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National Gallery Annual Reports



National Gallery Annual Reports



Archive reference number



The reports contain a variety of information which varies over time. However, standard information given by all reports includes: a list of Trustees; the Director's report on the management of the collection, acquisitions, loans, conservation work and exhibitions; attendance figures; a financial report; and a list of staff. Full lists of acquisitions were published as supplements to the reports for 1884, 1894, 1903, 1920 and 1930 (when decennial returns were instituted). From 2007-2008 the list of staff was no longer included in the Annual Report and information on loans, staff publications and external commitments were not published in the printed version but online.

Record type


Administrative history

The National Gallery and its Board of Trustees was established in 1824. However, the first annual report was not published until 1856, following the Select Committee report of 1853, and the subsequent appointment of the first Director, Sir Charles Eastlake. Under the terms of the Treasury Minute of 27 March 1855, which appointed the Director, he was charged with making a general report annually to the Treasury.
The first report related to activities in the period March 1855-1856, and included appendices of documents relating to the new establishment of the National Gallery and its regulations in addition to a summary of that year's activities. Thereafter reports were published annually. There was a hiatus during the years of the Second World War and the reports were only reintroduced in 1955, when the report from 1938-1954 was published. Between 1954 and 1989 reports were published every two to three years; from 1989 reports were published annually to conincide with the financial year.

Custodial history

The reports were held as part of the Library's collection before transfer to the Archive. They are now transferred directly to the Archive on publication.

Related material

The National Gallery Library also holds a series of more recent annual reports.

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