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Minutes of the Board of Trustees – September 2011

Minutes of the Board meeting held on Thursday 22 September 2011


Mark Getty, Chairman
Lance Batchelor
Gautam Dalal
Dexter Dalwood
Professor David Ekserdjian
Professor Anya Hurlbert
Patricia Lankester (for items 6–17)
John Nelson
Lady Normanby
Hannah Rothschild
Caroline Thomson


Lady Heseltine
Michael Hintze

In attendance

Dr Nicholas Penny (Director)
Dr Susan Foister (Deputy Director)
Kate Howe (Secretary to the Board)     
David Jaffe (Senior Curator) items 1–3
Larry Keith (Director of Conservation) items 1–3 and item 9, part
Dawson Carr (Curator of Italian and Spanish 1600–1800) item 1
Carol Plazzotta (Myojin Curator of 16th Century Italian paintings) item 1
Jill Dunkerton (Conservator) item 1
Sarah Ward (Director of Public Affairs and Development) item 6, part
Jillian Barker (Director of Education, Information and Access) item 8
Greg Perry (Director of Operations and Administration) item 9, part and items 10–14)
Jane Ellis (Head of Finance) items 10–14

Pictures for treatment

1. The Board saw The Adoration of the Kings by Filippino Lippi (NG1124), The Nurture of Bacchus by Nicolas Poussin (NG39) and The Holy Family (Il Silenzio) Attributed to Marcello Venusti (after Michelangelo) (NG1227) and approved them as ready to go back on display. The Board were reminded that NG1124 and NG1227 were both about to be lent out for exhibition purposes. The attention of the Board was drawn to the Mannerist frame of roughly the right period in which NG1227 had been reframed following treatment.

The Board also saw and approved the treatment proposed for Kitchen Scene with Christ in the House of Martha and Mary by Diego Velázquez (NG1375).

Declarations of interest

2. David Ekserdjian reminded the Board that he was the Curator of a forthcoming exhibition of bronzes at the Royal Academy and said that he could not at this stage confirm from what other institutions he might be requesting loans.

Loans out

3. The Board approved all proposed loans from the Collection.

Minutes of 14 July and matters arising

4. The Minutes were approved subject to minor amendment. The Chairman was authorised to sign them as a true record of the meeting.

Director’s report, events and visitor numbers

5. The Board noted the Director’s report.


6. Information has been excluded under s 43 FOI 2000.

Policy on contemporary art

7. The Board considered the proposed policy in relation to contemporary art, which stated that the purpose of the Gallery’s engagement with contemporary art was to demonstrate the inspiration which the collection could give to artists today. The policy stated that a connection with the Gallery’s collection should be central to the purpose of the exhibition of any artist’s work in the Gallery and confirmed that contemporary art shown in the Gallery should be serious and of high quality.

Dexter Dalwood emphasised that the programme for contemporary art should be as intellectually rigorous and engaging as all other National Gallery exhibitions, and this was agreed.

The Director expanded on the proposal for the creation of an advisory panel, which could in future be consulted by the Executive when making decisions in relation to the programming of contemporary art. Initially two members of the Board would be invited to sit on the panel, and there would also be external panel members. They would be available to give advice to those most closely involved in the Gallery in the programming for contemporary art, including the Curator of Post 1800 paintings and the Special Projects Curator. The Director confirmed that decisions concerning exhibitions would nevertheless continue to be taken by the Executive of the Gallery, as at present; all exhibition proposals were considered in curatorial meetings, before being approved by the Director and Executive Committee. 

No change was proposed to the process for selecting the Gallery’s Associate Artist; this selection was made by a fully independent external panel; appointments were generally for a two year term, although there was some flexibility to extend this, to allow completion of work. The Director confirmed that there was no requirement for the Associate Artist to be a painter. It was noted that the free open studios run by the current Associate Artist, Michael Landy, over the summer had been very popular and fully subscribed .

The contemporary art policy was approved.

Follow up to Board strategy weekend

8. The Director of Education, Information and Access ('EIA') presented to the Board a paper setting out three proposed Digital Strategy priority projects for inclusion in the digital programme, all of which, because of their scale or complexity, required specific investment and commitment by the Gallery. The three priority proposals were endorsed by the Board. 

Security issues

9. Information has been excluded under s 31 FOI 2000

Minutes of and report from Audit and Finance Committees

10. The Minutes of the meeting of Audit and Finance Committees of 7 July 2011 were noted.

The Chairman of the Audit and Finance Committees reported to the Board on discussions at the meeting of the Audit Committee earlier in the day. He confirmed that the Audit Committee had considered the report on the Bribery Act 2010, and the proposed revised Anti Fraud, Bribery and Corruption Policy and had been happy to recommend the policy to the Board for approval (subject to one minor amendment) but had asked for confirmation of satisfactory proposed training for staff in this area. The Head of Finance confirmed that plans were in place to provide training to budget holders in late October/early November 2011 and to follow this up with training at departmental meetings for all office-based staff. The Board approved the revised Anti Fraud, Bribery and Corruption Policy.

The Chair of the Audit and Finance Committees reported that DCMS were in the process of producing consolidated accounts which would incorporate the Gallery’s accounts; the Gallery was to make its return shortly.

Annual Accounts and Annual Report of the Audit Committee

11. The Board noted the contents of the Annual Accounts to 31 March 2011, which had already been approved by the Audit Committee and signed. They also noted the contents of for the annual report of the Audit Committee, the Annual Security Report and the Annual Health and Safety Advisor’s Report for the year to 31 March 2011.

Review of risk register

12. The Board noted the contents of the risk register.

Quarterly management report to 30th June

13. The Board noted the quarterly management reports to 30 June 2011.

Grant requests

14. The Board approved the making of specified grant requests to the American Friends of the National Gallery in the total amount of $173,743.

Minutes of and report of the Nominations Committee

15. The Board noted the minutes of the meetings of the Nominations Committee on 12 May and 14 July.

French Estate

16. In relation to the estate of the late James Wilson, who died on 8th February 2009 leaving to the National Gallery the property known as 18 Impasse de la Bethune, Saint-Aubin-Le-Cauf, Sainte Maritime, France together with the contents thereof ('the French estate') the Board resolved as follows:-

  1. To authorise the Director, Dr Nicholas Penny, to approve the form of and to execute on behalf of the Board a Power of Attorney in favour of any clerk of the office of Mr Chedru, Notary of 26 Rue de Canadiens France, appointing the said clerk as the Attorney for the Board to do all such things and execute all such documents as may be required in connection with the acceptance and administration of the French estate on behalf of the National Gallery.
  2. To authorise the Director, Dr Nicholas Penny to approve the form of a contract for sale of 18 Impasse de la Bethune Saint-Aubin-Le-Cauf, Sainte Maritime, France ('the Property') at a price of 35,000 Euros or such other price as the Director might conclude, on advice, is appropriate and to approve and execute on behalf of the Board a Power of Attorney in favour of any clerk of the office of Mr Chedru, Notary as aforesaid, appointing the said clerk as Attorney for the Board with power to execute all such documents and undertake such other acts as may be required in connection with the sale of the Property.
  3. To authorise the Secretary of the Board, Kate Howe, immediately following the meeting of the Board to certify a copy of this resolution as a true copy of the resolution passed at the meeting.

Any other business

17. There being no other business the Chairman declared the meeting closed.

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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