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Published 11/12/2001 email E-MAIL print PRINT
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Following Neil MacGregor’s acceptance of the British Museum post, the National Gallery now finds itself, for the first time in 15 years, seeking a new director. Charles Saumarez Smith, innovative Director of the National Portrait Gallery, has already been tipped as favourite to succeed. However, Timothy Clifford, Director of the National Galleries of Scotland, could also be a strong contender (and is close to being MacGregor’s own match as a scholar, combining strong management with outstanding success and talent in raising funds for the Scottish National Galleries against all odds). Tim may not have been right for the Victoria and Albert Museum, with its complicated Board of Trustees, but London’s National Gallery is more akin in character and tradition to his present institution in Scotland. Indeed, he is well placed to take over. Incompatibility with the board of the V & A should make him more, not less, suitable to the National Gallery. Nor should he have to grapple with new building projects in quite the same way. In Clifford’s time in Edinburgh the National Galleries of Scotland have grown, as an institution, immeasurably in attendance, in quality and breadth of works, and in standing in the newly politicised world of Scottish government funding. Scotland has had a world class director, which has – until now – been London’s loss: Clifford can be relied upon to nurture and develop MacGregor’s legacy though.



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