National Portrait Gallery: more transparent than Tate

Commission sum disclosed for Tom Phillips, unlike the purchase of "The Upper Room"

When National Portrait Gallery (NPG) director Dr Charles Saumarez Smith left his post to move to the National Gallery in 2002, another trustee, Tom Phillips, was paid to paint his portrait for the collection. The NPG was completely open about the commission, allowing a television film to be made about the process. The sum paid, £11,000, a discount on Phillips’ commercial rate, has also been disclosed. In the NPG’s trustee minutes of 10 July 2003, which are publicly available, the price is stated. In the NPG’s 2002-3 annual report and accounts, laid before Parliament, it is also recorded under Related Party Transactions: “The trustee Mr Tom Phillips was commissioned to create a portrait of the outgoing director for a fee of £11,000”. With The upper room, although the purchase is noted in the Tate’s 2004-5 accounts, no sum is given.