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Minutes of the Board of Trustees - 19 January 2017

Minutes of the Board meeting held on Thursday 19 January 2017


Hannah Rothschild (in the Chair)   
Lance Batchelor 
Gautam Dalal 
Professor Dexter Dalwood
Katrin Henkel
Professor Anya Hurlbert
Lord King of Lothbury
Lisa Milroy
Charles Sebag-Montefiore


Rosemary Leith
John Nelson
John Singer

In attendance

Dr Gabriele Finaldi - Director 
Dr Susan Foister - Director of Public Engagement and Deputy Director 
Larry Keith - Head of Conservation, Keeper, and Acting Director of Collections 
Chris Walker - Director of Finance and Operations 
Kate Howe - Secretary to the Board and Legal Counsel
Dr Caroline Campbell - The Jacob Rothschild Head of the Curatorial Department (items 1, 7 and 8)
Dr Christopher Riopelle - Curator of Post-1800 Paintings (item 1)
Dr Francesca Whitlum-Cooper - Associate Curator of Baroque Paintings (item1)
Paul Ackroyd - Restorer (item 1)
Jill Dunkerton - Restorer (item 1)                    
Britta New - Restorer (item 1)
Michael Cowdy - Chair of NGT and NGTF (items 5 and 6)
Julie Molloy - Managing Director of NGC (item 5)
Deborah Myers - Head of Development (items 5, 9 and, 10)
Louise Peckett - Head of Finance (items 9 and 10)

The Board met in closed session over lunch without staff before the meeting.

1. Pictures for treatment

1.1. The Board were shown in the conservation studio at the start of the meeting, following completion of treatment, Portrait of a Lady, Italian, Neapolitan (NG6254), Fruit Flowers and Dead Birds by Wybrand Hendricks (NG1015) and Portrait of a Girl, Workshop of Domenico Ghirlando (NG1230). The Board approved all three paintings as ready to go back on display.

1.2. The Board were shown for information in the course of treatment The Assassination of Saint Peter Martyr by Giovanni Bellini (NG812). The detailed structural work which had been carried out to the panel and the cradle were outlined to the Board, who were also updated on the progress in relation to treatment of the painting itself.

1.3. The Board were also shown Pardon Day in Brittany, by Pierre-Charles Poussin (NG810), which the Board were told had been acquired by the Gallery in 1870 and had not been cleaned since 1891. The Board approved the treatment proposed for this painting.

1.4. The Board were also shown in the conservation studio at the start of the meeting the painting considered for acquisition under item 7.1.

2. Declarations of interest

There were no declarations of interest.

3. Minutes of 10 November 2016 and matters arising

3.1. The Board approved the Minutes of 10 November 2016 and the Chair was authorised to sign them as a true record of the meeting.

3.2. In relation to matters arising:-

3.2.1. The Director confirmed to the Board that the Gallery’s offer to purchase 'Portrait of a Young Man in a Red Cap' by Pontormo at the price recommended by the Export Review Committee had not been accepted and the purchase would not therefore be going ahead. Information has been excluded under s36, s 40 and s 43 FOI 2000. The Board expressed their disappointment at the outcome, but congratulated the Director and staff for having successfully raised the required funds to make the matching offer bid.

3.2.2. The Chair reported that Katrin Henkel had agreed to join the Development committee.

4. Director's report

4.1. The Director presented his report to the Board.

4.2. He updated the Board on progress since June 2016 in relation to two of the Gallery’s strategic priorities, namely making the Gallery accessible to all, and inspiring learning and engagement.

4.3. In relation to making the Gallery accessible to all he highlighted the rise in visitor numbers at the Gallery from just under 6m in 2015 to 6.3m in 2016, against a backdrop of falling figures in most other London museums; the challenges facing the Gallery, including the reducing levels of grant in aid per visitor and the pressure on Gallery space; the opportunities (and projected costs) of the Gallery’s proposed new Digital Strategy; the importance of the Gallery’s national role including the contribution made through touring exhibitions and the Masterpiece Tour, the Gallery’s Subject Specialist Network and the support given to other UK museums through conservation and research collaborations.

4.4. In relation to inspiring learning and engagement he highlighted the fact that the Gallery’s own collection provided the main focus for its research; he reminded the Board of the many strands of research activity being conducted within the research centre and also reminded the Board of the number of adults and children participating in Gallery learning programmes; he also outlined for the Board the proposed programme of exhibitions involving living artists planned for the next four years. The Board asked when they would next have a full report on education numbers and were told they would receive an update on progress and plans from the Director of Public Engagement in July 2017.

4.5. The Director drew the Board’s attention to milestones of the coming year, across the Gallery.

5. Report from Managing Director of NGC

5.1. The Chair of the NGC introduced this item, welcoming the increased ambition of the company’s plans. The Managing Director presented her report to the Board. She reported on the expected out-turn for the company in the current year and on the business plan for the three years to 2020, with a particular focus on the key business areas of venue hire, cafes and restaurants and brand licensing.

5.2–5.3. Information has been excluded under s 43 FOI 2000.

6. Report from Chair of NGT and NGT Foundation

6.1. The Chair of the NGT and NGT Foundation presented his report to the Board. Information has been excluded under s 43 FOI 2000.

7. Proposed acquisitions

7.1–7.6. Information has been excluded under s 36 and s 43 FOI 2000.

8. Loans out

8.1. The Board were reminded of the issues taken into consideration when recommending loans to the Board for approval. The Jacob Rothschild Head of the Curatorial Department presented the Loans out paper, with one Addendum; she drew attention to a risk assessment in respect of one of the proposed loans.

8.2. The Board approved all the loans proposed in the Loans paper and Addendum.

8.3. The Board noted the information on loans out committed to by the Gallery for the next 18 months and it was agreed that a report in this form would be brought to the Board annually.

9. Finance and development report to 30 November

9.1. The Head of Finance presented the finance report to 30 November, highlighting contingency remaining unspent at that date and the expected year end outcome.

9.2. The Head of Development presented the development report to 30 November, including performance against target in all areas. Information has been excluded under s 36 and s 43 FOI 2000.

9.3. Information has been excluded under s43 FOI 2000.

10. Grant applications to the NGT

10.1. The Board approved the proposed grant applications to the NGT.

11. Committees of the Board

11.1. The Board noted the Minutes of the meeting of the Audit committee of 10 November 2016.

11.2. The Board noted the Minutes of the Finance committee of 10 November 2016.

11.3. The Chair reported on behalf of the Development committee (in the absence of the Committee Chair).

11.4. The Chair of the Nominations Committee reported on progress in the search for two new Trustees, and said that decisions were awaited from No 10 in relation to the appointments. She reminded the Board that it had been agreed she should step down as the Tate liaison Trustee, and proposed to the Board that Dexter Dalwood should be appointed to sit on the Tate board in her place. The Board endorsed this recommendation and appointed Dexter Dalwood as a Trustee of Tate, with immediate effect.

12. New Public Appointments Governance Code

12.1. The Board noted the paper on the new Public Governance Code on Public Appointments.

13. Exhibition report, 'Painters’ Paintings'

13.1. The Board noted the report on the Painters’ Paintings exhibition.

14. Update on Matisse, 'Portrait of Greta Moll'

14.1. The Board noted the update in respect of the claim in relation to this painting.

15. Board dates 2017

15.1. The Board noted the reminder of all board meeting dates in 2017.

16. Any other business

16.1. There being no other business, the Chair declared the meeting closed.