Jennifer Scott appointed first female director of Dulwich Picture Gallery

Scott leaves the directorship of the Holburne Museum in Bath after just two years to head the historic south London institution

Jennifer Scott, the director of the Holburne Museum in Bath, has been appointed the first female director of the Dulwich Picture Gallery since it opened in 1817.

Scott, who is leaving Bath after only two years in the post, said: “I am immensely proud to have been part of the history of this exceptional museum, particularly in leading our 100 Years Here celebrations throughout 2015. I feel I am leaving the Holburne in a position of great strength for the future. I now look forward with excitement to my new role at Dulwich Picture Gallery.”

Richard Fleck, chair of the Bath trustees, said they were very sad to lose her, but her appointment acknowledged the success and standing of the Holburne. It is the second time in the last few years that the museum has seen its director poached by a bigger museum: Scott’s predecessor, Alexander Sturgis, left to take over as director of the Ashmolean in Oxford.

The Dulwich venue, said to be the oldest purpose-built public gallery in the world, was designed by Sir John Soane to house a collection with an extraordinary history – and uniquely includes a mausoleum for its founders, the collectors and art dealers Noël Desenfans and Sir Francis Bourgeois.

In 1790 they announced that they had been commissioned to assemble a royal collection for the king of Poland. Unfortunately by the time it was complete, with masterpieces by Rembrandt, Murillo, Poussin and Rubens, Poland no longer existed and the king had been forced to abdicate. The collection was eventually left to Dulwich College, and the new building housing it opened in 1817, 21 years before the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square.

Scott, who was previously a curator at the Royal Collection, will take over in April from Ian Dejardin, who is moving after 12 years to become chief executive of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Ontario.


Maev Kennedy

The GuardianTramp

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