First Woman Appointed to Chair London’s National Gallery

Hannah Rothschild. Photo by Harry Cory Wright, courtesy of the National Gallery, London.

With it’s latest announcement, London’s National Gallery has made history. The reputed art museum has appointed the writer and documentary film-maker Hannah Rothschild as its new chair, making her the first woman to hold the post in the institution’s history.

“From a very young age, the National Gallery has been a source of inspiration and solace,” Rothschild said in a statement. “It is a great honor to be elected as its chair […] and to work with fellow trustees to ensure the collection is protected, that general admission remains free and that the National Gallery’s exhibition, education, science, academic and conservation programs continue to be internationally respected and challenging.”

Rothschild, who has served on the museum’s board since 2009, will succeed Mark Getty in the post. She will start her tenure in August 2015 and serve for two years, at which time the appointment can be renewed.

Rothschild is well known for her documentaries and films, including The Jazz Baroness and Keeping up with the Medici, which have been shown on the BBC, HBO, and PBS. In 2012, she published The Baroness, returning to one of her favorite subjects: her great-aunt Pannonica de Koenigswarter, who walked out of her aristocratic life to follow and support the jazz musician Thelonious Monk.

Meanwhile, the search for a new director of the National Gallery is still underway. It’s current director, Nicholas Penny, announced this past summer that he would retire in early 2015.

Penny praised Rothschild’s appointment in a statement, saying, “Hannah Rothschild has defended the National Gallery interests and supported its ambitions with energy and imagination. She will be an exceptionally committed Chair.”

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.