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Minutes of the Board of Trustees - Thursday 15 November 2018

Minutes of the Board meeting held on Thursday 15 November 2018


Lance Batchelor (Deputy Chair)
Professor Dexter Dalwood
Katrin Henkel
Rosemary Leith
Sir John Kingman (for items 1- 5 and 8.1)
David Marks
Tonya Nelson
Charles Sebag-Montefiore
John Singer
Professor Molly Stevens


Dame Moya Greene
Hannah Rothschild

In attendance

Dr Gabriele - Finaldi Director
Dr Susan Foister - Director of Public Programmes and Partnerships (Deputy Director) not for items 2–9)
Paul Gray - Chief Operating Officer (not for item 9)
Dr Caroline Campbell - Director of Collections and Research (not for item 9)
Chris Michaels - Director of Digital (not for item 9)
Andy Hibbert - Interim Finance Director (not for item 9)
Kate Howe - Secretary to the Board and Legal Counsel
Larry Keith - Head of Conservation and Keeper (for items 1–4)
Christopher Riopelle - The Neil Westreich Curator of Post 1800 Paintings (for item 1)
Letizia Treves - The James and Sarah Sassoon Curator of Later Italian, Spanish and French 17th-century Paintings for (for item 1)
Dr Francesca Whitlum-Cooper - The Myojin-Nadar Associate Curator of Paintings 1600-1800 (for item 1)
Lynn Harrison - Conservator (for item 1)
Britta New - Conservator (for item 1)
Hayley Tomlinson - Conservator (for item 1)
RoseMarie Loft - Head of Human Resources (for item 10)
Jane Knowles - Head of Exhibitions (for item 12)
Judith Kerr - Acting Head of Development (for items 13 and 14)
Louise Peckett - Head of Finance (for items 13 and 14)

1. Pictures for treatment

1.1.  The Board saw in the Upper Conservation Studio Adoration of the Kings by Sandro Botticelli and Filippino Lippi (NG592) which was proposed for treatment. The Board approved the treatment proposed for this work.

1.2. The Board saw The Adoration of the Shepherds by Giovanni Battista Spinelli (NG1157) following treatment. The Head of Conservation and Keeper told the Board that this work, which came into the Collection in 1884, had never previously been treated, and was the only work by this artist in the United Kingdom. He reminded the Board of the extensive programme of restoration which had been carried out over the last six years. The Board were told that the work would eventually be displayed in Room 32, following restoration of that room, and in the meantime would be displayed elsewhere in the Gallery. The Board approved the work as ready to go back on display.

1.3. The Board also saw The Virgin and Child with Saints George, James the Greater and a Donor by Giovanni Martini da Udine (NG778) following treatment. The Head of Conservation and Keeper reminded the Board that the structural work which had been required to be carried out to the panel was a highly specialised and complicated piece of work and that the Gallery had waited a long time before deciding the moment was right to embark on it, but that it now had staff with the appropriate specialist skills to do this kind of structural panel painting restoration. He drew attention to the new frame created by the Head of Framing. The Director of Collections briefed the Board on plans to highlight publicly the work carried out on this painting. The Board approved the painting as ready to go back on display.

1.4. The Board were also shown Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria by Artemisia Gentileschi (NG6671) following treatment. The Board were reminded that the conservation work on this painting had been funded by the Art Fund and that a series of short films, recording all stages of the work, had been posted on the Gallery’s website. The public reception of these had been very positive. The Board approved this work as ready to go on display and the Director said that the work would go on display before Christmas. Information has been excluded under s36 FOI 2000.

1.5. The Board were shown for information The Lavergne Family Breakfast by Jean-Etienne Liotard (L1246) which had come into the Gallery on loan, prior to its being hung in Room 33 of the Gallery.

2. Declarations of interest

2.1. Sir John Kingman declared an interest in his capacity as Chair of UK Research and Innovation, in relation to the paper discussed under item 7.

3. Minutes of 20 September and matters arising

3.1. The Board approved the Minutes of 20 September subject to one minor amendment and the Chair was authorised to sign them as a true record of the meeting.

3.2. The Deputy Chair reported on progress with outstanding actions.

4. Loans out

4.1. The Director of Collections and Research presented the Loans out paper. Information has been excluded under s36 and s43 FOI 2000.

4.2. The Board approved all proposed loans out.

5. Director's report

5.1. The Director presented his written report.

5.2. He reported on staff changes, including the appointment of a new Head of Curatorial and the appointment of an interim Head of Education and updated the Board in relation to the Gallery’s search for a new Head of Development.

5.3. He reported that the re-hang of the Sainsbury Wing was nearly complete, and a small event would be held to mark its completion.

5.4. He informed the Board that the Gallery had agreed restoration work on Sandro Botticelli’s 'The Trinity with Saints' owned by the Courtauld Gallery (Samuel Courtauld Trust) could be carried out in the conservation studios. The work was being undertaken by a Courtauld conservator, with input from a number of international experts, including several of the Gallery’s specialists.

5.5. He highlighted for the Board recent education activities, and drew attention to the Gallery’s involvement in Frieze week, which brought new audiences into the Gallery.

5.6. He reported on the display in Shanghai’s Metro of reproductions of Gallery paintings, and said that an estimated 6million people would have seen those images during the month of June. Information has been excluded under s36 FOI 2000.

5.7. He reported on the Gallery’s forthcoming Landseer’s The Monarch of the Glen exhibition, which would celebrate the association of the artist, Landseer, with Trafalgar Square.

5.8. In relation to visitor numbers, he reported that the Gallery now projected a total of some 5.5million visitors to the end of the year.

6. Marketing model review

6.1. The Director of Digital presented his paper, which outlined the Gallery’s marketing model and how it was being developed.

6.2–6.6. Information has been excluded under s36 FOI 2000.

7. Digital strategy update

7.1. The Director of Digital presented his paper.

7.2. Information has been excluded under s36 FOI 2000.

8. Committees of the Board

8.1. (This report was taken immediately before item 6.) The Chair of the Audit and Finance Committees reported that the Audit Committee had met recently and had asked that the internal auditor should prioritise a piece of work in relation to the management of risk of fire in the Gallery (in the wake of two recent and devastating fires in other museums) with a view to securing assurance that the Gallery was complying with best practice in this area. He reported on Finance Committee scrutiny of the Corporate Plan, which would be brought to the full Board in March 2019.

8.2. In the absence of the Chair of the Nominations Committee, another member of the Committee reported to the Board on discussions at the Nominations Committee meeting earlier in the day. He updated the Board on where matters stood in relation to the recent search for two new Board members and said that a recommendation was due to go to Ministers shortly .The Nominations Committee had recommended that the Gallery should now embark on a search for a new Artist Trustee and the Board endorsed this recommendation. It was reported that recommendations would be communicated to the Board shortly by the Chair in respect of the appointment of the next Deputy Chair, the next Tate Liaison Trustee and a new member of the Nominations committee.

8.3. The Board noted the Minutes of the Masterplan Committee of 11 September. The Chair of the Committee reported to the Board on the most recent meeting of the Committee, in early November. The Board noted that the Director would be signing the contract for the One Gallery Accommodation Hub construction contract very shortly.

9. Written report from the Chair of the Governance Committee and Minutes of the Committee

9.1. The Chair of the Governance Committee presented his written report highlighting for the Board the recommendations made by the Committee arising out of the responses to the Board effectiveness survey 2018, and picking up on  recommendations from the previous year not yet fully implemented .

9.2. The Board approved all the recommendations of the Governance Committee.

9.3. The Chair of the Governance Committee reported that a new member of the Committee was required to replace Dexter Dalwood (whose term of office would shortly come to an end) and that Moya Greene had agreed she would be willing to take on this role. The Board approved her appointment as a member of the Committee.

10. Update on employment tribunal claim

10.1–10.3. Information has been excluded under s36, s42 and s43 FOI 2000.

11. Acquisition proposal

11.1. The Board considered the acquisition proposal for Venus and Cupid by Lucas Cranach the Elder, which they had been shown in the Conservation Studio at the start of the meeting, and which was offered as a gift to the Gallery.

11.2. The Board approved the acquisition of the painting as an addition to the Collection, and authorised the Director to approve and execute all documents required to give effect to the acquisition.

12. Exhibition strategy

12.1. The Head of Exhibitions presented her paper to the Board. Information has been excluded under s 36 and s43 FOI 2000.

12.2–12.5. Information has been excluded under s 36 and s43 FOI 2000.

12.6. The Board approved the Exhibition strategy.

13. Management Accounts and Development Report

13.1. The Acting Head of Development presented the development report, updating the Board on progress against targets for the year to date. Information has been excluded under s 43 FOI.

13.2. The Head of Finance presented the Management Accounts, highlighting key adjustments since the last report, and the availability of contingency.

14. Grant applications to AFNGL

14.1. The Board approved the proposed grant applications to the American Friends of the National Gallery, London, Inc.

15. Introduction to electronic Board portal

15.1. The Board Secretary reminded the Board of earlier discussions in relation to this matter and said that following a tendering exercise, a provider was now being appointed for a trial period of two months, prior to entering into a permanent contract.

16. Any other business

16.1. In the absence of the Chair, Dexter Dalwood said that this was the last Board meeting which would be attended by Lance Batchelor and thanked him warmly for all he had done for the Gallery.

16.2. There being no other business the Deputy Chair declared the meeting closed.