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Minutes of the Board of Trustees - Thursday 25 November 2021

Minutes of the Board meeting held on Thursday 25 November 2021 


John Booth (Chair)
Catherine Goodman
Katrin Henkel
Sir John Kingman
Rosemary Leith
David Marks
Tonya Nelson
Stuart Roden
Professor Molly Stevens

In attendance

Paul Gray - Chief Operating Officer
Victoria Hayes - Secretary to the Board and Head of Governance
Andy Hibbert - Director of Finance
Anh Nguyen - Director of Development
Larry Keith - Head of Conservation and Keeper (for item 1)
Christine Riding - Jacob Rothschild Head of the Curatorial Department and Curator of British Paintings (for items 1-5)
Christopher Riopelle - The Neil Westreich Curator of Post 1800 Paintings (for item 1)
Bart Cornelis - Curator of Dutch and Flemish Paintings (for item 1)
Annabelle Selldorf - Selldorf Architects (via Zoom for item 7)
Sarah Younger - Project Director (for item 7)
Rune Gustafson - Acting Chair of National Gallery Company (NGC) (for item 8)
RoseMarie Loft - Head of People Services (for item 9)

1. Pictures for treatment

1.1. In the conservation studio, following cleaning and restoration, the Board saw 'Portrait of Charles William Lambton (‘The Red Boy’)' by Sir Thomas Lawrence (L1307), 'Portrait of a Middle-Aged Woman with Hands Folded' by Frans Hals (NG1021) and 'An Estuary with Fishing Boats and Two Frigates', by Jan van Goyen (NG6423). The Board approved the works as ready to go back on display.

1.2. The Board also saw 'The Hay Wain', by John Constable (NG1207), 'An Old Woman ('The Ugly Duchess')' by Quinten Massys (NG5769), 'A Young Man Drinking', Style of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (NG1286), 'A White Horse, and an Old Man binding Faggots' (NG881) and 'The Interior of a Stable' (NG879) by Philips Wouwerman, 'Shore at Scheveningen' by Willem van de Velde (NG873) and 'The Finding of Moses', Probably by Francesco Zugno (NG3542). The Board approved the treatment proposed for the paintings.

1.3-1.4 Information has been excluded under s.22, s.36 and s.43 FOI 2000.

2. Declarations of interest

2.1. None

3. Minutes of the meeting held on 23 September and matters arising

3.1. The Minutes were approved.

4. Loans out

4.1. The Jacob Rothschild Head of the Curatorial Department presented the loans out paper, which was approved.

5. Potential acquisition 

5.1. The Chair said that this had already been discussed.

6. Director's report

6.1. The Director gave his presentation. He said that 'Poussin and the Dance' had opened on 6 October and 'The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Dürer’s Journeys: Travels of a Renaissance Artist' had opened the previous week. The Arts Minister had attended the opening and dinner.

6.2. He said that 'Kehinde Wiley at the National Gallery: The Prelude' was opening the following week. Information has been excluded under s.36 FOI 2000.

6.3. He said that 'The Red Boy' by Sir Thomas Lawrence, which the Board had just seen in the conservation studio in its magnificent, restored frame, would be hung in Room 35 at the end of November, with the display curated by the Jacob Rothschild Head of the Curatorial Department and Curator of British Paintings.

6.4. He said that a series of redisplays were taking place in the Sainsbury Wing, including a room devoted to Botticelli and encouraged Trustees to visit.

6.5. He reported that the refurbishment of Central Hall was complete, and a major re-hang was taking place.

7. Update on NG200 projects, including a review of the design

7.1. Sarah Younger joined the meeting and Annabelle Selldorf joined by video link. The Chair said that the Masterplan Committee had met the previous week to consider various options and were recommending to Trustees the option that they considered to be the best one, although a final decision had not yet been taken.

7.2. Annabelle Selldorf gave her presentation.

7.3-7.5. Information has been excluded under s.22, s.36 and s.43 FOI 2000.

7.6. The Board approved the recommendations made by the Masterplan Committee.

7.7. The Chair of the Masterplan Committee confirmed that sustainability was at the heart of the project.

8. Verbal report from the Acting Chair of NGC

8.1. The Acting Chair of NGC joined the meeting to update the Board, in the absence of the Managing Director. He said that NGC staff had moved into the Accommodation Hub over the summer and were enjoying being onsite with Gallery colleagues.

8.2. He said that the Company’s business had shrunk drastically since before the pandemic and that it had drawn up a three-year plan which ensured the business could deliver. Information has been excluded under s.22, s.36 and s.43 FOI 2000.

8.3. He said that there was a new food and beverage operator onsite, who were performing better than forecast, owing to higher than expected visitor numbers.

8.4. He said that spending was increasing in the shops as customers switched from e-commerce and that Membership renewals remained strong.

9. Workforce report 

9.1. The Head of People Services joined the meeting by video link. She gave her presentation. The Board noted her paper.

10. Committees of the Board and others reporting since the last Board meeting

10.1. The Board noted the Minutes of the Governance Committee of 6 October, which recommended to the Nominations Committee that it consider whether the role of a second Deputy Chair be created, to assist the Chair and the Deputy Chair.

10.2. The Board noted the Minutes of the Nominations Committee of 16 November which approved creating the role of a second Deputy Chair and considered Katrin Henkel, who had emerged as a candidate and agreed she would bring sufficient skills and experience to the role, subject to Board approval. The Board approved that the role of a second Deputy Chair be created and that Katrin Henkel be appointed with immediate effect. Information has been excluded under s.22 and s.36 FOI 2000.

10.3. The Board noted the Minutes of the Digital Advisory Board of 21 September.

10.4. The Board noted the Minutes of the Masterplan Committee of 23 September.

10.5. The Board noted the Minutes of the Finance Committee of 14 October.

10.6. The Board noted the Minutes of the Audit Committee of 14 October. The Chair said that the Committee had requested that the Gallery’s fire safety systems be compared with a range of institutions both nationally and internationally and that the Gallery had emerged favourably.

10.7. The Board noted the Minutes of the Development Committee of 21 October.

11. Management Accounts and Development Report

11.1. The Director of Finance presented the Accounts.

11.2. The Acting Head of Development presented the Report.

12. Appointment of Class A Directors to American Friends of the National Gallery (AFNGL)

12.1. The Board approved the appointment of the Chair and the re-appointment of Mark Getty, Hannah Rothschild and Rosemary Leith as Class A Directors to AFNGL.

13. Approval to add signatures to the National Gallery Seal

13.1. The Board approved that the Chief Operating Officer and the Finance Director be added as signatories to the National Gallery Seal.

14. Updated Safeguarding policy and procedures 

14.1. The Deputy Director outlined the changes to the Safeguarding policy and procedures that had been made since the Board approved the documents in September 2020. The Chair of the Governance Committee said that Trustees were required to have some safeguarding training as part of their responsibilities and that the Secretary to the Board would arrange some online training, which could be refreshed every three years. The Board agreed to online training.

15. Any other business

15.1. The Board approved that Molly Stevens join Finance Committee and Audit Committee for a year.

15.2. The Board approved that Tonya Nelson join Masterplan Committee.

15.3. The Board approved that the Nominations Committee should consist of the Chair, both Deputy Chairs and Tonya Nelson.

15.4. The Board agreed that the Chair should join all Committees and chair Remuneration Committee and Nominations Committee.