Meeting held on Friday 5 May 2006
Minutes of the last meeting and matters arising
1. The Board approved the minutes of the last meeting held on 7 April 2006 which were then signed by the Chairman.
Minute 1, acquisitions sub-group: the Chairman thanked Professor King for agreeing to take on the chairmanship of the acquisitions sub-group.
Minute 4, visitor numbers: the Director reported on a useful meeting with Westminster City Council about banners on Trafalgar Square, particularly in relation to the Velázquez exhibition, and on signage further afield on the routes from Charing Cross main and underground stations and Leicester Square tube station. The question of clear signage to the Gallery being maintained during events in the Square was also on the agenda.
2. Exhibitions: the Director reported that 'Bellini in the East' had been well received so far and, because of its subject matter, probably appealed to a wide range of visitors. The attendance figures for 'Americans in Paris' remained satisfactory at 65,000 so far, about 86% of budget.
The Chairman said he had asked the Gallery to undertake more research to establish which were the most effective ways of attracting new visitors. It was also suggested that more visitor research relating to exhibitions would be useful, partly to provide information on how best to promote them.
The Chairman reported on a meeting which had taken place the day before in the Gallery at which the Chairmen of NMGs had discussed the possibility of co-ordinated publicity for London museums in the run-up to the Olympics and of late opening taking place in all museums on the same evening.
Visitor figures: the April figures continued to show an improvement, approaching the average number for the month over the past ten years.
The collection post 1900
3. The Board discussed the 1996 agreement between the National Gallery and the Tate which was due for renegotiation or renewal in 2007. The Liaison Committee had met on 24 April from which it appeared that the two Directors had made progress towards drafting a new formula acceptable to both institutions.
The Board favoured renegotiation rather than renewal and recommended that the two Directors should continue to work together to produce a draft revised agreement.
4. (a) The Director reported on the success of the touring exhibitions which were the main feature of the Gallery’s partnership with Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery and the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, and which were set to continue until 2008. The Gallery would be reviewing its regional policy and considering what new collaborations might follow.
(b) The Board agreed to the loans as recommended in the Senior Curator’s paper with one exception. They required more information about the exhibition, Tiziano. Ultima Stagione, at the Palazzo Crepadona in Belluno, before coming to a decision on the loan of NG3948.
Professor Ekserdjian had declared a possible conflict of interest in relation to the request for the loan of NG4680 to Apsley House and took no part in either the discussion of or the decision on that item.
The Board agreed to the loans as recommended with qualifications by the Senior Curator; endorsed the Gallery’s decisions to decline to lend as put forward in his paper; and noted the change of dates of the exhibition, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, at the Caixa Forum Centre in Barcelona to which the Gallery had agreed to lend NG6445; and the changed closing date, from 28 May to 18 June 2006 for the exhibition, From Herrera to Velazquez: Sevillian Painting at the Crossroads of 1600 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Bilbao (Gallery loan: NG232).
Quarterly management report
5. The Board noted the quarterly management report for the year ended 31 March 2006.
The Chairman took the opportunity to congratulate and thank again all those involved in the organisation of the highly successful gala evening.
Risk management statements
6. The Board approved the risk management statements subject to a number of minor amendments noted by the Director of Administration and carried out immediately after the meeting. The Board also approved the publication of the statements on the Gallery’s website.
Minutes of Board Committees
7. The Board noted the minutes of the meeting of the Trustees Masterplan Committee held on 31 March 2006.
The Chairman stressed the importance of the development of the masterplan and urged Trustees not to hesitate to raise any issues of concern arising from these or other minutes of this Committee either with himself or the Director.
Pictures for treatment
8. The Board saw work in progress on NG3896, 'Saint Anthony Abbot', by Giovanni di Nicola and on NG197, 'Philip IV hunting Wild Boar (La Tela Real)', by Diego Velázquez, which was nearing completion.
9. The Board noted the report on picture movements.
There was no other business and the Chairman brought the meeting to a close.
Confidential and sensitive information has been excluded from these published minutes in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000