Past Events

Chronicling the Contemporary Summer Exhibition


  • 13 June 2018
  • 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Mark Hallett and Sarah Victoria Turner, co-curators of The Great Spectacle: 250 Years of the Summer Exhibition (on display at the Royal Academy 12 June – 19 August), will host a conversation with Christopher Le Brun, President of the Royal Academy to discuss the impact and role of the Summer Exhibition today.

Speaker Bios:

Christopher Le Brun
Born in Portsmouth and trained at the Slade and Chelsea Schools of Art in London, Le Brun first appeared in several group exhibitions, such as the influential Zeitgeist exhibition at the Martin-Gropius Bau, Berlin, and from 1980 onwards, in many solo exhibitions in Britain, Europe and America. He was a prizewinner at the John Moores Liverpool exhibitions in 1978 and 1980 and worked in Berlin during 1987-88 as guest of the DAAD artist’s programme.

Between 1990 and 2003 he served as a trustee of the Tate and subsequently of the National Gallery, a period which saw his involvement in the radical developments of Tate at Bankside, Liverpool and St. Ives as well as the masterplan and re-development of the east wing of the National Gallery.

In recent years he has been a trustee of the Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Royal (formerly Prince’s) Drawing School, which he helped to establish in 2000. In the same year he was elected Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy.

At a time when artists frequently use traditional modes or quotations in a spirit of irony, the repertoire of motifs with which his work is especially associated makes patent his strong attachment to the imagery and emotional address of Romanticism and Symbolism. His paintings ask us to attend not only to the compelling imagery he employs, but also to the poetic and structural processes through which it is made visible.

He was elected President of the Royal Academy in December 2011. He is the 26th President since Sir Joshua Reynolds and the youngest to be elected since Lord Leighton in 1878.

Mark Hallett
The Director of Studies at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and oversees all aspects of the Centre's activities, ensuring that it supports the most original, rigorous and stimulating research into the history of British art and architecture, and fosters collaboration with our sister-institution, the Yale Center for British Art

Sarah Victoria Turner
The Deputy Director for Research is responsible for the Centre's lively events programme, assists the Director and Deputy Director for Collections and Publications with all aspects of the Centre's activities, and collaborates on research projects with colleagues at the Yale Centre for British Art, as well as teaching on the Centre's Yale-in-London programme. The role also involves leading the implementation of new digital projects, such as the online journal British Art Studies.

As Deputy Director for Research, Sarah contributes to the Centre's dynamic research culture, and her own study focuses particularly on art and visual culture in Britain and the British Empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She specializes in cultural relationships between Britain and India in this period and has published widely on the display and reception of Indian art in Britain - a topic that is the focus of her forthcoming monograph, provisionally entitled Indian Impressions: Encounters with South Asia in British Art, c. 1900-1940.