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Minutes of the Board of Trustees – June 2010

Minutes of the Board meeting held on Thursday 17 June 2010


Mark Getty, Chairman
Simon Burke (Items 1 to 8)
Professor David Ekserdjian
Lady Heseltine
Michael Hintze (Items 1 to 5)
Professor Anya Hurlbert (Items 1 to 5)
Patricia Lankester
John Lessore
Lady Normanby
Hannah Rothschild
Caroline Thomson


Gautam Dalal

In attendance:

Dr Nicholas Penny (Director)
Kate Howe (Secretary to the Board)
Dr Susan Foister (Deputy Director) Items 1 to 7
Humphrey Wine (Curator of 17th- and 18th-Century French Painting) Item 1
Larry Keith (Director of Conservation) Items 1 to 6
Paul Ackroyd (Restorer) Item 1
Peter Schade (Head of Framing) Item 1
Britta New (Assistant Restorer) Item 1
Cathy Putz (Exhibitions Curator) Item 5
Greg Perry (Director of Operations and Administration) Items 7 to 12
Jane Ellis (Head of Finance) Items 7 to 12

Pictures for treatment

1. The Board saw in the conservation studio following completion of treatment The Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci (NG1093), A Young Princess (Dorothea of Denmark?) by Gossaaert (NG2211) and The Magdalen by Follower of Gossaert (NG2163) and approved all of them as ready to go back on display.

The attention of the Board was drawn to the fact that the Leonardo was now in an Italian 15th-century altarpiece frame, (in place of the 19th-century frame in which it has previously been displayed).The columns and top of this frame had been purchased by the Gallery specifically for the painting, and the remainder of the frame had been carved by the Gallery’s Head of Framing. The Gossaert had also been reframed in a period frame acquired for it. 

The Board also saw (for information only) following completion of treatment The Angel Appearing to Hagar and Ishmael by Guercino (L612) on long-term loan to the Gallery, and was told that it would go back on display when the completed treatment had been seen by the lender .

The Board also saw and approved the treatment proposed for The Nurture of Bacchus by Nicholas Poussin (NG39)

Acquisition proposals

2. Information has been excluded under s22, s 40 and s41 FOI 2000.

Minutes of the last meeting and matters arising

3. The Board approved the minutes of 25 March, and the Chairman was authorised to sign them as a true record of the meeting.

Information has been excluded under s 43 FOI 2000.

Director’s report, events and visitor numbers

4. The Director expanded on his written report to the Board.

In relation to the sale of floorplans, which had been instituted on an experimental basis, he said this seemed to be working well, and that the move away from the free distribution of floorplans seemed appropriate in the current economic climate.

Information has been excluded under s40 and s41 FOI 2000

Exhibition programme

5. The Board received a presentation of the draft exhibition programme to 2014, together with provisional budgets for the three main exhibitions in each year, but not for the Sunley Room and Room 1 exhibitions. The Board asked that in future, the budget should include figures for the latter. The Exhibitions Curator reminded the Board of the process for approving exhibitions, and said that some of the exhibitions in the draft programme had not yet been through the stage 2 approval process, at which there was a full examination by the Executive Committee of budgets.

The Board welcomed the draft programme, while expressing concern about some of the exhibitions which were not currently budgeted to make a profit, including the free summer exhibitions; it was confirmed that some of these might attract sponsorship, which was not yet provided for. It was confirmed that currently the Gallery was not committed to the programme beyond autumn 2011 and it was agreed that the Board would revisit the budget for the programme at the end of the year, when more detailed financial information would be available and when the financial position for the next spending round would be clearer.

Loans out

6. Professor Ekserdjian declared an interest as the curator of a forthcoming exhibition at the Royal Academy, of works from the Szépmüvészeti Museum Budapest; he took no part in the discussion of proposed loans to that museum or to the decision relating thereto.

The proposed loans from the collection were approved, save for the request to lend Cezanne’s The Stove in the Studio (NG6509) to three venues in the period September 2012 to May 2013, which it was agreed would be reconsidered, and brought back to the Board at its next meeting.

Follow up to Board strategy weekend

7. The Director of Operations and Administration outlined for the Board steps which had been taken in relation to the draft strategic plan since the strategy weekend and the further steps which were to be taken, prior to bringing the plan back to the Board in October. He confirmed that the strategic plan would take account of anticipated budgetary constraints over the next four year period.

Quarterly management reports

8. The Board noted the quarterly management reports to 31 March 2010. The Board welcomed the new financial narrative which had been produced to accompany the figures in the report. The head of finance reported on changes to the approach to the budgeting process which would be instituted in the next financial year.

Minutes of the Finance/Audit Committees 25 March

9. The minutes of the Audit and Finance Committees were noted. The Board expressed its interest in the feasibility study to be undertaken in relation to a possible Friends scheme.

Trustees' introduction to the National Gallery review

10. The Trustees’ introduction to the National Gallery review 2009-10 was approved, subject to minor proposed amendments.

Dates for the Board in 2011

11. The dates of the Board meetings in 2011 were noted.

Any other business

12. The artist trustee requested that more attention should be given to labelling of important and historically significant frames; the Director confirmed that this was an issue which the Gallery would be addressing.

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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