Sir Charles Saumarez Smith CBE (C1 1967-71)

Sir Charles Saumarez Smith is Marlborough College’s answer to Winchester’s Sir Kenneth Clark in the opinion of current Head of Art, Edward Twohig. Both were innovative Directors of the National Gallery, authors of a plethora of Art books, both high profile and leading figures of wide culture and learning. 

After Marlborough, Sir Charles studied at King’s College, Cambridge where he was a scholar and gained a double first in History and the History of Art. He is currently Professor of Architectural History at the Royal Academy of Arts and Chair of The Royal Drawing School and an Emeritus Trustee of ArtUK and Charleston. 

During his tenure as Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts, Sir Charles oversaw the renovation of the Keeper’s House and the opening of Burlington Gardens, the new buildings of the RA, including a fundraising campaign and application to the Heritage Lottery Fund in the lead-up to the RA’s 250th anniversary in 2018. He was awarded a CBE in 2008 and was knighted in 2018.

Sir Charles was Director of the National Gallery from 2002 to 2007 and was responsible for major exhibitions, including Titian, Rubens, El Greco, Caravaggio and Velazquez. Before this, he was Director of the National Portrait Gallery from 1994 to 2002 where he rose to prominence for staging exhibitions by contemporary photographers, including Annie Leibovitz, Richard Avedon, Bruce Weber and fashion photographer Mario Testino. During this tenure he directed the building of the Ondaatje Wing transforming the NPG.

Sir Charles officially ‘opened’ Marlborough College’s Art School building on the 11st November 2005.