LOOKING AHEAD: Christopher Baker has been appointed as the new director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Picture: Stewart Attwood
Christopher Baker, who has been deputy director at the Scottish National Gallery since 2003, was unveiled as the successor to James Holloway, who resigned earlier this year.
Mr Baker takes over a gallery that has not only recently undergone a successful £17.6 million redevelopment, but is now in the running for the £100,000 Art Fund Prize.
He said photography and "new media" would become a central feature of the popular gallery under his reign and he would also work on bringing in new loans from national and international museums and galleries to add to the gallery's collections.
"Photography is a very important part of our identity and we have some wonderful collections," he said.
"Portrait gallery roles have changed, from the Victorian idea of showing the great and good to what we do now, depicting the nation's communities and identity, while still focusing on those people who have great achievement.
"The Scottish National Portrait Gallery has been brilliantly redeveloped and it is a privilege to be given the opportunity to work with a much-admired national institution and such an outstanding and wide-ranging collection on the next stage of its development."
Mr Baker, who will take up his new role on August 1, was previously curator at Christ Church Picture Gallery in Oxford and has organised some of the Scottish National Gallery's most successful exhibitions, such as The Discovery of Spain and Turner and Italy (both 2009), and written the gallery's permanent collection catalogue of English Drawings and Watercolours 1600-1900 (2011).
John Leighton, director general of the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) said: "This vacancy was hotly contested by a strong field of candidates from this country and from abroad.
"Christopher Baker has an extremely impressive record as a curator and a manager. We are delighted that he has emerged as the outstanding leader to build on the recent successes of the newly re-opened gallery."
Ben Thomson, chairman of the NGS, said: "The board is confident that Christopher will be an inspiring new leader for the gallery who, with freshness and vigour, will be able to build on our aspirations for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery to be at the centre of Scotland's heritage."