Saturday 24 September
The National Portrait Gallery then and now
Sir Roy Strong, historian, diarist and gardener, in 1967 became the youngest Director of the National Portrait Gallery at the age of 31. He set about transforming its stuffy image -and increasing its visitor numbers – by mounting a series of innovative and popular exhibitions (including the ground-breaking 600 Cecil Beaton portraits 1928-1968). At 38 he became the youngest Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, where his great landmark exhibitions on country houses, churches and gardens changed the perception of the Government and the public. More recently, Sir Roy designed one of Britain’s largest post-war formal gardens, The Laskett Gardens. Along the way, he has written over 40 books, including his famous three- volume Diaries*. Sir Roy Strong was made a Companion of Honour in 2016 for services to the nation’s culture.
In 2015, Dr Nicholas Cullinan, art historian and curator, became Director of the National Portrait Gallery aged 37. He had previously worked at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York – and, while at Tate Modern, he conceived and co-curated its most successful exhibition, Henri Matisse: the cut-outs (500,000 visitors).
Join Sir Roy and Nicholas as they discuss their careers and the National Portrait Gallery then and now.
*Volume 1, Splendours & Miseries 1967-1987 to be re-issued in 2017. Volume 2, Scenes & Apparitions 1988-2003 to be published November 2016.