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Minutes of the Board of Trustees - December 2009

Minutes of the Board meeting held on Thursday 3 December 2009


Mark Getty, Chairman
Simon Burke (for items 1 to 7)
Gautam Dalal (not for item 1)
Professor David Ekserdjian
Lady Heseltine
Michael Hintze
Professor Dame Julia Higgins (not for item 1)
Lord Kerr (for items 1 to 5)
Patricia Lankester (not for item 1)
John Lessore
Lady Normanby
Hannah Rothschild (not for item 1)
Caroline Thomson (for items 1 to 7)

In attendance:

Dr Nicholas Penny (Director)
Martin Wyld (Director of Conservation)
Kate Howe (Secretary to the Board)
Dr Susan Foister (Director of Collections) for items 1 to 7 (part)
David Jaffé (Senior Curator) for items 1 to 7(part)
Larry Keith (Restorer) for items 1 to 7 (part)
Dawson Carr (Curator of Italian and Spanish 1600-1800) for item 1
Luke Syson (Curator of Italian paintings 1460-1500) for item 1
Jill Dunkerton (Restorer) for item 1
Cathy Putz (Head of Exhibitions) for item 5
Sarah Ward (Director of Public Affairs and Development) for item 8
Laura Dee (Head of Individual Giving and Trusts) for item 8
Greg Perry (Director of Operations and Administration) for items 9 to 11
Jane Ellis (Head of Finance) for items 9 to 11

Pictures for treatment

1. The Board saw following completion of treatment Lord Heathfield of Gibraltar by Sir Joshua Reynolds (NG111) and The Virgin and Child with Two Angels by Andrea  del Verrocchio (NG296) and approved them as ready to go back on display. 

The Board saw in the course of treatment A Young Princess (Dorothea of Denmark?) by Gossaert (NG2211), and for information only The Angel appears to Hagar and Ishmael by Guercino (L612).

The Board saw and approved the treatment proposed for A Man Blowing Smoke at a Drunken Woman, Another Man with a Wine-pot by Jan Steen (NG2555), for A Merry Company at Table by Hendrick Pot (NG1278) and for Mrs Oswald by Zoffany (NG 4931).

The Director confirmed to the Board that Larry Keith, who would be taking over as Director of Conservation in 2010, would present a report to the Board on proposed future work of the department in 2010.

Minutes of the last meeting and matters arising

2. The Board approved the minutes of the meeting held on 1 October 2009.  They were later signed by the Chairman.

Loans out

3. The Board considered the proposed revised Loans Out policy and Loans out risk management statement. The Director of Collections explained that the risk management statement had been amended, in particular, to address the issues which arose if a loan was proposed to a country which could not offer the protection of immunity from seizure legislation, and if the painting requested was one which had an incomplete provenance for the period 1933-45, or if some other specific risk of seizure was identified in relation to the painting.

In these circumstances, the revised risk management statement provided for a risk assessment to be carried out, which would be considered by the Board at the time when they were asked to approve the loan. The Board approved the amended policy and risk management statement, subject to one minor amendment, and it was confirmed that both would in due course be published on the Gallery’s website.

The Director of Collections said that a review had been carried out of loans agreed but not yet made, to establish whether any fell into the category which the revised risk management statement was designed to identify, and to carry out risk assessments ( to be considered by the Director and Chairman ) where necessary. The Board endorsed this process.

The Board noted the current list of pre-eminent paintings, referred to in point  2.2.1 of the revised Loans Out policy, as tabled to the meeting .

The Board approved proposed loans from the Collection. The Artist Trustee asked to be reminded of the Gallery’s policy in relation to second requests for loans which had been previously rejected. It was confirmed that second requests would generally only be considered if additional information was forthcoming which had not been put forward with the initial request.

Picture movements

4. The Board noted the report on picture movements.

Exhibition report, Corot to Monet

5. The Head of Exhibitions reported on the Corot to Monet exhibition, which she confirmed was the first in a projected series of summer exhibitions which would focus on paintings from the Permanent Collection. She reported that the exhibition had attracted over 183,000 visitors, and had been well received by the critics.

The Board considered the financial outcome of the exhibition; it was noted that sales of catalogues had been disappointing, when compared with previous exhibitions of this kind, although it was noted that the catalogue was one of lasting interest, which would in all likelihood continue to sell. The Chair of the Development committee regretted that sponsorship had not been secured for this exhibition, but said that there was no reason why free exhibitions should not be attractive to sponsors, provided the exhibition programme was fixed 2-3 years ahead.

Digital image projects

6. Information has been excluded under s 41 and 43 FOI 2000.

Director’s report

7. The Director reported to the Board that he wished to make the Director of Collections the Deputy Director of the Gallery, following Martin Wyld ‘s retirement; the Senior Curator would in future take responsibility for liaison between the Curatorial and Conservation departments, as well as a more formalised role in relation to acquisitions.

The Director updated the Board on discussions in relation to a proposed television programme, and the Board authorised him to take the proposal forward.

The Director reported to the Board on concerns on the part of the Gallery and other UK institutions with regard to new CEN packing standards, and confirmed that everything that could be done to communicate these concerns was being done, in collaboration with the NMDC.

The Director reported on the excellent attendance figures for the Sacred Made Real exhibition, which were greatly exceeding estimates.

Information has been excluded under s 41 and 43 FOI 2000.

George Beaumont Group membership review

8. The Head of Individual Giving and Trusts reported to the Board on proposed changes to the George Beaumont membership scheme, including proposed changes to the management of the scheme and plans to build membership.

Budget 2010-11

9. The Director of Operations and Administration reported to the Board on progress to date in the process of arriving at a budget for 2010-11. He confirmed that, with the assistance of KPMG, a number of areas had been identified where, as a matter of best practice, efficiencies and savings might be found; at the same time, attention was being given to possible increases in self generated income.  A draft budget would be brought to the Board for consideration in February 2010.

Audit and Finance Committees

10. The Board noted the minutes of the meetings of the Audit and Finance Committees on 1 October 2009 and also noted the key risks, as set out in the Gallery’s Risk Register. The Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee reminded the Board that an additional member might need to be appointed to those committees and asked that names be proposed. 

Quarterly management report

11. The Board noted the quarterly management report to September 30 2009. The Head of Finance said that it was not anticipated that there would be any significant surplus at the year end.

Nominations Committee minutes of 30 September 2009

12. The Chairman updated the Board in relation to the process of the search for a new Scientist Trustee to succeed Julia Higgins; he said that once that search was complete, the Nominations Committee would come to the Board with recommendations in relation to filling the two other vacancies on the Board. He also said that John Kerr had kindly agreed to continue to Chair the Gallery’s Development Committee until a successor for this role was found.

Any other business

13. The Scientist Trustee reported to the Board that the annual meeting of the Gallery’s Scientific Consultative Group which had taken place the previous week had been extremely successful.

There was a brief report from the Tate Liaison Trustee on the speech given by George Osborne to the Tate Family Conference, at which he was the key note speaker, and had expressed his commitment to free admission for the national museums and galleries.

The Chairman, on behalf of the Board and of the Gallery, expressed the warmest gratitude to Martin Wyld, the retiring Director of Conservation, who was attending his final Board meeting, for his remarkable service to the Gallery since 1966.

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

Copies of previous Board minutes can be obtained from the Libraries and Archive department.

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.

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