sacred and the Secular in Contemporary Art: Talk by Charles Saumarez Smith

Dr Anna Whitelock and Royal Holloway’s London Centre for Public History
Beveridge Hall, Senate House, Gower Street, London

Wednesday 27 April 2016
Britain and Europe: A Shared Culture? (Panel Discussion) 

Romney Street Group

Tuesday 26 April 2016
A New Building for the RA: Talk by Charles Saumarez Smith
Private Event

Seeley Society
History Society of Christ’s College, Cambridge

Thursday 21 January 2016
A New Building for the RA: Talk by Charles Saumarez Smith

festival of ideas

Cambridge Festival of Ideas
19 October – 1 November 2015

Likenesses: with Judith Aronson
Friday 23 October, 5.30-6.30pm

Photojournalist and graphic designer Judith Aronson, in conversation with Charles Saumarez Smith, based around her series of powerful portraits of celebrated Cambridge academics, literary giants and others, which are currently on display in Cambridge University Library’s Entrance Hall.

Tickets can be booked here.

The Annual Gough Square Club Dinner
Dr Johnson’s House, 17 Gough Square, London, EC4A 3DE

Thursday 8 October
History of the Club: talk by Charles Saumarez Smith
Private Event


20/21 British Art Fair
9 -13 September 2015

Fair opening ceremony
Wednesday 9 September, 5pm, Royal College of Art

Tickets can be purchased on arrival for £12.50


Chatsworth Festival: Art Out Loud
Friday 18 – Sunday 21 September 2015

250 years on. A new building for the Royal Academy
Saturday 19 September 2015, 2.30pm

In 2018, the year of its 250th anniversary, the Royal Academy will open its new building on Burlington Gardens. More than twenty years in planning, it will bring the Academy into the twenty first century with new galleries and a grand new public lecture theatre as well as a route through to Piccadilly, opening up the Academy’s Schools and Cast Corridor to public view. It will be the biggest change to the site since it was sold to the government in 1854 by the Devonshire family.

Tickets can be purchased here for £12.50


The Prudential Series: 60 minutes with Charles Saumarez Smith
Tuesday, July 7, 2015, 11:00 12:00

What is the relevance of China to the Royal Academy of Arts?

Tickets can be purchased here for £5.95


Victorian Futures: Culture, Democracy and the State on the Road to Olympicopolis

14 May – 15 May 2015

14 May 2015, 9.45am
Dr Charles Saumarez Smith, Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts
Art and Public Culture in the 1830s

A collaboration between University of the Arts London, Middlesex University and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The conference engages with a set of interlinked Victorian Futures, beginning with the new ideas on cultural democracy and ‘the education of the eyes of the people’ that immediately preceded the Victorian era, following the Reform Act of 1832.  In 1835, a Select Committee of the House of Commons was appointed with the aim of extending ‘a knowledge of and a taste for Art’ to the working classes. This agenda for state-sponsored access to culture and public education in the arts was further developed through the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the cluster of cultural and academic institutions in South Kensington known as Albertopolis.  It was re-imagined in the Festival of Britain 1951, when a retrospective modernity was combined with an interest in Victorian popular culture.  A new Victorian Future is now being proposed for the ‘Olympicopolis’ site in London.  What were the origins of this dream of public culture and public access? Do contemporary re-imaginings of Victorian Futures connect with the pre-Victorian dream of cultural democracy?


Friends Week at the Royal Academy of Arts
Monday 18 May 2015 – Friday 22 May 2015

Future of the Royal Academy: Talk with Charles Saumarez Smith and Tim Marlow
Monday 18 May 2015
10am – 11am and 11am – 12noon


Wednesday 20 May 2015

Following the success of the inaugural event earlier this year, the closed-door session will bring together leading museum owners to set up a network devoted to contemporary art and to sharing exhibitions, expertise and funding strategies.

The Global Private Museum Summit will assemble private museum owners from all over the world, from China to Greece, from Indonesia to the United Arab Emirates, from the USA to Germany and from Mexico to Italy. It is a gathering like no other in the world.

The Charleston Festival - 15th to 25th May 2015

The Charleston Festival
15th – 25th May, 2015

Friday 22 May, 2015
Hannah Rothschild, Charles Saumarez Smith

1.00pm Tickets £14

If you have fantasized about finding a lost masterpiece in a junk shop, be careful what you wish for. The protagonist of Hannah Rothschild’s novel, The Improbability of Love, discovers a lost masterpiece by Watteau and is pursued by a Russian oligarch, a Sheikha and an unscrupulous dealer.  Is this what the art world is really like? A Trustee of the Tate, soon to become Chair of the National Gallery Board, the author knows whereof she speaks. She discusses her affectionate satire (also a love story) with Charles Saumarez Smith, Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy. Hannah Rothschild’s previous book was The Baroness.

Saturday 23 May, 2015
Julia Peyton-Jones, Charles Saumarez Smith, Dinah Casson

12pm Tickets £14

Modern curatorship creates opportunities to set the cultural agenda. No one could have pushed traditional boundaries more imaginatively than Julia Peyton-Jones, Director of the Serpentine Galleries. Under her regime, the Serpentine Galleries have become one of the most exciting cultural hubs in London. The temporary Summer Pavilions, designed by innovative architects and artists, are always a talking point. Charles Saumarez Smith has headed three august institutions: The National Portrait Gallery, the National Gallery and the Royal Academy. What talents do contemporary curators require? Chaired by Dinah Casson whose design company specialises in creating museum installations.


Drawing: A Pre-eminent Skill

Friday 27 March 2015

10.10-10.30am Charles Saumarez Smith (Royal Academy of Arts)
The early history of drawing schools

William Shipley (1715-1803) was a drawing master and founder of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in 1754. One of the first aims of the Society was to encourage drawing ability in young boys and girls, in the hope that good design would reinvigorate the British school of painting as well as induce the production of increasingly competitive British manufactured goods. Richard Cosway, for instance, who became an important portrait painter, was originally a pupil at Shipley’s school and the recipient of the RSA’s first-ever prize for drawing. Drawing schools continue to play an important role in the education of both professional and amateur artists. To mark the tercentenary of Shipley’s birth in 2015 and to honour Shipley’s biographer and historian of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), Dr David G.C. Allan, the William Shipley Group for RSA History is proposing to hold a one-day symposium. This event will consider the story of drawing schools from their inception up to the foundation of the Royal Academy, with a focus on the work of Shipley’s own school. It will also explore the work of a regional academy. By concentrating on the earliest history of drawing schools and on hitherto neglected aspects of the field, the papers will dovetail with, yet complement, papers presented at the Royal Academy’s (RA) Educating the Artist seminar series, funded by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in 2010.


Teignbridge Decorative and Fine Arts Society
The Origins of the Royal Academy of Arts in London

Thursday 26 February 2015

Study Afternoon and Lunch
Venue: The Passage House Hotel, Kingsteignton
Speaker: Dr Charles Saumarez Smith, Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts. A Bristish cultural historian specialising in the history of art, design and architecture, he is known for his contributions as a cultural commentator, an author of books and articles, a lecturer, and an academic, with regular appearances on television and radio.
Dr Saumarez Smith will discuss the formation of the Royal Academy of Arts with the support of King George III in 1768. In this talk on his latest book ‘The Company of Artists’, he will bring to life the characters involved and show how they shaped the new Academy of Arts, changing the practice and perception of art in Britain for good.


In Conversation with Jonas Burgert and Charles Saumarez Smith
Friday 21 November, 1pm
By invitation, for details of the event please contact info@blainsouthern.com

14 October 2014 – 22 November 2014
Blain | Southern, 4 Hanover Square, London W1S 1BP

For more information click here.

C_CollDistinguished Speakers Dinner Series – “Arts Funding: Public or Private?”

Oxford & Cambridge Club, 71-77 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5HD
Thursday 25 September 2014, 7pm
Guest of Honour and Speaker: Dr Charles Saumarez Smith CBE
Tickets: £95
Event open to Christ’s College Alumni and their guests.

“Arts Funding: Public or Private?”

Join Honorary Fellow of Christ’s and Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts, Dr Charles Saumarez Smith CBE, who will be speaking on the pertinent topic of arts funding in a time of fiscal restraint.

Dr Saumarez Smith was previously the Director of the National Gallery, where he successfully managed the major fundraising campaign to acquire Raphael’s Madonna of the Pinks. He also oversaw the completion of the East Wing Project, which transformed the 19th-century galleries.

The Distinguished Speakers Dinner Series aims to bring alumni together in a convivial atmosphere to hear after-dinner talks from distinguished alumni and friends of the College.

The evening will begin with a drinks reception at 7.00pm followed by dinner at 7:45pm.
For more information please contact Adam Kent, Development Officer on ak725@cam.ac.uk or by phone on 01223 334919


Hurlingham Club Annual Dinner and Art Lecture
The Hurlingham Club, Ranelagh Gardens, London SW6 3PR
Tuesday 7 October, 7pm
Guest of Honour and Speaker: Dr Charles Saumarez Smith CBE
Private Event

“The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: Behind the Scenes”

Charles will be speaking about the history of the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy followed by a session of Q&A.


Young Masters Art Prize 2014
Lloyds Club: 
16th September 2014 – 5th December 2014
Sphinx Fine Art: 14th – 31st October 2014

Judging Panel: Godfrey Barker (Chair), Charles Saumarez Smith, Roy Bolton, Werner Grub, Ben Austin, Daisy McMullan.
Judging Date TBC
Works will be exhibited in these venues:
Lloyds Club, Crutched Friars,  London EC3
Sphinx Fine Art, 125 Kensington Church Street, London W8 7LP

Artists, working in any medium and from anywhere in the world, are invited to submit applications from the 15th January 2014 until 30th April 2014.  The shortlisted artists will participate in two exhibitions, at Sphinx Fine Art and at the Lloyds Club, London between September and December 2014.  The exhibitions will also feature previous winner Lottie Davies as a guest artist.  A judging panel will award three Prizes; an overall Prize of £1,500 and two highly commended Prizes of £500 each, kindly donated by the Artists’ Collecting Society.  The winning artists will also be invited to exhibit in a showcase of their work in an international location as part of the Young Masters International Tour in 2015.


World Architecture Festival 2014
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore: 1st October 2014 – 3rd October 2014
Charles will be on the judging panel

World Architecture Festival is the world’s largest, live, global architectural awards programme. Anyone can enter and anyone can win.

WAF sets the benchmark for architectural excellence, where talented architects from every country of the world, regardless of their experience or status, gather to celebrate the purity of brilliant building design. Whoever you are and whatever your building, WAF is the place where success comes solely from the real quality of your work.


The Whistler Society Launch Event
Private Event

Charles has been invited to launch the new Whistler Society. The aim of the society is to promote interset in the life , work and influence of James McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903) . The society has been established by a group of Whistler enthusiasts who met at the Chelsea Arts Club in 2012. Honorary Patrons include Dr. Stephen Bury from The Frick Collection in New York and Professor Margaret Macdonald of The University of Glasgow.

For more information please visit: www.whistlersociety.org

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The Charleston Festival
16th – 24th May, 2014

Friday 16 May, 2014
Jamie Fobert, Charles Saumarez Smith, Jeremy Dixon
1pm Tickets £14

The trio of speakers discuss the challenges of renewal projects for cultural organisations. The transformation of the Grade II listed barns and hidden courtyards at Charleston aims to respect and honour the site’s history and special atmosphere whilst creating much needed new facilities. Jamie Fobert’s practice won the commission to develop Charleston’s contemporary spaces. His recent work includes the extension to Tate, St Ives. Jeremy Dixon’s practice is known for its cultural projects (Royal Opera House, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery); Charles Saumarez Smith has led many architectural projects, including at the RA, where he is Secretary and Chief Executive.