Kenneth Clark’s directorship of the National Gallery

Date and time

Monday 24 April, 1–1.45pm

Sainsbury Wing Theatre

James Stourton


Admission free

James Stourton considers Kenneth Clark’s time as Director of the National Gallery.

Clark’s tenure as Director was marked by controversy but also constituted 11 years of steady achievement in which the Gallery moved from an inward-looking organisation towards far greater engagement with the needs of the visiting public.

This was underlined by his brilliant wartime leadership during which time the Gallery achieved a higher level of popularity with the public despite being emptied of its treasures.

James Stourton

James Stourton is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London. He left Sotheby's after a 30-year career culminating as Chairman. He is author of many books, most recently ‘Kenneth Clark: Life, Art and Civilisation’.

Lunchtime talks

Focus in on one painting with our talks in the Gallery, or explore wider themes in the collection at our in-depth theatre talks.

Supported by the John Armitage Charitable Trust

Image above: Detail from Titian's Noli me Tangere, about 1514 – the National Gallery's first 'Picture of the month' which was instigated by Kenneth Clark in 1941