Directors

About the role

The post of Director was established in 1855, 31 years after the Gallery was founded. The duties of the Director included selecting pictures for the collection and managing their arrangement, description and conservation. The role was strategic from the beginning.

The current responsibilities of the Director are outlined in the Trustees Handbook:

"The Director is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Gallery, for the safe-keeping and enhancement of the collection, and for taking the lead on the main financial (as Accounting Officer) and strategic decisions.

"The Director has responsibility, under the Board, for the overall organisation, management, and staffing of the Gallery and for its procedures in financial and other matters, including conduct and discipline."

Directors of the Gallery (1855 – present)

  • Sir Charles Lock Eastlake PRA (1793–1865)
    Served: 1855–1865 (10 years, died in post)
    Officially appointed 2 July 1855, died in post on 24 December 1865
  • Sir William Boxall RA (1800–1879)
    Served: 1866–1874 (8 years)
    Officially appointed 13 February 1866, resigned shortly before end of second term in office
  • Sir Frederic William Burton (1816–1900)
    Served: 1874–1894 (20 years)
    Officially appointed 20 February 1874, resigned March 1894
  • Sir Edward John Poynter Bt PRA (1836–1919)
    Served: 1894–1904 (10 years)
    Officially appointed April 1894

Poynter's third term of office expired on 31 December 1904. A new Director was not appointed until 11 June 1906. In the intervening 18 months, three of the Trustees were made acting Directors

  • Sir Charles Holroyd (1861–1917)
    Served: 1906–1916 (10 years)
    Officially appointed 11 June 1906, retired at end of office, June 1916
  • Sir Charles John Holmes (1868–1936)
    Served: 1916–1928 (12 years)
    Officially appointed 4 August 1916, retired end of December 1928
  • Sir Augustus Moore Daniel (1866–1950)
    Served: January 1929 – December 1933 (5 years)
  • Sir Kenneth Mackenzie Clark (1903–1983)
    Served: January 1934 – December 1945 (11 years)
  • Sir Philip Hendy (1900–1980)
    Served: January 1946 – December 1967 (22 years)
  • Sir Martin Davies CBE Dlitt FBA FSA (1908–1975)
    Served: January 1968 – September 1973 (6 years)
  • Sir Michael Vincent Levey MVO (1927–2008)
    Served: October 1973 – December 1986 (13 years)
  • Robert Neil MacGregor (1946 –)
    Served: January 1987 – May 2002 (15 years)
  • Dr Charles Robert Saumarez Smith (1954–)
    Served: July 2002 – August 2007 (5 years)
  • Dr Nicholas Penny (1949–)
    February 2008 – present

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