National Portrait Gallery - Fundraising Trustee

Body: National Portrait Gallery
Appointing Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sectors: Business, Finance & Skills, Charity & Public Sector, Culture, Media & Sport
Location: London
Skills required: Business / Commercial
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: No
Time Requirements: Quarterly Board meetings, ad hoc meetings and an annual Strategy Day.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The National Portrait Gallery is seeking a new Fundraising Trustee.

DCMS is committed to eliminating discrimination and advancing equality of opportunity in its public appointments. We particularly encourage applicants from underrepresented groups, those based outside London and the South-East and applicants who have achieved success through non-traditional educational routes. This ensures that boards of public bodies benefit from a full range of diverse perspectives and are representative of the people they serve.

National Portrait Gallery – Background 

Established in 1856, the aim of the National Portrait Gallery is to maintain a collection of portraits of the most eminent persons in British history, of other works of art relevant to portraiture and of documents relating to those portraits and other works of art.

The National Portrait Gallery is unique in being both for and about people.  From Katherine Parr to Martin Parr, we serve as the nation’s family album, inviting everyone to meet the people who have made – and are making – Britain what it is today.  The Gallery highlights the cultural and historical links that we all share and that bind us together, something that is more important now than ever. It plays a clear and urgent role in helping to foster empathy, social cohesion and inclusion, which were among its founding principles and remain just as true and relevant today. 

The Gallery is home to the largest and most prestigious collection of portraits in the world. Its Collection (comprising the Primary Collection, the Reference Collections and the Photographs Collection) includes people from all four corners of this country, who have shaped our society over the past 500 years, and show the potential in everyone to make a difference. 

The Primary Collection contains some 12,700 portraits. In addition, there are some 8,540 works on paper, more than 335,000 images in the Gallery’s Reference Collections and 250,000 original photographic images in the Gallery’s Photographs Collection dating from the 1840s to the present day, of which at least 130,000 are original negatives.

The Gallery’s website attracted a record-breaking 6 million visits in 2020/21 and its social media channels now reach over 1.6 million followers. 

Recent achievements include the opening of international exhibitions in the US, Japan, France and Australia, significant loans to institutions in the UK such as Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger to the National Gallery and Malala Yousafzai to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery as part of COMING HOME and Hold Still, an ambitious community project to create a unique collective portrait of the UK during lockdown spearheaded by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, Patron of the National Portrait Gallery.

The Gallery currently employs around 143 staff and total income in 2020-21 was £20 million.  As with other national museums, while it receives government support as an Arm’s Length Body of DCMS, the Gallery increasingly relies on its ability to supplement this grant from other sources and self-generated income, which amounted to 70% of annual income in 20202-21.  Additional support was provided by the DCMS in 2020-21 to help the Gallery mitigate the immediate impact of the pandemic.  While the building at St Martin’s Place remains closed and as the Gallery seeks to complete its major capital campaign, the ability to generate income from a variety of other sources remains of increasing importance. Looking forward to the re-opening, we are ambitious about the role of fundraising in sustaining our plans for the future.

Inspiring People

Significant successes over the past few years, including critically acclaimed exhibitions and key acquisitions and commissions, have raised the Gallery’s aspirations and confidence.  At the same time, through public research and consultation, a number of limitations to future growth and engagement have been identified.

The Gallery has demonstrated its ability to make acquisitions of national importance, such as the Sir Anthony van Dyck self-portrait and Thomas Lawrence’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington, to strengthen its national programme and to establish new partnerships.  To continue with such successes, while coping with limited resources, requires a determined sense of direction, clear planning and continued efficiency across the institution as a whole.

The Gallery has recently embarked on a £35.5m capital project, Inspiring People, the most transformative since its home at St Martin’s Place opened in 1896. 

Inspiring People will deliver overarching and transformative improvements, including a complete refurbishment of the galleries; a new entrance and forecourt; a much needed new Learning Centre; and restoration of the original East Wing.  The project will transform the building, making it more welcoming and appealing to the widest and most diverse audiences possible, as well as restoring historic features of our beautiful Grade 1 listed home.  At its heart is an ambitious, more engaging and much-needed comprehensive re-display of the Gallery’s collections, from top to bottom, Tudors to now.

The renewed National Portrait Gallery will be a truly national gallery for everyone, reflecting the Britain of today and an essential place for those looking to understand the culture that they chose, were born into, or seek to understand. 

In order to complete the project efficiently and to safeguard visitors, members of staff and the Collection, the Gallery in St Martin’s Place is temporarily closed to the public until spring 2023, while essential building works take place.  Through a series of partnerships and collaborations during the period of redevelopment, the Gallery will continue to share its unique Collection of portraits with the nation across the UK and internationally. 

Partnerships with schools include Faces and Places, a schools outreach programme in London exploring representation and identity and Picturing History, a new digital learning resource, which will enable schools to explore the Collection for curriculum-based teaching.  The Photographic Portrait Now, is a partnership with universities and photography students, which will create new work and displays and Creative Connections, is a co-curated exhibition programme for young people in Coventry, Southampton, Sheffield and Newlyn.

An ambitious programme of UK-wide activities will also bring the Gallery closer to communities around the country.  Citizen UK, a partnership with community groups in Croydon, Ealing, Tower Hamlets and Wolverhampton will explore stories of migration and movement and People Powered, a series of exhibitions created with partners in Brent, Ilford, Hillingdon, Hertfordshire and Teesside, will uncover the experiences of communities involved in creating world-class exports.  A National Skills Sharing Partnership with museums and galleries around the UK will enable partners to collaborate within the sector, share skills and knowledge and learn from each other..

Beyond these projects, the Gallery has ambitious plans for an extensive international collaborations programme and an expanded digital strategy, that will enable it to reach new audiences onsite, online and both across Britain and around the globe. 

More information surrounding the Inspiring People project can be found here:

The Board of Trustees

The chief role of Trustees is to assist the Chair in meeting the Board’s overall responsibilities under the Museums and Galleries Act and the Charities Act, and in accordance with the guidance issued by the Secretary of State.  Trustees offer guidance and expertise on the Gallery’s strategy and its practical implementation.  They must be positive advocates for the Gallery, representing it to ministers, officials at DCMS, and others.  They must also assist the Chair in ensuring that the Gallery’s affairs are conducted with probity.

Trustees must be able to attend Board meetings and such other sub-committee meetings as may be necessary.  Board meetings are held four times a year in London (remotely at present), with one additional strategy day. Some additional time will need to be devoted to ad hoc meetings, studying papers, attending events organised by the Gallery (where restrictions allow) and occasional visits to regional partnerships.

Person Specification

The role

The National Portrait Gallery Board of Trustees is seeking a new Trustee to lead fundraising and to Chair the Development Council, with a particular focus on strengthening the Gallery’s fundraising base.

Candidates for this particular role should be able to demonstrate:

  • A strong record of fundraising either in their work environment or in the Arts and a commitment to actively support the Gallery’s Development team to realise strategic objectives.
  • Significant commercial awareness and an understanding of opportunities for increased self-generated growth.
  • Wide and diverse contacts and database and the ability to actively cultivate donors to support the Gallery’s ambitions and fundraising activities.
  • Experience of successful fundraising achieving or exceeding targets and the ability to provide leadership and motivate Board members to achieve agreed goals.

Additionally, the successful candidate will be able to demonstrate the following other essential criteria:

  • An understanding of, and commitment to, the vision and values of the National Portrait Gallery and its future development, particularly the Inspiring People project.
  • A commitment to preserving the Gallery’s collection, maintaining an acknowledgement of art’s important role in teaching us about our past and the need to contextualise or reinterpret, but never to erase.
  • An understanding of the diverse communities in the UK and a commitment to promoting diversity and equality, alongside a strong commitment to engaging audiences outside of London and factoring UK-wide perspectives into all decision making.
  • Excellent communication and representational skills with a range of stakeholders and the ability to contribute to policy and strategy development with innovative thinking.
  • An ability to take responsibility and demonstrate sound judgement in strategic decision making.
  • An ability to contribute to the Board’s advice on proposed acquisitions and the commissioning process.

Additional Information

Current Board members:

  • David Ross (Chair)
  • Roger Blundell
  • Dr Mark Cecil
  • Dr Joanna Kennedy 
  • Marcus Harling
  • Björn Savén
  • Sir Peter Stothard
  • Rachel Wang
  • Professor Shearer West
  • Jonathan Yeo
  • The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP
  • Rebecca Salter PRA (ex officio)
  • To be announced
  • To be announced
  • The Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg MP (ex officio)
  • Christopher Townsend OBE (co-opted)
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