Neil MacGregor

Before moving to the British Museum, Neil MacGregor was Director at the National Gallery (1987 – 2002).

Neil MacGregor was born in Scotland in 1946. After studying French and German at New College, Oxford, and philosophy at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, MacGregor took an LLB in Law at the University of Edinburgh and was called to the Scottish bar.

However, he decided instead to study art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. He later developed an academic career at the Courtauld and at the University of Reading.

Between 1981 and 1986, MacGregor served as the editor of 'The Burlington Magazine'. He was then appointed Director of the National Gallery in January 1987 and he remained in this position for 15 years until June 2002. MacGregor was appointed Director of the British Museum in August 2002.

During his time at the National Gallery, MacGregor raised the profile of the organisation by hosting the popular BBC television series 'Making Masterpieces' and 'Seeing Salvation'. He also oversaw the opening of the Sainsbury Wing, the refurbishment of the galleries and a complete re-hang of the collection.

Selected acquisitions

Sir Henry Raeburn: ''The Archers''
'The Archers'
Sir Henry Raeburn
Joachim Beuckelaer: 'The Four Elements: Earth'
The Four Elements: Earth
Joachim Beuckelaer
Joachim Beuckelaer: 'The Four Elements: Water'
The Four Elements: Water
Joachim Beuckelaer
Joachim Beuckelaer: 'The Four Elements: Air'
The Four Elements: Air
Joachim Beuckelaer
Joachim Beuckelaer: 'The Four Elements: Fire'
The Four Elements: Fire
Joachim Beuckelaer
Akseli Gallen-Kallela: 'Lake Keitele'
Lake Keitele
Akseli Gallen-Kallela
Théo van Rysselberghe: 'Coastal Scene'
Coastal Scene
Théo van Rysselberghe
Francesco Pesellino: 'The Triumph of David'
The Triumph of David
Francesco Pesellino
Attributed to Clarisse Master: 'The Virgin and Child'
The Virgin and Child
Master of the Clarisse (possibly Rinaldo da Siena)
George Stubbs
Hans Wertinger: 'Summer'
Hans Wertinger
Albrecht Dürer: 'Saint Jerome'
Saint Jerome
Albrecht Dürer
Francisco de Zurbarán: 'A Cup of Water and a Rose'
A Cup of Water and a Rose
Francisco de Zurbarán
Thomas Jones: 'A Wall in Naples'
A Wall in Naples
Thomas Jones
Lucas Cranach the Elder,  Portrait of Johann the Steadfast
Portrait of Johann the Steadfast
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Portrait of Alexander Mornauer
Master of the Mornauer Portrait
Paul Cézanne: 'Avenue at Chantilly'
Avenue at Chantilly
Paul Cézanne
Nicolas Poussin: 'The Finding of Moses'
The Finding of Moses
Nicolas Poussin
Caspar David Friedrich: 'Winter Landscape'
Winter Landscape
Caspar David Friedrich
Workshop of Robert Campin (Jacques Daret?): 'The Virgin and Child in an Interior'
The Virgin and Child in an Interior
Workshop of Robert Campin (Jacques Daret?)