Strand entrance, Somerset House
Strand entrance, Somerset House
Sir Nicholas Goodison’s characteristically modest comments about his long and distinguished Chairmanship of the Courtauld Management Board, need a simple footnote: without him we would not be where we are now. It was he who saw and seized the opportunity of the University’s decision to review our status – sensibly overriding any scruples about behaving like a ‘real chairman’. He set out the vision of what could be, and provided the encouragement to see it through to our independence on 1st August. The Courtauld offers Nicholas our perpetual thanks. We are delighted that he will continue as a member of the Board.

With respect to 1st August, special thanks are also due to Eric Fernie and all the staff at the Institute, as well as Anita Drew, seconded for a year from Slaughter and May, for the enormous effort – much of it still continuing – that they have all put in to ensuring that we are up and running independently at the beginning of the autumn term. It is a very successful team.

Sir Nicholas has spoken of the Courtauld’s full agenda, and outlined the key items succinctly. It is also well recognised that the Courtauld cannot do everything at once. While many important projects are on-going, the next several months will also be a time of discussing and agreeing priorities and setting timetables for implementation. Helping to set these priorities will be Eric Fernie’s successor, Jim Cuno. The Nominations Committee, most ably headed by Neil MacGregor, were unanimous in their choice, and we are delighted that Jim, currently the Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard University Art Museums and Professor of History of Art at Harvard University, will be joining us in January.

We now celebrate the wonderful new loans to the Courtauld Gallery of over one hundred twentieth-century art works, described by Ernst Vegelin in this newsletter. Our warmest thanks go to the lenders for their great generosity as we welcome these works to our family of collections.

2002 has been a vintage year for the Courtauld; 5* rating for research and the Gallery; independence; finding an outstanding successor to Eric Fernie; and now the new picture loans. The future is promising.