The National Gallery of Ireland has announced that Caroline Campbell will be its next director. The Belfast–born Campbell will be the first woman to helm the Dublin institution since its founding in 1864. Since 2018 the chief of collections and research at the National Gallery in London, where she is also curator of Italian paintings before 1500, Campbell will in November take the reins from Sean Rainbird, who has led the National Gallery of Ireland for the past decade.
“We are thrilled to have a person of Caroline’s caliber join the Gallery team and look forward to welcoming her later this year,” said National Gallery board chair Mary Keane. “Caroline’s impressive experience, knowledge, and passion will inspire both the Gallery team and our visitors, and we eagerly anticipate seeing her vision for the Gallery brought to life in the coming years.”
Before arriving at London’s National Gallery, Campbell from 2005 to 2012 served as curator of paintings at the Courtauld Gallery, also in London. Prior to taking up that role, she worked at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Campbell is a graduate of the University of Oxford and the Courtauld Institute of Art, and is an expert in Italian painting, especially that of the Medieval and Renaissance periods. Among the exhibitions she has curated, are “Love and Marriage in Renaissance Florence” (2009) at the Courtauld and “Building the Picture: Architecture in Italian Renaissance Painting” (2014), “Duccio/Caro: In Dialogue”(2015), and “Mantegna and Bellini” (2018), all at London’s National Gallery.
Campbell credited a teenage visit to the National Gallery of Ireland with sparking her interest in becoming a curator. “For years, I carried around the postcards we bought that day,” she told the BBC. “I stuck them with Blu-Tack to my bedroom wall.”