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Minutes of the Board of Trustees - Thursday 11 July 2019

Minutes of the Board meeting held on Thursday 11 July 2019 

Present

Hannah Rothschild (Chair)
Professor Dexter Dalwood
Dame Moya Greene
Douglas Gurr
Katrin Henkel
Sir John Kingman
David Marks
Tonya Nelson (for items 1-5 and 10.6)
Charles Sebag-Montefiore
John Singer
Professor Molly Stevens

Present

Rosemary Leith

In attendance

Dr Gabriele Finaldi - Director
Dr Caroline Campbell - Director of Collections and Research
Dr Susan Foister - Director of Public Programmes and Partnerships (Deputy Director)
Paul Gray - Chief Operating Officer (for items 1–8 and 11)
Andy Hibbert - Director of Finance
Kate Howe - Secretary to the Board and Legal Counsel
Chris Michaels - Director of Digital
Julie Molloy - Managing Director of National Gallery Company Limited
Larry Keith - Head of Conservation and Keeper (for items 1–4)
Christine Riding - The Jacob Rothschild Head of the Curatorial Department (for items 1-4)
Christopher Riopelle - Neil Westreich Curator of Post 1800 Paintings (for items 1 and 12)
Anne Robbins - Associate Curator of Post 1800 Paintings (for item 1)
Jill Dunkerton - Restorer (for item 1)
Dr Francesca Whitlum-Cooper - The Myojin-Nadar Associate Curator of Paintings 1600-1800 (for item 1)
Judith Kerr - Acting Head of Development (for items 7–9 and 11)
Andrea Kingsley - Interim Head of Finance (for items 8, 9 and 11)
Judith Kerr - Acting Head of Development (for item 13)

1. 
Pictures for treatment

1.1. The Board saw in the conservation studio following completion of treatment Dido’s Suicide by Liberale da Verona (NG1336).The Board approved the work as ready to go back on display.

1.2. The Board also saw Caught by the Tide by Imitator of Thomas Couture (NG4613) which was proposed for treatment. The Associate Curator of Post 1800 Paintings explained to the Board that this work had been acquired by the Gallery in 1956 as a work by Théodore Géricault, and was currently attributed to an imitator of Thomas Couture, but that evidence had emerged that the painting was in fact by Louis Duveau, an artist born in Saint-Malo in 1818, although further research would be required before the Gallery would formally re-attribute the painting .The Director noted that although this work had never previously been shown on the main floor, it might be appropriate to show it there following treatment.

1.3. The Board also saw Two Boys blowing Bubbles by Caspar Netscher (NG843) which was proposed for treatment. The Board also saw Portrait of a Man (‘Léal Souvenir ‘) by Jan van Eyck (NG290) which was proposed for treatment. The Head of Conservation and Keeper said that this work had not been cleaned since it was acquired in the 1850s.

1.4. The Board also saw A Crowned Female Figure (Saint Elizabeth of Hungary?) by Pietro Lorenzetti and Workshop (NG3071) which was proposed for treatment. The Head of Conservation and Keeper reminded the Board that this was one of three fresco fragments which the Gallery owned by this artist, and that the other two had already been restored – and one was currently on display in the Sainsbury Wing. It was now proposed to restore the third fragment (which was currently not in a fit condition to display) so that it too could be shown to the public.

1.5. The Board also saw Portrait of a Lady (Madame de Gléon?) by Jean-Baptiste Greuze (NG5584) which was proposed for treatment. The Head of Conservation and Keeper said that the proposed cleaning of this work would be carried out by one of the Gallery’s new Conservation Fellows who would be starting work at the Gallery in August. The Board approved the treatment proposed for all these works.

1.6. The Board were also shown Adoration of the Kings by Sandro Botticelli and Filippino Lippo (NG592), which was in the process of being treated. The Board were told that before the painting had been unframed for treatment, careful tests had been carried out to ensure that the frame was not original to the work; once this was certain, the painting had been unframed, revealing hitherto unseen areas of the work previously hidden by the frame.

2. Declarations of interest 

2.1. The Board were reminded that since they would be considering under item 6 the proposed acquisition of a work by a painter not currently represented in the collection, they should declare if they had any interest in any work by this artist. No declarations were made in relation to this or any other item.

2.2. Dame Moya Greene announced that she had stepped down as a Director of Rio Tinto.

3. Minutes of 16 May and matters arising

3.1. The Board approved the Minutes of 16 May and the Chair was authorised to sign them as a true record of the meeting.

3.2. In relation to matters arising:-

3.2.1. The Managing Director of the National Gallery Company provided an update on the report she had given at the May Board; it was agreed that a brief report from the Company would be an agenda item for future Board meetings.

4. Loans out

4.1. The Jacob Rothschild Head of the Curatorial Department presented the Loans Out paper, addendum and supplemental paper in relation to a decision deferred from the May Board.

4.2-4.4. Information has been excluded under s36 and s 43 2000.

4.5. Information has been excluded under s36 and s42 FOI 2000.

4.6.  Subject to the loans agreed in principle only under point 4.3, the Board approved all proposed loans out. The Board requested that future Loans papers should make clear when loans under consideration were going to exhibitions which were being organised in collaboration with the National Gallery.

5. Director’s report

5.1. The Director presented his written report.

5.2. He reported on recent auction and private sales of Old Master paintings and prices achieved.

5.3. He reported on the appointment of the Gallery’s new Artist in Residence, painter and film-maker Rosalind Nashashibi.

5.4. Information has been excluded under s36 FOI 2000.

5.5. In relation to staff changes, it was confirmed to the Board that the Gallery’s new Head of Learning and National Programmes, Karen Eslea, would be starting work at the Gallery in early October 2019.

5.6. The Director reported on the very successful outcome of the Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light exhibition, which had attracted close to 160,000 paying visitors and had resulted in a significant number of visitors to the exhibition signing up for Gallery Membership.

5.7. Information has been excluded under s36 and 43 FOI 2000.

5.8. Information has been excluded under s36 FOI 2000.

6. Proposed acquisition

6.1-6.4. Information has been excluded under s36 and s43 FOI 2000.

7. Information has been excluded under s36 and s43 FOI 2000.

8. Annual Accounts, report from the Audit Committee and risk register

8.1. The Interim Head of Finance presented the annual Accounts, report from the Audit Committee and risk register, highlighting headline figures in the Accounts; she reported on the reasons for a short delay in the laying of the Accounts before Parliament, arising from a late request by the NAO for some further valuation evidence in relation to investments.

8.2. There was a discussion by the Board of the fact that only part of the Gallery’s collection was capitalised and valued in the Accounts, being the more recently acquired part of the collection; it was agreed that it was sensible that the Accounts should highlight this, although it was agreed that the wording of the explanation of the historic reason for this treatment should be reconsidered in 2019-20.

8.3. One Trustee noted that the Accounts made clear that a significant number of works were not on display; he asked whether further consideration could be given by the Gallery to ways in which more of these works could be displayed - perhaps through loans to other museums and galleries in the UK. In this connection the Director said that the works not on display tended not to be the works which regional museums were keen to borrow, but it was agreed that this issue should be revisited. The Board would be taken to see the works in store.

8.4. Information has been excluded under s31 FOI 2000.

8.5. The Chair noted that this would be the last meeting attended by the Interim Head of Finance and thanked her for the excellent work she had done for the Gallery, particularly in relation to the drawing up of the year end accounts.

9. Management Accounts Report and Development Report

9.1. The Interim Head of Finance presented the Management Accounts Report to 31 May, highlighting that at this point in the year, the Gallery was on track to be on budget

9.2. The Acting Head of Development presented the Development Report. Information has been excluded under s43 FOI 2000.

9.3. Information has been excluded under s43 FOI 2000.

10. Committees of the Board

10.1. The Board noted the Minutes of the Audit Committee of 21 May and 18 June. The Chair of the Committee drew to the Board’s attention the discussion in the Minutes of 21 May of fire risk.

10.2. The Board approved minor changes to the Terms of Reference of the Audit Committee.

10.3. The Board noted the Minutes of the Finance Committee of 21 May and 18 June.

10.4. The Board approved minor changes to the Terms of Reference of the Finance Committee.

10.5. The Board noted the Minutes of the Masterplan Committee of 21 May and 18 June. The Chair of the Committee drew attention to the fact that work on the Sunley tower lightwell was now six weeks behind schedule.

10.6. (This item was taken in closed session of the Board before the meeting). The Deputy Chair updated the Board in relation to the on-going search for three new Trustees.

10.7. The Chair of the Development Committee reported that two new members had been appointed to the Committee. Information has been excluded under s36 FOI 2000.

11. Sainsbury Wing Entrance (This item was taken immediately after agenda item 8)

11.1. The Director introduced this item. Information has been excluded under s36 FOI 2000. The Chief Operating officer presented his paper.

11.2– 11 .8. Information has been excluded under s36 FOI 2000.

12. Hugh Lane Bequest

12.1. The Director of Collections presented her paper. Information has been excluded under s 36 and 43 FOI 2000.

12.2. The Board noted that the location of Hugh Lane Bequest paintings which were currently on display at the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin was not made clear on the Gallery’s website and asked that the location of those paintings should be shown on the website.

13. Proposed lease from the National Gallery Trust Foundation (NGTF) of space for Innovation Lab

13.1. The Director of Digital briefed the Board on proposals for the opening of the Gallery’s Innovation Lab – including proposals for an opening event in September.

13.2. The Board noted the proposed terms of a lease of the space from the NGTF and approved the taking of a lease on those terms, subject to the securing of consent from the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and the securing of a change of planning use for the space. The Board authorised the Director or Chief Operating Officer to approve the final terms of the lease and to execute the lease and any other required documents on the Board’s behalf.

14. Any other business

14.1. There being no other business the Chair declared the meeting closed.