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Minutes of the Board of Trustees - Thursday 29 September 2022

Minutes of a meeting of the Board held on Thursday 29 September 2022


John Booth (Chair)
Diana Berry
Catherine Goodman LVO
Katrin Henkel
Sir John Kingman KCB FRS
James Lambert OBE
Rosemary Leith
David Marks
Dounia Nadar
Stuart Roden
Professor Molly Stevens FRS


Tonya Nelson

In attendance

Dr Gabriele Finaldi - Director
Dr Caroline Campbell - Director of Collections and Research
Paul Gray - Chief Operating Officer
Victoria Hayes - Secretary to the Board and Head of Governance
Andy Hibbert - Director of Finance
Jane Knowles - Acting Director of the Public Programmes & Partnerships
Chris Michaels - Director of Digital, Communications and Technology
Julie Molloy - Managing Director of National Gallery Global Ltd
Anh Nguyen - Director of Development
Christine Riding - Jacob Rothschild Head of the Curatorial Department and Curator of British Paintings (for items 3, 15 and 16)
Annabelle Selldorf - Selldorf Architects (for item 7)
Alasdair Travers - Purcell (for item 7)
Jason Waddy - Gardiner & Theobald (for item 7)
Larry Keith - Head of Conservation and Keeper (for item 15)
Bart Cornelis - Curator of Dutch and Flemish Paintings (for item 15)
Jill Dunkerton - Restorer (for item 15)
Marek Golias - Lindsay Conservation Fellow (for item 15)
Britta New - Conservator (for item 15)
Christopher Riopelle - Curator of post-1800 paintings (for item 15)
Laura Llewellyn - Associate Curator (Renaissance Painting) (for item 16)

1. Declarations of interest

1.1. None

2. Minutes of the meeting held on 14 July 2022 and matters arising

2.1. The Minutes were approved.

3. Loans out paper

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

4. Director's report

4.1. The Director gave his presentation.

4.2. He reported that the Director of Digital, Communications and Technology was taking up a new position in Coventry as Director of the Reel Store, the UK’s first permanent, digital gallery. He congratulated him on his appointment and thanked him for the ground-breaking work he had done in leading the transformation of the Digital department.

4.3. The Director said that during the period of mourning for Her Majesty the late Queen, the Gallery had displayed a picture of her visiting the Gallery at each entrance.

4.4. He said the acquisition of Ferdinand Hodler’s 'The Kien Valley with the Bluemlisalp Massif', 1902 was now complete and the painting had been reframed and would be on display in the conservation studio at the end of the meeting.

4.5. He commented on the amount of activity going on in the galleries, with the decant of the Sainsbury Wing well underway, many redisplays and the Freud exhibition opening the previous evening and said the Board would be taken on a tour at the end of the meeting.

4.6. He reported on the success of 'Summer on the Square' which had been held throughout August, with a pavilion on the square throughout the day for drawing, painting and music activities.

4.7. He said the Gallery had hosted the Remix Summit earlier in the month, a reflection on the current trends in digital experiences.

5. Report from the Head of Exhibitions, 2021 and a look at the years ahead

5.1. The Acting Director of the Public Programmes and Partnerships gave a presentation.

6. Approval of contract for International Tour

6.1. The Tour was discussed, and the Board approved the Director signing the contract, subject to certain points being clarified to the Chair beforehand.

7. NG200 Welcome: review of design

7.1. Annabelle Selldorf, Alasdair Travers and the Project Director joined the meeting. Annabelle Selldorf gave a presentation, highlighting revisions to the design since the Board meeting in July.

8. Report from the Managing Director of National Gallery Global Ltd

8.1. The Chairman of the Company updated the Board on the recruitment of the Managing Director’s successor.

8.2. The Chair said that he had recently attended a meeting between the Chairs of other Museums who expressed interest in the Gallery’s “pay what you wish” offer for entry to 'The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Lucian Freud: New Perspectives' on Friday evenings. A Trustee observed that the offer was extremely popular, particularly among students. The Chief Operating Officer confirmed that the Gallery intended to share its findings with its peers. The Chair asked that the findings be shared with the Board.

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

9.1 The Board noted the Minutes of the Development Committee held on 27 June. The Chair said that he had been acting as interim Chair of the Committee and a new Chair had now been found.

9.2. The Board noted the Minutes of the Masterplan Committees held on 13 July and 8 September. Information has been excluded under s.22, s.36 and s.43 FOI 2000.

10. Management Accounts and Development Report

10.1. The Director of Finance presented the Accounts.

10.2-10.3. Information has been excluded under s.43 FOI 2000.

10.3. The Director of Development presented her report.

11. Annual Freedom of Information report

11.1. The Board noted the Freedom of Information report.

12. Grant applications to American Friends of the National Gallery

12.1. The grant applications were approved.

13. Trustees Conflicts of Interest Policy

13.1. The Conflicts of Interest Policy was approved.

14. Any other business 

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

15. Pictures for treatment

15.1. The Board and Executive Committee moved to the Conservation Studio where, following cleaning and restoration they were shown Piero della Francesca’s 'The Nativity' (1470-5), NG908. Jill Dunkerton, the restorer who had been working on the painting, outlined the treatments and research she had undertaken while painstakingly restoring the painting. She invited Trustees to visit her studio for further examination should they wish. She said that the painting would form part of a special display in time for Christmas. Trustees were shown Quinten Massys, 'An Old Woman (‘The Ugly Duchess’)' about 1513, NG5769 and 'Interior of a Church', by a follower of Bartholomeus van Bassen NG924.

15.2. The Board approved the pictures as being ready to go back on display.

15.3. The Head of Conservation and Keeper showed the Board Paolo Uccello’s 'Niccolò Mauruzi da Tolentino at the Battle of San Romano', NG583, Marco Basaiti’s, 'The Virgin and Child', NG2499 and David Teniers the Younger’s 'A Cottage by a River with a Distant View of a Castle', NG861. The Board approved the treatment proposed for the paintings.

15.4. Trustees were also shown the continuing treatment to Antonio del Pollaiuolo; Piero del Pollaiuolo’s 'The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian', NG292 and Antoine Caron’s 'The Judgement of Seleucus', M1654, part of the Conservation National Programme.

15.5. The Curator of Post 1800 paintings showed the Board Jacques Joseph (James) Tissot’s 'Portrait of Algernon Moses Marsden', M1653, which the Gallery had recently jointly acquired with the National Portrait Gallery.

15.6. He also showed them 'The Kien Valley with the Bluemlisalp Massif', 1902, NG6695, by Ferdinand Hodler, a recent acquisition referred to by the Director earlier in the meeting. He said the picture had been reframed and was a wonderful addition to the Collection and was due to be hung in Room 43 on 11 October.

16. Visit to the galleries to see re-displays and Gallery A

16.1. The Board were taken on a tour to see Gallery A and the redisplays in the galleries by the Associate Curator (Renaissance Painting).