National Portrait Gallery - Trustee x 3

Body: Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport
Appointing Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sector: Culture, Media & Sport
Location: London
Number of Vacancies: 3
Remuneration: Board appointments are not remunerated, but reasonable expenses are paid.
Time Requirements: Quarterly Board meetings, ad hoc meetings and an annual Review Day.


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

The Prime Minister has appointed Marcus Harling, Professor Shearer West and Jonathan Yeo as Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery for a term of four years commencing on 1 November 2018.

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    16/07/2018 at 09:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement

    12/11/2018 at 09:00


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The role

The Board of Trustees is seeking three new Trustees: Artist; Art Historian and Legal expert with culture sector experience.

The Board of Trustees

The chief role of Trustees is to assist the Chair in meeting the Board’s overall responsibilities under 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, with one additional review day. Some additional time will need to be devoted to ad hoc meetings, studying papers, attending events at the Gallery and occasional visits to regional partnerships.  

About the National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery’s core purpose is to:

  • care for, preserve and add to the works of art and the documents in its Collection
  • ensure that the works of art are exhibited to the public;
  • ensure that the works of art and the documents are available to people seeking to inspect them in connection with study or research;
  • generally promote the public’s enjoyment and understanding of portraiture of British people and British history through portraiture both by means of its Collection and by such other means as it considers appropriate.


The Gallery’s eight strategic objectives are

  • To extend and broaden the range of audiences for the National Portrait Gallery and its work through participation and learning activity, a higher national and public profile, and an effective communication strategy.
  • To develop the Collection, creating opportunities for acquisition and commission, while improving its care and conservation.
  • To increase the understanding of and engagement with the Collection and the art of portraiture through outstanding research, exhibitions and displays, publishing, learning, regional and digital programmes.
  • To make the Gallery a national hub for sharing ideas and expertise about portraiture with a dynamic centre for learning in London and a skills sharing network across the country.
  • To create a digital presence which connects, inspires and engages audiences, where is not seen as the remit of a single department, to one where all teams have digital activity as a core part of their working strategy.
  • To maximize the financial resources available through both public and private sector support, trading and licensing and through the effective management of the Gallery’s assets and resources.
  • To develop staff as an essential resource through the extension of staff diversity, training, development and learning programmes, upgraded internships and a volunteer programme.
  • To physically open up the Gallery building to make the Collection and programme more visible, accessible and welcoming and to bring the buildings, technical and managerial infrastructure of the Gallery to the highest standards, including processes, systems, collection storage and staff accommodation.


Person Specification

The Gallery is looking for a candidate who will be able to demonstrate the following 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 and the renewal of the Collection displays.
  • An understanding of the diverse communities in the UK and a real commitment to promoting diversity.
  • Excellent communication skills and the ability to contribute to Board-level discussion and wider policy and strategy development.
  • An ability to present to a range of stakeholders including the media.
  • The ability to contribute to the Board’s advice and opinions on proposed acquisitions and portrait commissions.
  • A good understanding of the challenging self-generated income needs of the Gallery and be prepared to show initiative in support of fundraising initiatives.
  • The ability to engage with the Gallery’s budgeting and financial planning.



  • A practising artist with both national and international standing.
  • A commitment to portraiture and its relevance in the digital age.
  • Understands the links between portraiture, social media and broader culture and how we can use them to engage audiences.
  • Has strong networks and a presence in the British art world and a willingness to speak for the interests of the community of artists whose work is presented at the Gallery.


Art Historian

  • An art historian, scholar or writer with an interest in the field of British Art (ideally portraiture) preferably with experience at a University of international standing.
  • An educationalist who can evidence a strong understanding of communities outside London, with experience of the creative industries or media.
  • Able to demonstrate access to international networks.
  • Experienced in overseeing strategic direction and decision making in an arts environment.


Legal expert with culture sector experience

  • Extensive legal experience at a senior level.
  • Experience of a high level capital project, with an understanding of strategic management of extensive estates would be advantageous.
  • An understanding of Government Arts Policy and the key legal issues facing the arts sector.
  • Knowledge or experience of built heritage in a conservation or historical context would be advantageous.


Duration of Appointment

  • The appointment is for a period of up to four years with the possibility of re-appointment at the end of that term.


Additional Information


Established in 1856, the aim of the National Portrait Gallery is to promote, through the medium of portraits, the appreciation and understanding of the men and women who have made and are making British history and culture, as well as to promote the appreciation and understanding of portraiture in all media.

The National Portrait Gallery directly engages us with urgent questions of our heritage and national identity. Its collections reveal who made us the nation that we are today and who is shaping our future.  At a time of rapid change and uncertainty, it has an important role to play in supporting social cohesion and inclusion and highlighting the connections between our past and the nation we are becoming. We are the nation’s family album – from Katherine Parr to Martin Parr.

Today, the Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world, and is one of the country’s premier arts institutions.

The Primary Collection contains some 11,100 portraits. Of these more than 4,150 are paintings, sculptures and miniatures, nearly 60% of which are regularly displayed at the National Portrait Gallery or elsewhere, including two houses managed by the National Trust, Montacute House and Beningbrough Hall. In addition, there are some 6,800 works on paper, shown on a rotating basis of about 300 items a year, and 250,000 photographic images, of which at least 130,000 are original negatives. They date from the 1840s to the present day.

The Gallery is always keen to find new ways to share the Collection through the National Programmes, as well as online.

The Gallery aims to bring history to life through its extensive display, exhibition, research, learning, outreach, publishing and digital programmes. These allow the Gallery to stimulate debate and to explore biography, history and identity. The Gallery strives to be the foremost centre for the study of and research into portraiture, as well as appealing to as wide a range of visitors as possible. The Gallery is actively developing its displays, exhibitions, education, research and access programmes, with a greater national presence and an increased recognition of the quality of its work and its collections, and the skills and knowledge of its staff.

As with other national museums, the government continues to be a crucial form of support for the Gallery, but in reality this is decreasing and we increasingly need to generate income from a variety of sources – including individuals, companies, trusts and foundations, as well as through income from exhibitions, retail, catering, and events.

Following a period of unprecedented growth, the continuing challenge is to strengthen the organisation and build upon this.

The National Portrait Gallery has free admission and it has averaged around 2 million visits each year to the St Martin’s Place site. There are 4.7 million annual website visits and 927,528 social media followers.

The Gallery employs around 172 full time equivalent staff, and has an average annual turnover of £16 million. The Gallery raises 65% of annual income from fundraising initiatives, retail and rights and images, ticket admission on exhibitions, catering and learning programmes.

The Gallery has also 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 is now embarking on a major renewal project – Inspiring People, a £35.5m capital project

Inspiring People will deliver overarching and transformative improvements, including a complete refurbishment of the galleries; a much needed new Learning Centre; and restoration of the original East Wing.  By extending access locally, nationally and online, our unique collection of portraits of the people who shaped British history will offer inspiration to the widest and most diverse audiences possible, as they in turn shape Britain’s future. This will allow us to create a truly national and evolving portrait of Britain.

The Gallery has been awarded a First Round Heritage Lottery Fund capital grant of £9.4m towards the Inspiring People project.

The architect Jamie Fobert has been appointed to lead the design team for the project. His work on Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge and Tate St Ives have both been acclaimed.

How to Apply

To apply, please send:

  • A CV of no more than two sides of A4; this should provide details of your education and qualifications, employment history, directorships, membership of professional bodies and details of any publications or awards.
  • A supporting statement of not more than two sides of A4, setting out how you meet the criteria – please make sure you refer to the contents of this document;
  • The Conflicts of Interest Form and the Diversity Form. The Diversity Form will be kept separately from your application and Conflicts of Interest Form, and will not be seen by the selection panel in order to meet the Cabinet Office’s Governance Code on Public Appointments.


Completed applications should be sent to: Please put ‘National Portrait Gallery’ and indicate which role you are applying for in the subject title. Alternatively, they can be posted to Public Appointments Team, 100 Parliament Street, London, SW1A 2BQ.


Please note interviews are scheduled for the 10th and 12th September 2018. 

Please note DCMS does not fund travel and subsistence for candidates attending interviews. 


Final Role Specification
Ministerial Message
Code of Conduct for Board Members April 2011
COI Guidance - Charitable Museums and Galleries
Conflicts of Interest Form 2018
OCPA Complaints Procedure (2016)
Conflicts of interest guidance
Privacy Notice- Public Appointments 2018 - applicants
OCPA-June-2018-Monitoring-Form- FINAL
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