Press Release:
Bruce Boucher appointed Director of Sir John Soane’s Museum

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London, 16 February 2016 – The Trustees of Sir John Soane’s Museum have announced that Bruce Boucher has been appointed Director of Sir John Soane’s Museum.


Bruce Boucher, who is currently the Director of the Fralin Museum of Art University of Virginia, will take up the post in May 2016.

The Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, the Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP, and the President of the Royal Academy, Christopher Le Brun, have approved the appointment.

Guy Elliott, Chairman of the Trustees of Sir John Soane’s Museum, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Bruce Boucher to be our new Director. He is not only a respected scholar whose research is very relevant to our collection, but he also has a long record of success as a museum director. Sir John Soane’s Museum continues to be a platform for dialogue and debate on architecture and contemporary culture, with an important role to play nationally and internationally. The Trustees believe that, with his wealth of experience, Bruce is well positioned to lead the Museum into a new phase of development, after the Opening Up the Soane project is completed later this year.”

Bruce Boucher said: “I am honoured to serve as the next director of Sir John Soane’s Museum. I have known it over the years and have often used its marvelous collections for teaching and research. It is a national treasure with international reach in terms of its collections and the legacy of Sir John Soane’s architecture. The Soane is well positioned to play an important role in the twenty-first century through the continuing dialogue over architecture and the role it plays in modern societies.”

Bruce Boucher studied at Harvard University, Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and the Courtauld Institute of Art, where he obtained his Ph.D. He taught for over twenty years at University College in the University of London before entering the museum world as curator and head of European Sculpture, Decorative Arts, and Ancient Art at the Art Institute of Chicago (2002). He has been the recipient of several fellowships, including a Chester Dale Fellowship from the National Gallery (1975-76), a fellowship at Harvard University’s Villa I Tatti (1984-85), an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship in Bonn and Berlin (1989-90), a guest scholarship at the J. Paul Getty Museum (1993), and a Leverhulme Fellowship (2000-2001). He also attended the Getty Institute’s Museum Leadership course in 2006. His research interests have been Italian Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical architecture and art. He is the author of a number of books, among them, The Sculpture of Jacopo Sansovino (1991), Andrea Palladio: The Architect in his Time (1994, revised, 1998 and 2007), Italian Baroque Sculpture (1998), and Earth and Fire: Italian Terracotta Sculpture from Donatello to Canova (2001).

Bruce Boucher began work as director of the Fralin Museum of Art in March 2009. During his time at the Fralin, he supervised a major renovation of the museum and curated a number of exhibitions: From Classic to Romantic: British Art in an Age of Transition (2010), The Adoration of the Magi by Bartolo di Fredi: A Masterpiece Reconstructed (2012), and Cavaliers Collect, celebrating the Fralin’s 80th anniversary (2015).

In addition to the exhibitions cited above, Bruce Boucher has served on the steering committee or has been responsible for various exhibitions, among them: Andrea Palladio (Haywood Gallery, 1975); The Genius of Venice (RoyalAcademy, 1983); Donatello e i suoi (Florence, 1986); Earth and Fire: Italian Terracotta Sculpture from Donatello to Canova (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Victoria & Albert Museum, 2001-2002). He is a corresponding member of the Ateneo Veneto in Venice, president of the board of the Center for Palladian Studies in America, a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

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Sir John Soane’s house, museum and library at No. 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields has been a public museum since the early nineteenth century. On his appointment as Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy in 1806, Soane (1753-1837) began to arrange his books, classical antiquities, casts and models so that students of architecture might benefit from access to them. In 1833 he negotiated an Act of Parliament to preserve the house and collection after his death for the benefit of ‘amateurs and students’ in architecture, painting and sculpture. Today Sir John Soane’s Museum is one of the country’s most unusual and significant museums with a continuing and developing commitment to education and creative inspiration. The museum is open free: Tuesday to Saturday inclusive, 10am-5pm. It is also open on the first Tuesday evening of each month from 6-9pm. Sir John Soane’s Museum is a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) whose prime sponsor is the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.