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Rethinking museum governance – an art law briefing

10 December 2021

What are the legal responsibilities of museum trustees? Are the responsibilities and duties of museum boards in the UK the same as they were, say, 20 years ago?

In the first episode of Apollo and Charles Russell Speechlys’ art law series Charles Saumarez Smith, Xavier Bray, Sarah Rowley and moderator Thomas Marks discuss the legal and ethical roles and responsibilities that museum boards and trustees face in the UK. This panel also explores how trustees can best fulfil their responsibilities in good faith and whether the focus of museum governance is likely to change as the activities and values of museums continue to evolve.

 About the speakers:

Charles Saumarez Smith has been Director of the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery and, until 2018, was Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts. He is currently chairman of the Royal Drawing School and Watercolour World, a trustee of the Garden Museum, and an Honorary Professor in the School of History at Queen Mary University.

Dr Xavier Bray is an art historian specialising in Spanish art and Director of The Wallace Collection, London, since 2016. He completed his PhD In 1999 at Trinity College, Dublin, on Goya as a painter of religious imagery. He was Chief Curator at Dulwich Picture Gallery, London and the Museum of Fine Arts, Bilbao, as well as Assistant Curator at the National Gallery. He has curated a wide range of exhibitions including ‘El Greco, Velazquez, The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture 1600-1700’, ‘Murillo & Justino de Neve: The Art of Friendship’, ‘Goya: The Portraits and Ribera: The Art of Violence’. Since joining the Wallace Collection he has overseen and co-curated several exhibitions including ‘Richard Wallace: The Collector’, ‘Henry Moore: The Helmet Heads’ and most recently with the writer William Dalrymple, ‘Forgotten Masters: Indian Painting for the East India Company’.

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