Charles Saumarez Smith is the second Director in the Gallery's history to have joined after a directorship at the National Portrait Gallery, following in the footsteps of Charles John Holmes.
Born in 1954, Saumarez Smith studied at King’s College, Cambridge, Harvard University and the Warburg Institute of the University of London.
In 1979 he was elected Christie’s Research Fellow at Christ’s College, Cambridge. In 1982 he joined the staff of the Victoria and Albert Museum as Assistant Keeper with special responsibility for the V&A and Royal College of Art MA in the History of Design. In 1990 he was appointed Head of Research at the V&A and in 1994 he became Director of the National Portrait Gallery.
In July 2002 Saumarez Smith moved from the National Portrait Gallery to become Director of the National Gallery. During his time at the Gallery he successfully managed the major fund-raising campaign to acquire Raphael’s Madonna of the Pinks. He oversaw the completion of the East Wing Project, which opened up new facilities and a new entrance for the visiting public.
Saumarez Smith resigned as Director of the Gallery in August 2007 following his acceptance of the post of Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts.