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Minutes of the Board of Trustees - July 2008

Meeting held Friday 11 July 2008


Peter Scott (Chairman)
Professor David Ekserdjian
James Fenton
Mark Getty
Lady Heseltine
Professor Dame Julia Higgins
Michael Hintze
Patricia Lankester
John Lessore
Lady Normanby
Ranjit Sondhi


Simon Burke
Lord Kerr
Professor Mervyn King

In attendance

Dr Nicholas Penny (Director)
Martin Wyld (Director of Conservation)
Kate Howe (Secretary to the Board)
David Jaffé (Senior Curator) for items 1 and 2
Larry Keith (Restorer) for item 1
Susan Foister (Director of Collections) for items 6 to 10

Pictures for treatment

1. The Board agreed that 'A Lady teaching a Child to read, and a Child playing with a Dog ( ‘La Maîtresse d’école’)' by Caspar Netscher (NG844) was ready to go on display and commented on the success of the restoration carried out; the Board saw in the course of treatment 'A Distant View of the Dordrecht, with a Milkmaid and Four Cows and Other Figures (‘The Large Dort’)' by Albert Cuyp (NG961). The Board approved the treatment proposed for 'Christ healing the Paralytic at the Pool of Bethesba' by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (NG5931).

Loans out

2. The Board noted the report on loans out. The Artist Trustee queried the necessity of lending Titian’s 'Portrait of a Lady (‘La Schiavona’)' (NG 5385); the reasons for agreeing this loan on this occasion were explained to the Board and accepted by them.

The Director confirmed that, when once the new procedures for approval of loans out, which had been discussed and agreed by the Board, were in operation, this painting was one of those which would only be lent with express Board approval.

Minutes of the last meeting and matters arising

3. The Board approved the minutes of the meeting held on 6 June 2008. They were later signed by the Chairman.

Information has been excluded under s41 and 43 FOI 2000.

Director’s report

4. The Director brought to the attention of the Board , in addition to the matters covered in his written report on Fundraising, additional sponsorship for the Renaissance Faces exhibition.

The Director reported on the recent one day strike, on Friday 4 July, by members of Prospect; he confirmed that the action taken on that day had not been restricted to the National Gallery. He said that the Head of HR was preparing a list of Q&A’s in relation to some of the matters of concern to staff; these would be made available to staff shortly. The Board asked to be kept fully informed about the current and any proposed future industrial action.

Information has been excluded under s43 FOI 2000

Strategy for Acquisitions, Loans and Exhibitions

5. The Board approved a paper outlining strategic direction for acquisitions, loans and exhibitions, subject only to agreeing that, in relation to the programme for exhibitions, the Board should see, on a regular basis, a multi-annual programme of planned exhibitions, which should aim to break even in financial terms, taking one year with another. Annual retrospective reports on performance should be reviewed by the Audit Committee.


6. The Board noted the report on the Batoni exhibition and regretted the cutting of the publicity budget for this exhibition, which it was felt had contributed to the very disappointing visitor numbers. In response to a query raised the Director confirmed that, under both past and proposed new exhibition planning procedures, the development office, who were responsible for seeking exhibition sponsorship, were involved in the planning process.

The Board approved the proposed Due Diligence Policy for Loans to the National Gallery.

History Collection

7. The Board welcomed the paper in relation to the Gallery’s History Collection and noted that this included works which illuminate and celebrate the history of the Gallery, while not being eligible for inclusion in the Permanent Collection.

The Board approved the proposed policy in relation to the History Collection, subject only to agreeing that any proposal to acquire a work of art which might be incorrectly construed by those outside the Gallery as being part of the Permanent Collection (whether because it was to be displayed in a public part of the Gallery or for some other reason) should be approved by the Board.

Trustees Introduction to the National Gallery Review

8. The Board approved the Trustees’ Introduction to the National Gallery Review subject to minor amendments.

Picture Movements

9. The Board noted the report on picture movements.

Any other business

10. Mark Getty noted that this was the last Board meeting of Peter Scott. He referred to the enormous contribution made by the Chairman to the Gallery over the last nine years and the Board joined him in thanking the Chairman profusely for all he had done for the Gallery.

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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