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Minutes of the Board of Trustees - 7 May 2015

Minutes of the Board meeting held on Thursday 7 May 2015


Mark Getty (in the Chair)  
Gautam Dalal
Professor Dexter Dalwood (for items 1–6 and 16c)
Lady Heseltine
Sir Michael Hintze
Professor Anya Hurlbert
Lord King of Lothbury (for items 2–12 and 16c)
Hannah Rothschild
Charles Sebag-Montefiore (for items 1–10 and 16c)
Monisha Shah
John Singer


Lance Batchelor
John Nelson
Caroline Thomson

In attendance

Dr Nicholas Penny - Director (not for item 16c)
Dr Susan Foister - Director of Public Engagement and Deputy Director (not for item 16c)
Dr Ashok Roy - Director of Collections (not for item 16c)
Chris Walker - Director of Finance and Operations (for items 1- 8)
Kate Howe - Secretary to the Board and Legal Counsel
Larry Keith - Head of Conservation and Keeper (items 1–3)
Caroline Campbell - Curator of Italian Paintings before 1500 and Interim Head of Curatorial (items 1–3)
Letizia Treves - Curator of Italian and Spanish Paintings1600-1800 (item 1)
Betsy Wieseman - Curator of Dutch and Flemish Paintings (item 1)
Paul Ackroyd - Restorer (item 1)
Flaminia Rukavina - Conservation Fellow (item 1)    
RoseMarie Loft - Director of Change (items 1–8)
Andy Baxter - Operations Manager (item 7)
Mona Walsh - Head of Communications (items 9 and 10)
Cathryn Healey - Head of CRM (items 9 and 10)
Jane Knowles - Head of Exhibitions (item 11)

1. Pictures for treatment

The Board saw in the conservation studio following completion of treatment Portrait of the Archduke Albert, Studio of Peter Paul Rubens (NG3818), and Portrait of the Infanta Isabella, Studio of Peter Paul Rubens (NG3819) and approved them both as ready to go back on display.

The Board saw and approved the treatment proposed for An Astronomer by Ferdinand Bol (NG679) and The Birth of Venus by Peter Paul Rubens (NG1195).

The Board also saw in the course of treatment The Adoration of the Shepherds Italian, North (NG1887).

2. Declarations of interest

Anya Hurlbert declared an interest in a proposed acquisition discussed under item 12a and took no part in the discussion or decisions arising in relation to that acquisition.

3. Loans out

The Interim Head of Curatorial presented the loan paper and an addendum to that paper which was tabled to the meeting; the Board approved all the proposed loans and changes of dates.

4. Minutes of 12 March and 7 April and matters arising

The Board approved the minutes of 12 March and 7 April and the Chairman was authorised to sign each of them as true records of the respective meetings.

There were no matters arising.

5. Update on progress and plans in Development

The Head of Development presented the update on progress and plans in the Development department. She reminded the Board that it was a year since she had presented her strategy for the Development department; she updated the Board on changes to the staff structure, changes to the Patrons’ scheme and introduction of the Benefactors’ Circle and Directors’ Circle.

Information has been excluded under s 43 FOI 2000.

She reported to the Board on the successful raising of £27, 000 to secure a new frame for Titian’s An Allegory of Prudence, and said that a high percentage of those donating were members of the Gallery’s new Membership scheme.

She also reported on the launch of the Gallery’s new venue hire offer, including targets for the year of launch, and arrangements for advertising. The Board asked to receive in due course more information on the income and costs projections.

6. Director’s report

The Director’s report was noted.

The Director updated the Board on the status of trials in relation to visitor flows through the Gallery and the reasons for suspension of those trials for the time being.

7. Security and Visitor Services update

The Interim Director of Change updated the Board on progress with the partnering process; she confirmed that the Invitation to Tender had been issued and tenders were due to be received by 8 June. She updated the Board in relation to communications with staff in relation to the partnering programme.

The Head of Operations briefed the Board on the numbers of staff who had taken strike action during the most recent strike, and on the impact in relation to the closure of rooms in the Gallery.

8. Management report to 31 March

The Director of Finance and Operations presented a brief interim management report to 31 March, which showed a healthy year end outcome, thanks in part to the outstanding success of Rembrandt: The Late Works. He confirmed that the full year end figures would be presented to the next meeting. The Board were reminded of the Gallery’s reserves policy and it was agreed that this should be reviewed by the Audit committee at their next meeting.  

9. Update on progress and plans in Public Engagement

The Director of Public Engagement presented the update on progress and plans in the Public Engagement directorate. She reminded the Board that at the time of her previous update a year ago, the directorate had been embarking on serious structural changes. She updated the Board on the current staff structure within the directorate, and reminded the Board of the three key strategic objectives which the directorate supported, namely engagement with the Gallery’s audiences; maintenance and enhancement of the Gallery’s reputation and maximisation of resources and income. She updated the Board on recent key achievements and current and planned activities in relation to National Programmes, the Research Centre, Visitor Engagement, Exhibitions, Education and Communications.

10. Update on Membership

The Head of Communications and Head of CRM presented an update on Membership, reminding the Board of the objectives and ambitions for the Gallery’s Membership scheme and briefing them on the results and learnings to date.

Information has been excluded under s43 FOI 2000.

On behalf of the Board, the Chairman congratulated all those concerned on the success of the first year of the Gallery’s Membership scheme.

11. Exhibition report, 'Rembrandt: The Late Works'

The Head of Exhibitions presented the report on Rembrandt: The Late Works. She highlighted that over 265,000 visitors had seen the exhibition at the Gallery, and that very high numbers were also expected to see the exhibition at the Rijksmuseum. The exhibition had received exceptional press reviews and enjoyed wide visitor appeal. The Board noted that access to the exhibition was also increased by the 'Exhibition on Screen' film produced by Seventh Art.

12. Proposed acquisitions

Information has been excluded under s 43 FOI 2000.

13. PSI Directive and licensing re-use of Gallery images

This item was taken after item 18.

The Board considered the papers in relation to this matter: they endorsed the proposed direction of travel. They agreed that, subject to any comments from the National Archives, the Gallery’s statement of public task should be in the form or substantially in the form presented to them and they approved all other recommendations in the papers, including the recommendation to make images of Gallery paintings, to a resolution of 800 pixels, available for personal use, free of charge, under a Creative Commons licence. The Board asked that the Gallery’s policy should be reviewed in about a year’s time, in the interests of a move towards more open data.

14. Proposed extension to catering contract

The Board approved the proposed new arrangements and authorised the Director to approve and sign any agreement with the National Gallery Company required to give effect to the new arrangements.

15. Trustees introduction to the National Gallery Review

The Board approved the Trustees introduction to the National Gallery Review of the Year, subject to minor amendments.  

16. Committees of the Board

a. Minutes of Audit and Finance Committee of 12 March
The Board noted the minutes of the Audit and Finance Committees of 12 March.

b. Report from the Chair of the Development Committee
In the absence of the Chair of the Development Committee there was no report from the Development committee.

c. Report from the Chair of the Remuneration Committee
This item was taken immediately after item 1.  The Chairman reported on the meeting of the Remuneration committee earlier in the day.

Information has been excluded under s 22 and s 36 FOI 2000.

The Board endorsed the recommendations of the Remuneration Committee.


Information has been excluded under s 42 FOI 2000.

18. Estate of Miss Margaret Ann Ryan

The Board considered the paper in relation to this matter and endorsed the recommendation of the Director.

19. Any other business

There being no other business the Chairman declared the meeting closed.