Charles Saumarez Smith is an art historian based in London. He was formerly Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy (2007–18) and director of the National Gallery (2002–07). 

Whitechapel foundry Alan Hughes

It’s time for the Whitechapel Bell Foundry to get back to business

Plans to transform London’s oldest working factory into a hotel have, happily, fallen through – but with the site back up for sale, its future is still uncertain

The Whitechapel Bell Foundry. Photo: Thomas Marks

The sad, shameful demise of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry

The appeal to save Britain’s oldest place of manufacture has been rejected and the foundry will become a boutique hotel. How could Historic England have let this happen?

Here for culture? Oliver Dowden, the UK culture secretary

The culture minister should take an interest in museums – but he can’t tell them how to interpret the past

It’s no bad thing for the government to sit down with museum directors, says Charles Saumarez Smith, but imposing its own version of history is another matter

Neil MacGregor, then director of the British Museum, at ‘Art and Empire: Treasures from Assyria in the British’, an exhibition at the Shanghai Museum in 2006.

We’re on the brink of Brexit – so isn’t it time the UK formed stronger cultural ties around the globe?

France, China, and other countries are leading the way on cultural diplomacy. When will the UK catch up?

Oil slick – the smooth dealings of Calouste Gulbenkian

Where both petroleum and art were concerned, the 20th-century tycoon positioned himself for rich pickings

The new Wohl Entrance Hall.

The making of the new Royal Academy – an insider’s view

The RA’s Secretary and Chief Executive traces the history of the institution’s redevelopment

Letter from São Paulo

Charles Saumarez Smith reflects on the art market in Brazil as the 14th edition of SP-Arte takes place

The Whitechapel Bell Foundry, whose history dates back to 1420, is to close its premises in May 2017

What will become of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry?

Britain’s oldest manufacturing company, whose origins date back to 1420, is to close this May. What will happen to its historic home?

12 Days: Highlights of 2016

Charles Saumarez Smith looks forward to the new Tate Modern and Design Museum buildings, the V&A’s rethink of Botticelli and Pallant House’s British art displays

An Unexpected Discovery at the Royal Academy

The long lost Charter of the Society of Artists has been found in a box of ‘Artists’ Memorabilia’

12 Days: Highlights of 2015

An exceptional selection of exhibitions are opening in London this year, and some major museum openings are taking place further afield