Skip to main content

Minutes of the Board of Trustees - Thursday 28 September 2023

Minutes of a meeting of the Board held on Thursday 28 September 2023


John Booth (Chair) 
Diana Berry
Catherine Goodman LVO
Katrin Henkel 
James Lambert OBE
Rosemary Leith
David Marks
Dounia Nadar
Rosalind Nashashibi
Tonya Nelson 
Stuart Roden (for items 1-7 via Zoom)
Professor Molly Stevens FRS


Sir John Kingman KCB FRS 

In attendance

Dr Gabriele Finaldi - Director
Paul Gray - Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer 
Andy Hibbert - Director of Finance and Resources
Victoria Hayes - Secretary to the Board and Head of Governance (Minutes)
Jane Knowles - Interim Director of Public Engagement 
Baylee McKeel - Governance Coordinator
Anh Nguyen - Director of Development 
Susan Noonan - Chief Commercial Officer
Christine Riding - Director of Collections and Research
Ben Browne - Security Adviser for item 4
Sarah Younger - NG200 Project Director for item 6
Larry Keith - Keeper and Head of Conservation for item 13
Bart Cornelis - Curator of Dutch and Flemish paintings for item 13
Jill Dunkerton - Senior Conservator for item 13
Christopher Riopelle - The Neil Westreich Curator of post 1800 paintings for item 13
Francesca Whitlum-Cooper - Acting Curator of Later Italian, Spanish and French paintings for item 13

1. Declarations of interest

1.1. None
2. Minutes of the meeting held on 13 July 2023 and matters arising

2.1. The Minutes were approved.

2.2. The actions are ongoing.

3. Loans out paper

3.1. The Director of Collections and Research presented the loans out paper, which was approved.

4. Director’s report

4.1. The Director gave his presentation.

4.2. He said that the Gallery had recently acquired Henri Rousseau’s 'Portrait of Joseph Brummer' (NG6699) which was left to the Gallery by a benefactor, with a life interest to his partner. The painting had been part of the 'After Impressionism' exhibition, following which the life interest was relinquished in favour of the Gallery.

4.3. Information has been excluded under s.22 FOI 2000

4.4. Information has been excluded under s.22, s.36 and s.43 FOI 2000

4.5. He said that Vincent van Gogh’s 'Landscape with Ploughman' (L1333), 1889 had recently been lent to the Gallery on long loan and was on display in Room 43.

4.6. He reported that Per Rumberg would be joining the Gallery as the Jacob Rothschild Head of the Curatorial Department from 1 November.

4.7. The Director said that Summer on the Square had returned to the north terrace of Trafalgar Square in August, with over 26,000 visitors directly engaging with activities.

4.8. He said that the cleaning of the façade was nearing completion.

4.9. The Security Advisor presented a report on security and audit arrangements for the collection.

5. Report from the Interim Director of Public Engagement on Exhibitions 2022 and a look at the years ahead

5.1. The Interim Director of Public Engagement presented her paper and gave a presentation on the forthcoming exhibition programme, which was noted.

5.2. Information has been excluded under s.22, s.36 and s.43 FOI 2000

6. Update on NG200 Welcome

6.1. The Project Director updated Trustees on the capital projects. 

6.2. Information has been excluded under s.22, s.36 and s.43 FOI 2000

7. Committees of the Board and others, reporting since the last Board meeting

7.1. The Board noted the Minutes of the Governance Committee held on 18 July.  The Chair of the Governance Committee reported that an external Board Effectiveness survey had been commissioned and the coordinator would be attending the November Board meeting.  She reminded the Board that it had agreed to participate in a Board Apprenticeship Scheme and said that the application process was ongoing, with a start date of 1 January 2024.

7.2. The Board noted the Minutes of the Digital Advisory Board held on 7 September.

7.3. The Chair of the Masterplan Committee reported on the meeting held on 20 September.

8. Management Accounts and Development Report

8.1. The Director of Finance and Resources presented the Accounts, which were noted.

8.2. The Director of Development presented the Development Report, which was noted.

9. Annual Freedom of Information report

9.1. The Board noted the Annual Freedom of Information report.

10. Grant applications to American Friends of the National Gallery (AFNGL)

10.1. The Board approved the grant applications to AFNGL.

11. Potential acquisition

11.1. The Director presented an acquisition paper for Abraham Bloemaert’s painting of 'Lot and his Daughters' (L1269) and said that the Board would have an opportunity to view the painting in the conservation studio at the end of the meeting. He said the painting had been on loan to the Gallery for some time and there was an opportunity to purchase it.  

12. Any other business

12.1. The Director updated the Board on arrangements for the National Treasures tour and said that a presentation would be made to Trustees in November.

13. Pictures for treatment

13.1. In the conservation studio, the Head of Conservation and Keeper showed the Board Francesco Pesellino’s 'The Story of David and Goliath' (NG6579) and 'The Triumph of David' (NG6580), Jan van de Capelle’s 'A Dutch Yacht Firing a Salute as a Barge pulls away, and Many Small Vessels at Anchor' (NG965), Bonifazio Veronese’s 'The Madonna and Child with Saints James the Greater, Jerome, the Infant Baptist and Catherine of Alexandria' (NG1202) and Cornelius Johnson’s 'Portrait of a Lady' (NG6280), all of which following treatment, the Board approved as being ready to go back on display 

13.2. Trustees were shown Geertgen tot Sint Jans’s 'The Nativity at Night' (NG4081), Duccio di Buoninsegna’s 'The Annunciation' (NG1139), Nicolas Poussin’s 'Cephalus and Aurora' (NG65) and Richard Wilson’s 'Holt Bridge on the River Dee' (NG6196), for each of which, Trustees had examination reports.  The Board approved the treatments proposed.

13.3. For information, Trustees were shown Abraham Bloemaert’s 'Lot and his Daughters' (L1269), for which they had an acquisition paper. The Board approved the Director proceeding with negotiations.

13.4. Information has been excluded under s.22 FOI 2000

13.5. For information, Trustees were shown Henri Rousseau’s 'Portrait of Joseph Brummer' (NG6699).

13.6. Information has been excluded under s.22 FOI 2000