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Minutes of the Board of Trustees - September 2008

Meeting held Friday 5 September 2008


Mark Getty (Chairman)
Simon Burke
Professor David Ekserdjian
James Fenton
Lady Heseltine
Lord Kerr
Patricia Lankester
John Lessore
Lady Normanby
Ranjit Sondhi (for items 4 to 13)
Caroline Thomson


Professor Dame Julia Higgins
Michael Hintze
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
Dillian Gordon (Curator of Italian paintings before 1460) for item 1
Dawson Carr (Curator of Italian and Spanish1600-1800) for item 1
Luke Syson (Curator of Italian paintings 1460-1500) for item 1
Jill Dunkerton (Restorer) for item 1
Paul Ackroyd (Restorer) for item 1
Hayley Tomlinson (Assistant Restorer) for item 1
Susan Foister (Director of Collections) for item 6
Bruce Minty (Director of Resources) for items 7 to 12

Pictures for treatment

1. The Board saw, following completion of treatment, 'The Virgin and Child' and 'The Man of Sorrows', both Italian, Umbrian (?) (NG6572 and NG 6573), which had been cleaned by the Director of Conservation. The Board agreed that they were ready to go back on display, and were told that they would be returned to the main floor before being lent to the Royal Academy.

The Board saw in the course of treatment 'Christ healing the Paralytic at the Pool of Bethesba' by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (NG5931) which had been partially cleaned. It was agreed that the Board should see it again when fully cleaned.

The Board also saw in the course of treatment 'The Virgin and Child with Two Angels' from the Workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio (NG296) and 'Christ Crowned with Thorns Attributed' to Lo Spagna (NG 691).

Loans out

2. The Board noted the report on loans out. It was confirmed that new procedures for approval of loans out would be put in place in the course of the autumn, taking into account recently agreed changes of policy, and in particular the proposed change under which loans out of certain key paintings would require Board approval.

The Board also requested that they should be kept informed of how many such paintings were out on loan at any one time; it was confirmed that under existing and new arrangements, they would receive an annual report on trends in loans out.

Minutes of the last meeting and matters arising

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

Information has been excluded under s43 FOI 2000

Director’s report

4. The Director reported that he was engaged in consideration of staff reorganisation. This would take place in conjunction with the recruitment of a permanent Director of Resources or Administration and the recruitment of a new Director of Education, who would have increased responsibilities.

The Director reported on the failure to raise funding in the form of a DCMS / Wolfson grant for works to the Sunley roof. The Board agreed that it was necessary for these works to proceed without delay and that these should if necessary be funded from internal resources.

The Board expressed its gratitude to Mr Shigeru Myojin and Mr Sherif Nadar for their generous support of a curatorial post, and to the Pilgrim Trust for its contribution to the Eastlake Diaries Project.

The Board commented on the excellent current and proposed advertising for the Radical Light exhibition, late night opening and the permanent Collection, which was being funded by Credit Suisse, and recorded their thanks to Emma Collings for her work in relation to the establishment of the Partnership.

The Director drew the attention of the Board to the upward trend in visitor numbers during July; and said that the permanent Collection also appeared to have been very well attended during August.

It was confirmed that the Board would be presented with a revised Exhibitions strategy during the course of the autumn, and a preview of the exhibitions planned for the next three years.

Information has been excluded under s43 FOI 2000.

Proposed acquisitions

5. Information has been excluded under s 43 FOI 2000

MLA accreditation: acquisition and disposal policy

6. The Board discussed the proposed Policy, and agreed that it would not be current policy in relation to disposals from the Collection, (which under the terms of the Museums and Galleries Act 1992 could in any event only be made to certain other specified national museums and galleries) to make disposals for anything other than curatorial reasons. In particular, disposals would not be made primarily for financial reasons. The Director of Collections was asked to finalise the policy, taking this into account, and to submit the same to the MLA. It was agreed that the policy would be reviewed no later than September 2011.

Staff pay and conditions

7. The Board were given a copy of the Notice issued by Prospect at the time of the recent one day strike, and an explanation of the issues highlighted in that Notice. The Director of Resources commented on the impact of the one day strike (which had not resulted in any room closures) and the continuing industrial action by Prospect members.

Minutes of committees of the Board

8. In the absence of the Chairman of the Audit and Finance Committee, the Director of Resources reported on the Minutes of the Audit and Finance Committees. The external Audit report had been good and Jane Ellis, Deputy Head of Finance, had been commended by the Committee for her excellent work.

The Director reported, with regard to recommendation 2 in the report on damage to Beccafumi’s Marcia that he was proposing to make some changes of staff responsibility for administration of exhibitions.

The Minutes were noted by the Board.

Quarterly management report

9. The Board noted the quarterly management report.

Trustees Conflict of Interest Policy and updated Trustees’ Handbook

10. The Board approved the revised Conflict of Interest Policy, and approved the updated Trustees’ Handbook, subject to requesting that it should be amended by the addition of a diagram showing Gallery management structures and committees, key staff responsibilities, and current membership of Board committees.

Grant application to AFNGL

11. The Board approved the proposed application to AFNGL for a grant of $25,000 to support the 'National Gallery Technical Bulletin, Volume 30'.

Picture movements

12. The Board noted the report on picture movements.

Any other business

13. 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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