Director of The Courtauld Institute Retires

Deborah Swallow, the director of London’s Courtauld Institute for 18 transformative years, has retired.

courtauld director deborah swallow

Deborah Swallow, the director of London’s Courtauld Institute for 18 transformative years, has retired.


The Courtauld Institute is a self-governing college within the University of London. It is the United Kingdom’s only higher education institution focused exclusively on the history and conservation of art. 

During Swallow’s tenure as Märit Rausing director of The Courtauld Institute of Art, Swallow oversaw a £57 million pound redevelopment of the university’s campus. The refurbishment took over four years with the gallery only opening last year. Now home to a series of new galleries, sponsors include LVMH and the Ukrainian-born billionaire Leonard Blavatnik.

Other major achievements during Swallow’s 18 years were the establishment of the Centre for American Art in 2016, and The Courtauld’s MA Curating Programme which arrived in 2007. Another new MA programm, specialising in Buddhist Art, History and Conservation, commences this autumn. 

In the Center for World University Rankings’ latest list, The Courtauld was adjudged 731st out of the world’s top 2,000 higher education institutions.

Lord Browne of Madingley, Chair of The Courtauld’s Governing Board, said: “During her time as Director, Deborah has worked tirelessly to realise Samuel Courtauld’s founding vision of ‘art for all’.”

He went on to thank her on behalf of the Board, “for all she has done for The Courtauld and for the generations to come who will discover its treasures anew.”

Swallow will continue to lead The Courtauld while they search for a successor. 


Header Image credit: Jim Winslet

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