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Minutes of the Board of Trustees – September 2010

Minutes of the Board meeting held on Thursday 2 September 2010


Mark Getty, Chairman
Simon Burke
Gautam Dalal
Professor David Ekserdjian
Professor Anya Hurlbert 
Patricia Lankester
Lady Normanby
Hannah Rothschild
Caroline Thomson


Lady Heseltine 
Michael Hintze  
John Lessore

In attendance:

Dr Nicholas Penny (Director)
Kate Howe (Secretary to the Board)
Dr Susan Foister (Deputy Director) Items 1 to 8
Jillian Barker (Director of Education, Information and Access) Items 1 to 7
David Jaffe (Senior Curator) Items 1 to 4
Larry Keith (Director of Conservation) Items 1 to 4
Jill Dunkerton (Restorer) Item 1
Paul Ackroyd (Restorer) Item 1
Greg Perry (Director of Operations and Administration) Items 7 to 12
Jane Ellis (Head of Finance) Items 9 to 12

Prior to the formal part of the meeting, Trustees were shown completed restoration work to the ceilings in Rooms 6 and 8.The Head of Buildings explained to the Board that the work which had been carried out included the removal of artificial ceilings and the restoration of plasterwork and cornice which had been damaged during the war. The rooms, along with Room 7, had been redecorated. The Gallery was also experimenting in these rooms with the use of LED lighting in concert with natural light. The Board congratulated the Buildings Department and others involved in the restoration. 

Pictures for treatment

1. The Board saw in the conservation studio following completion of treatment A Man blowing Smoke at a Drunken Woman, Another Man with a Wine Pot by Jan Steen (NG2555) and approved it as ready to go back on display.

The Board saw in the course of treatment The Adoration of the Kings by Paolo Veronese (NG268).

The Board saw and approved the treatment proposed for An English Vessel and a Man-of-War in a Rough Sea off a Coast with Tall Cliffs by Ludolf Bakhuizen (NG819).

Minutes of 17 June and 19 July and matters arising

2. The Board approved the minutes of 17 June and 19 July subject to minor amendments and the Chairman was authorised to sign them as a true record of the meetings.

Director’s report, events and visitor numbers

3. The Director presented his report to the Board. The Director reported to the Board on the status of the Gallery dispute with PCS.

The Director reported that the Gallery had agreed at the request of the Art Fund to put on displays of two paintings which they were working with regional institutions to acquire for the nation.

There was a discussion on long-term loans to the Gallery. The Director confirmed that where the Gallery accepted such a loan, it was always on condition that the painting should not be marketed while it was on display. Trustees asked that there should be a further discussion with the Board at a later meeting of the principles to be applied in relation to long-term loans to the Gallery.

Information has been excluded under s 40 and s43 FOI 2000

Loans out

4. The Board approved the proposed loans from the Collection.

Plans for Learning and Engagement

5. The Chairman welcomed the Director of Education, Information and Access to her first meeting of the Board. She presented to the Board her proposed plans for learning and engagement at the Gallery.

She outlined both the strengths and the weaknesses which she had, since joining the Gallery a year earlier, identified in those departments of the Gallery for which she was responsible. She had carried out reviews in the areas of learning, interpretation, digital, disability and visitor experience, and using these had produced a 10 point learning and engagement plan, which she outlined to the Board. The Board welcomed and thanked her for her full report.

Exhibition report, Delaroche

6. The Deputy Director presented to the Board the exhibition report for the Delaroche exhibition. She reported that the free exhibit in Room 1 of the recently rediscovered painting by Delaroche of 'Charles 1 Insulted by the Soldiers of Cromwell' had attracted large numbers of visitors, but that it had been difficult to encourage movement by visitors from that room to the exhibition in the Sainsbury Wing. The Director confirmed that this illustrated the inherent difficulties in persuading visitors to move between related exhibits in the Wilkins Building and the Sainsbury Wing of the Gallery.

Administrative status of museums

7. It was reported to the Board that the Chairman (together with other Chairs) would be attending a meeting with the Minister at DCMS at which it was expected that a clearer indication would be given of the Department’s proposals for dealing with the status of Museums and Galleries. In view of the importance of this matter, it was agreed that the Board should be updated following that meeting.

Information has been excluded under s36 FOI 2000

The North Terrace Trafalgar Square

8. The Director outlined for the Board his thoughts on the future of and possible improvements to the North Terrace; his proposals were endorsed by the Board.

Annual Report of the Audit Committee

9. The Head of Finance presented the annual report of the Audit Committee to the Board. The Committee had confirmed in their report that they were fully satisfied with the annual accounts, which they had signed on behalf of the Board. The Board noted the contents of the report and expressed their thanks to the external members of Audit Committee for all their work during the year.

Minutes of the Committee of the Board

10. The Board noted the minutes of the Audit and Finance Committees of 30 June.

The Director of Operations and Administration updated the Board on planning by the Executive for likely cuts in resource grant-in-aid which it was expected would be made as part of the Autumn CSR.  Although work was being done to seek to increase self generated income, it was likely that the bulk of any cuts would have to be addressed through efficiencies. It was intended to make provision for the costs of efficiencies in the current year’s accounts.

The Chairman of the Audit and Finance Committees reported to the Board that there had been problems with the administration of the payroll, which had resulted in many (relatively small) over and underpayments of staff, which would now have to be addressed. It was agreed that the Board should be kept updated on this matter.

Quarterly management reports to 30 June

11. The Board noted the management accounts and welcomed the fuller provision of information.

Grant applications to the AFNGL

12. The Board approved the making of the proposed grant applications to the American Friends of the National Gallery.

Nominations Committee minutes and report

13. The Board noted the minutes of the Nominations Committee of 5 July 2010.

The Chairman reported that interviews for the role of the new Trustee who would chair the Development Committee were due to take place the following day.

The Board discussed the skills and experience which should be sought when filling the vacancies which would arise in February 2011 for a commercial specialist who could assist the Gallery in increasing its self generated income, and for an artist trustee whom, it was agreed, need not necessarily be a painter. The Board commented on the draft role and person specifications.

The Board also discussed the other gaps in skills and experience on the Board which might most usefully be sought when filling future vacancies on the Board.

Any other business

14. 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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