Compton Verney is governed by a Board of Governors. The Board of Governors determines policy and, together with senior staff at Compton Verney, sets the strategic direction of Compton Verney. It oversees the management of the gallery, with the Governors acting as guardians of the public interest.
The Board decides on resource allocations, it represents Compton Verney externally, and monitors the organisation’s performance against agreed objectives.
Role of the Governors
As a charity, Compton Verney sets down guidelines for what is expected in Governors’ conduct.
The statutory duties of a Governor are:
- To ensure that Compton Verney complies with its governing document, charity law, and any other relevant legislation or regulations
- To ensure that Compton Verney pursues its objects as defined in its governing document
- To ensure Compton Verney uses its resources exclusively in pursuance of its objects: Compton Verney must not spend money on activities which are not included in its own objects, no matter how worthwhile or charitable those activities are
- To contribute actively to the Board’s role in giving firm strategic direction to the organisation, setting overall policy, defining goals and setting targets and evaluating performance against agreed targets
- To safeguard the good name and values of Compton Verney
- To ensure the effective and efficient administration of Compton Verney
- To ensure the financial stability of Compton Verney
- To protect and manage the property of the charity, ensuring the proper investment of the charity’s funds and the use of effective risk management processes
- To appoint the chief executive officer and monitor his/her performance
In addition to the above statutory duties, each Governor should use their specific skills, knowledge or experience they have to help the Board of Governors reach sound decisions. This may involve:
- Scrutinising Board papers
- Leading discussions
- Focusing on key issues
- Providing guidance on new initiatives
- Other issues in which the Governor has special expertise
Our current Governors
Kirsten Suenson-Taylor - Chair
Originally an archaeologist, Kirsten went on to train as an archaeological conservator and worked for many years at the Museum of London. She has a particular interest in the conservation of wet archaeological organic materials, such as wood, leather and textiles. More recently Kirsten has worked with ICON (The Institute for Conservation) helping to promote conservation to government and to the public as well as organising professional conferences and events. Kirsten has been a trustee of Compton Verney Collection Settlement since 1999 and was a trustee of Peter Moores Foundation since 2004 until its close in 2014.
Kirsten replaced Graham Greene as Chairman of CVHT in 2012.
After study at the Architectural Association and training as a landscape architect at Gloucestershire College of Art & Design and Pershore College of Horticulture, Chris became Cornwall County Council’s first landscape architect. He joined Colvin and Moggridge in 1972, becoming an Associate in 1974, and Partner to Hal Moggridge in 1982. He remains an active Consultant in the practice. As Landscape Institute representative on the Joint Council for Landscape Industries, he helped develop the JCLI lists of Herbaceous Plants (1978-81) and Trees and Shrubs (1984-89). He contributed to After the Elm, published by Heinemann in 1979, and has lectured widely on landscape design, at ADAS, Wye College, Cheltenham and Gloucester College, and Oxford Brooks University. He is Chairman of the Gardens Panel at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens.
Dr. Oliver Cox
Dr Oliver Cox is a Knowledge Exchange Fellow at the University of Oxford. He created the Thames Valley Country House Partnership (www.tvchp.org) in 2013 as a way of linking entrepreneurial ideas in the heritage sector with researchers at the University of Oxford. He co-ordinates a range of collaborative projects with country houses, and co-supervises a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the National Trust.
Oliver is a historian by training, and received his undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Oxford. He has published widely on Gothic Revival architecture, landscape gardening, patriotism, the heritage sector, and is currently writing A Short History of the Long Eighteenth Century.
He is a member of the Faculty of History (University of Oxford); Senior Scholar at University College, Oxford; Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; a Trustee of the Oxfordshire Record Society; and a member of Arts Council England’s Designation Panel.
Loyd Grossman CBE is an entrepreneur, writer and broadcaster with a long involvement in museums and heritage. He is Chairman of The Royal Parks, Chairman of the Heritage Alliance, Deputy Chair of the Royal Drawing School and President of NADFAS. Loyd was born in Boston and educated at Boston University, the London School of Economics and Magdalene College, Cambridge. A former Commissioner of English Heritage and of the Museums and Galleries Commission, he is an Emeritus Governor of the LSE, a member of the Council of the British School at Rome and a member of the board of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions.
Loyd is a Liveryman of the Carpenters’ Company, an Honorary Liveryman of the Glaziers’ Company and Upper Warden of the Arts Scholars’ Company. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and of the Society of Antiquaries and plays guitar in a rock band who have made six appearances at Glastonbury.
A native of Bootle who helped bring up his family near Stratford on Avon, Will Hanrahan spent 18 years as a BBC reporter, presenter and series producer before establishing his Independent Production business as a top 50 Creative Company winning Royal Television Society awards for factual and entertainment along the way. He remains a film-maker and Creative entrepreneur exporting documentaries to over 80 countries. He has led on the launch of a new Arts charity in Stratford, ‘The ArtsHouse, is a fellow of Royal Society of Arts and chairs the private-public consultative body ‘Stratford Vision.’ Married to Gill, he has four children, and retains an over-indulged passion for Everton Football Club.
Rita McLean has worked in the museums and heritage sector throughout her career. She was Director of Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery (BMAG) from 2004 until May 2012, and prior to this, a member of BMAG’s senior management team with specific responsibility for the management and development of the service’s historic house museums and sites. She has extensive experience of implementing museum and heritage development projects of varying scales, collections development and staging exhibition and museum education programmes. Her work has also encompassed spearheading a range of audience development and diversity initiatives.
Rita previously served as a member of the National Museums Directors Council, on the Creative and Cultural Skills Heritage Advisory Panel, and on the Heritage Lottery Fund’s national expert panel for Museums, Libraries and Archives.
She now combines work as a Museum and Heritage consultant with historical research, lecturing and writing projects. She is a member of the National Trust’s Midlands Region Advisory Board, chairs Birmingham Civic Society’s Heritage Committee and is an editorial board member for the West Midlands History publication.
In 2010, Rita was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Birmingham.
Janet Bell Smith
Having graduated from Aston University, Janet Bell Smith has worked in the field of Human Resources for over 30 years, initially with PricewaterhouseCoopers as Head of HR (Assurance) in the Midlands and more recently as a consultant to various clients whose interests have ranged from engineering to the arts.
She currently works for the NHS in a Lay Advisor capacity.
Her previous non-executive roles have included the Birmingham Royal Ballet, Warwickshire Primary Care Trust and two local Hospices.
Outside of work she has been a magistrate for over 25 years including chairing the Coventry and Warwickshire Bench of magistrates for the last three years. Last year she had the honour of undertaking the role of the High Sheriff of Warwickshire until March 2016.
Janet has lived in Warwickshire for over 35 years and has three grown up children. Her outside interests include travel, cooking and the Arts.
Howard Jones is an Associate Professor of Finance at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford and a Fellow of Keble College, Oxford. His areas of research include institutional asset management, investment banking, and private equity. Howard joined the Saїd Business School in 2003 after a 15-year career in investment banking. He had previously worked at Deutsche Bank and at BNP Paribas, where he was worldwide head of equity capital markets. Howard is also a Lecturer in Linguistics at Keble College; his research interests here are in the early Germanic languages. Howard graduated in Classics and Modern Languages from Magdalen College, Oxford, and he has a degree in German and a PhD in Linguistics from the University of London.
Janatha Stubbs MBE, MOM
Janatha Stubbs was born in Lancashire and educated at Cheltenham Ladies College and Bedford College London where she studied History.
She moved to Malta in 1969 where she remained after the death of her husband in 1998. Between 1982 and 1998, Janatha acted as consultant, Main Board or International Board Director for The Littlewoods Organisation. A member of the Malta Playing Fields Association from 1972 until 2007, she was Chairman from 1980 until 2000.
From 1989 Janatha has been President and Founder of Ir-Razzett Tal-Hbiberija, which is a centre for people with disabilities. She is also a Founder Member and President of Soroptimist International Malta. Janatha was Chairman of Compton Verney House Trust from 1993 to 2005 and remains a Governor.
She was awarded the Malta Order of Merit for charitable works in 1993 and the MBE in 2003 for services to the disabled in Malta.
Professor Paul Smith is director of Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Prior to taking up the post at OUMNH he was head of the School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham but has worked in university museums for most of his career, starting at the Sedgwick Museum in Cambridge before moving to the Geological Museum in Copenhagen. At the University of Birmingham, Paul was curator, then director, of the Lapworth Museum of Geology before moving to Oxford in 2012.
He has wide-ranging research interests in the evolutionary origin of animals and the geology of Arctic areas, and has thirty years of expedition and field research experience in Greenland and Svalbard. Within museums, he has particular interests in the application of digital technologies, the establishment of international partnerships to support natural history research and education, and public engagement in contemporary science issues.
Paul is currently co-chair of University Museums Group UK and president of the Palaeontological Association.
Peter has a degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University. After two years working in industry he joined the Tate Gallery to train in art conservation before becoming involved in the management of its collection and exhibitions and became responsible for the planning of their estate. He later worked with Cornwall County Council on Tate Gallery St Ives which opened in 1993, followed by Tate Gallery Liverpool Phase 2 in 1998 and culminating with the delivery of Tate Modern in 2000 and Tate Britain Centenary Development in 2001.
He continued to work on plans for the second phase of Tate Modern and an extension to Tate St Ives until he was appointed by the Royal Shakespeare Company as Transformation Project Director for their Stratford-upon-Avon theatres in 2005. When the RSC project was completed, he became a freelance consultant specialising in advising on cultural buildings and from 2011 – 2017 was engaged in that capacity by the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority in Hong Kong, working on the Xiqu Centre for Chinese Opera, the M+ museum of visual culture, the Lyric Theatre and the masterplanning for the second phase of theatre development in the District.
He has also advised on arts projects in Norway, France, Italy, Abu Dhabi, South Africa and Singapore and has recently been consulting on arts projects in Australia, Beijing and Qatar. He just begun a part time role as Project Director for the Hall for Cornwall in Truro. He is Special Adviser to the Theatres Trust in the UK. He was awarded an OBE for services to museums in 2001 and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Lydia Thomas has spent the majority of her career in public sector broadcasting, originally as a producer and presenter, and most recently for the BBC and the BBC Trust, the corporation’s former governing body. With wide-ranging interests in the arts and culture, she has both grant-making and fundraising experience in the third sector including setting up the former BBC Wildlife Fund. Based in Warwickshire for the last 25 years while raising her family, Lydia has also held public appointments with Ofcom, as Chair of the Advisory Committee on Older and Disabled People; and the Big Lottery Fund, as the Midland representative on the England committee. She has served on a number of advisory committees including the British Medical Association Patient Liaison Group and The Wellcome Trust arts and science funding committee. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a long-term member of the Spinal Injuries Association. Lydia graduated in History from University College, Cardiff.
Sarah Carthew is the Director of Development at St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford.
Role of the Director
The day-to-day operations of Compton Verney are managed by the Chief Executive & Artistic Director, who is accountable to the Board of Governors. The Director is appointed by the Board. Our current Chief Executive & Artistic Director is Dr Steven Parissien.
Who we are
Compton Verney is an independent national art gallery and ‘Capability’ Brown landscape located nine miles from Stratford-upon-Avon. We are a registered charity (no. 1032478), established in 1993 with the aim of providing an inspiring and entertaining cultural day out for visitors of all ages and backgrounds – whether they have come to see our highly-acclaimed art exhibitions, to take part in our wide-ranging activities, or to enjoy the diverse features of our extensive historic landscape.
Compton Verney is
- a unique cultural attraction that is inclusive and relaxed yet, at the same time, innovative and bold;
- a must-see, engaging, family-friendly destination
- ‘the national gallery on your doorstep’ – a nationally accredited and internationally recognised art gallery which stages some of the most important art exhibitions in the area, connecting our region to the world and works closely with the UK’s large, state-funded national museums and galleries;
- one of the most distinctive and user-friendly hire venues in the region
- an exemplar for environmental sustainability.
Sir Peter Moores CBE DL
(9 April 1932 – 23 March 2016)
Compton Verney House Trust is indebted to the vision and generosity of the Peter Moores Foundation (1964-2014), which rescued the site in 1993 and not only funded the conversion of the derelict Georgian mansion into an art gallery, together with addition of a large modern exhibition and service wing, but also generously supported the gallery’s activities during its crucial early development. We are enormously grateful to the munificence of the Foundation, whose unstinting liberality constitutes one of the most outstanding philanthropic acts of the late twentieth century.
Sir Peter Moores was born in Lancashire and educated at Eton College and Christchurch, Oxford, where he studied Italian and German. He had a gap year at Glyndebourne working as a behind-the-scenes administrator and then studied at the Vienna Academy of Music.
In 1957 he joined his father’s business, Littlewoods, becoming Vice-Chairman in 1976, Chairman from 1977 – 1980 and remaining as a director until 1993. His public appointments include Governor of the BBC (1981 – 1983), Trustee of the Tate Gallery (1978 – 1985) and Director of Scottish Opera (1988 – 1993).
In 1991, he was appointed a CBE and Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire in 1992. He received a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours List in 2003 in recognition of his charitable services to the arts.
We remain immensely grateful to Sir Peter for his original support, generosity and vision. Without his intervention and imagination, Compton Verney would today be a romantic ruin, and the inspiring art gallery and park that has been developed there a mere pipe dream.
Not only does Sir Peter’s magnificent achievement leave the nation with a significant legacy; in addition, his farsighted patronage of the arts will continue to serve as an exemplary model for others in the years ahead.
Today, everything we do supports our mission: to share our passion for art and landscape with as many people as possible.
Compton Verney House Trust (CVHT) co-operates with two related charities, and two related companies in order to achieve its objectives. The two charities are the Compton Verney Collection Settlement (CVCS) and the Compton Verney Fund (CVF) both founded by Sir Peter Moores.
Compton Verney’s vision
|Excellence||to present a high-quality experience in a regional context|
|Celebrate our uniqueness||by bringing together historic and modern art, architecture and landscape|
|Inspire and engage||by entertaining, surprising, informing and challenging through all that we do|
|Inclusive||by offering an approach to art that is jargon-free, gently paced and refreshingly relaxed|
Compton Verney’s mission statement
To share our passion for art with as many people as possible to help them gain something of intellectual and spiritual value from their encounter with Compton Verney.
Our working relationships are defined by three core values:
|Creativity||To challenge accepted norms and to find imaginative solutions that take Compton Verney forward|
|Professionalism||To achieve the highest professional standards in our work, and to behave with respect and courtesy for others|
|Trust||To work in ways which empower and support our colleagues|