Published  09/05/2002

National Gallery London coup

National Gallery London coup

The National Gallery’s everlasting ‘Treasure’, Neil MacGregor, will now save the British Library, where he moves shortly following his appointment after a long and successful term, outstanding for its combination of scholarship and intelligent financial acumen, untrammelled by the populist tendency so prevalent in leading institutions worldwide. Now, Charles Saumarez-Smith steps across from the booming National Portrait Gallery. He has a tall act to follow, remembering such eminently successful exercises as ‘Encounters’ recently, connecting contemporary masters with historic works of their preference. The National Portrait Gallery has its own successes, with less talent to draw upon in the international forum. But, given his new resource at the National Gallery, one can be confident that the promoter of Mario Testino will be able to show his real skills with such an abundance of riches available. Now we must watch, not him, but the Prince over the water (or should we say ‘Millennium Bridge’) to discover how old and new might at last collude.

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