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Monday, August 16, 1999 Published at 18:29 GMT 19:29 UK


Former RA president dies

Sir Hugh submitted to the Academy's exhibitions

Sir Hugh Casson, architect and former president of the Royal Academy, has died after a long illness, aged 89.

Exhibitions held at the Academy while Sir Hugh was president included the Horses of San Marco (1979), The Great Japan Exhibition (1982) and The Genius of Venice (1983).

He was a friend of the Royal Family and has been described as the artistic mentor of the Prince of Wales.

The offices of the Queen and the Prince of Wales had been informed of Sir Hugh's death, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said.

The Academy said it had expanded dramatically under his presidency.

"As well as increasing the number of annual exhibitions held at the RA, Sir Hugh also increased the amount of exhibiting space by using the Fine Rooms of the RA as well," it said in a statement.


"One of the very first changes he made as president was to establish the Friends organisation and the corporate membership scheme in January, 1977, in order to give the Academy more financial stability.

"Since retiring as president, Sir Hugh has been an active member of the Royal Academy and annually submitted to the summer exhibition where his watercolours and prints have been particularly sought after."

Sir Hugh was elected a member of the RA in 1970.

He was also director of architecture for the Festival of Britain 1951, Professor of Environmental Design (1953-75) and Provost (1980-86) of the Royal College of Art and a member of the Royal Fine Art Commission (1960-1983).

He is survived by wife Margaret and three daughters.

Current RA president Sir Philip Dowson said: "The Royal Academy, and the visual arts generally, will remain greatly in his debt."

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