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Minutes of the Board of Trustees - May 2007

Meeting held Friday 11 May 2007

The Board met without staff present at the beginning of the meeting, to discuss issues arising out of the resignation of the Director.

The staff joined the meeting.

Minutes of the last meeting and matters arising

1. The Board approved the minutes of the meeting held on 13 April 2007, which were later signed by the Chairman.

Process of Appointment of the Next Director

2. The Board approved the proposed terms of reference of the Appointment Group which were tabled at the meeting. It was agreed that the Director's contract would terminate at the end of August, but that he would be taking most of August as leave, and that accordingly, and subject to the approval of the DCMS if required, the Director of Conservation would be appointed as acting Director and the Director of Resources as Accounting Officer with effect from the end of July.

The Director of Resources confirmed that he would have to attend a training course for Accounting Officers.

Director's report

3. Visitor numbers: the Director reported that visitor numbers for April were up 2,000 on the same month last year at 386,551.

The Director emphasised the great importance of the Touring Exhibitions which were sent to Newcastle and Bristol and the fact that funding for these arrangements would come to an end in a year's time.

It was agreed that consideration should be given to how, when such funding ceased, the Gallery could continue such arrangements with regional galleries, perhaps assisted by locally raised sponsorship.

Potential acquisitions

4. The Board considered the generous offer of a gift of four paintings to the Gallery, but agreed that subject to any Trustee requesting further information within the week, the offer would be declined with thanks, as the paintings did not meet the requirements of the Gallery's acquisition policy.

Terms of Reference of the Diversity Committee

5. The Board approved the proposed Terms of Reference but agreed that the Diversity Group should not be described as a Committee of the Board. It was agreed that a draft Diversity Plan, dealing with Board membership, would be put to the Board for approval in June.

Quarterly Management Report

6. The Board noted the quarterly management report.

Minutes of the Committees of the Board

7. The Board noted the Minutes of the Audit Committee held on 13 March and the Minutes of the Finance Committee held on 13 March.

The Director of Resources made a presentation on the financial outlook for the next five years, illustrating the pressure on the Gallery's finances if grant in aid were cut in real terms in the current spending review.

It was agreed that the question of how any income deficit should be addressed would be brought back to the Board once the outcome of the current spending review was known.

The Board requested that in any event a paper dealing with strategies for increasing profitability of exhibitions should be brought to the Board in the autumn and that this should become an annual Board Agenda item.

The Board also requested that a paper dealing with strategies for raising an endowment to finance future acquisitions or building the Collection by other means should be put to the Board in October.

Loan requests and schedule of loans out

8. The Board agreed to the loan requests, including those with qualifications, recommended in the Senior Curator's paper; endorsed the Gallery's decisions to decline to lend and noted the changes of dates and venues.

Picture movements

9. The Board noted the report on picture movements. 

Pictures for treatment

10. The Conservation Department outlined to the Board the technical and scientific tests to which 'A Boy with a Bird', After Titian (NG933), had been subjected in the course of restoration and confirmed that a full article would appear in the next issue of the Gallery's Technical Bulletin, addressing the evidence as to date and attribution which had emerged. The Board commented on the success of the restoration work.

The Board also expressed their satisfaction at the cleaning and reframing of 'Portrait of Jean de la Chambre at the Age of 33' by Frans Hals (NG6411) and 'Portrait of a Young Woman' by Gerrit Dou (NG 968), in anticipation of the forthcoming exhibition ' Dutch Portraits'. The Board agreed that all three paintings were ready to go back on display.

Any other business

11. 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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