National Galleries name Anne Lyden Director-General

Anne Lyden

National Galleries of Scotland announced the appointment of Anne Lyden as its new Director-General.

Lyden was most recently Interim Co-Director of Collection and Research.

She will be the first ever female Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland.

Current Director-General John Leighton will step down on December 31, 2023, following a 17-year tenure and Lyden will take up the role on January 1, 2024.

The National Galleries of Scotland is home to Scotland’s art collection, with three galleries – the National, Modern and Portrait – in Edinburgh.

The process of recruiting the new Director-General began earlier this year and was led by the Chair of the National Galleries of Scotland Board of Trustees, Benny Higgins, and a committee of Trustees.

Higgins said: “I am thrilled that we have appointed Anne Lyden as our new Director-General. Anne brings a strong understanding of the national collection and our talented people, together with extensive international experience.

“Over the past few months, we embarked on a rigorous search to find our next Director-General, resulting in us speaking to many people across the UK and internationally.

“Following a thorough recruitment process, we know we have the right person to lead the National Galleries of Scotland into the future.

“Anne’s strong personal values and leadership style, coupled with her knowledge of art, will see us deliver on our strategic commitments and I am looking forward to working with her.”

Born in West Dunbartonshire, Lyden grew up in Clydebank and studied History of Art at the University of Glasgow, and Museum Studies at the University of Leicester. She held various curatorial positions at J.Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, where she worked for 18 years from 1995 to 2013, latterly in the role of Associate Curator before joining the National Galleries of Scotland.

Lyden said: “I am looking forward to this incredible opportunity to lead the National Galleries of Scotland in the next chapter of its impressive history.

“It is my great privilege to continue the excellent work led by Sir John and colleagues over the years, most recently the success of the new Scottish galleries at the National.

“I am eager to continue my work with Trustees, colleagues, community partners, audiences, artists, and supporters in realising our plans for the future including The Art Works, our new collections facility in North Edinburgh. Having worked with the national collection and a wide range of colleagues over the last ten years, I am delighted to continue this experience of making art accessible to everyone.”