Banking & finance

Goodison, Nicholas (7 of 46) National Life Stories: City Lives

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  • Subjects

    Banking; Stockbroking

  • Recording date


  • Is part of (Collection)

    City Lives

  • Recording locations

    TSB offices, London

  • Interviewees

    Goodison, Nicholas (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Courtney, Cathy, 1954- (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 7 (tape 4 side A): About NG’s introduction to Burlington Magazine as a result of his writings on the history of furniture; being asked by Keith Roberts, Ben Nicholson’s assistant editor, to edit an edition about English furniture – says decorative arts in the Sixties innovatory for the Burlington. Here recalls opening of the Fitzwilliam Museum’s new lighting system and records comments of Michael Jaffé who was also there.NG talks about Ben Nicholson, his personality, his books et cetera. About NG’s introduction to Sir Richard Brinsley Ford at the Beefsteak Club in mid Seventies; describes him as imposing, authoritative, passionate about the arts; about his art collection, his career, his work on the Grand Tour, his writings, especially for Apollo magazine, his contribution to research and scholarship. Also about John Ingamell’s Dictionary of the Grand Tour. Says Brinsley Ford is currently working on an edition of his collection to be published in Walpole Society’s annual journals. Further references to Brinsley Ford’s contribution to the arts, his connoisseurship, his claims to fame, his figurative tastes. Says he was responsible for initiating travel scholarship to Spain for young people – about visits to his collections. Describes him as an interesting and unusual Chairman of the National Art Collections Fund with trenchant opinions. Here NG gives his view of the role of the Chairman of the Fund and the committee’s choice of works of art. Describes the two different and distinct roles of the chairmanship, looking at works of art and seeking a consensus. Talks about contemporary works of art and reactions f committee members. Cites example of Baselitz’s 1982 carved wooden figure, describes it, and records Lord Gibson’s contribution, as a committee member, to the discussion; the decision made to choose it; the reactions of art historians and others when sculpture on show in Edinburgh; says it was also at a Christie’s show recently and admired and hated in equal measure. NG admits that he likes it now, having hated it initially. Here he talks about criteria adopted by the committee when choosing a work of art: collective taste of committee; topographical importance; historical importance of objects defining deviation from the artistic norm. Says committee fulfils an important function, viewing works from ancient China to the most modern painter’s canvas. Quotes instance of turning down a work by Damien Hirst. Says fame or anonymity has nothing to do with committee’s choice. Recalls helping Cartwright Hall, Bradford, to buy a number of works by Pakistani artists because of the ethnic mix there. Refers to limitations on money. Some statistics here about the Fund’s finances: income under £100,000 in 1978, capital less than £1,000,000. Now with legacies, contributions, and growing membership, capital now £25,000,000 – able to help more and more in the past years. Insists that there is no attempt to create a balance between traditional and modern works of art and says that if he or any member of the committee should see a particular work which is thought to be suitable for a museum or gallery, they would bring it to the attention of the relevant curator. Talks about auctions and the committee’s involvement and about his power to deal with a grant up to £25,000 in between meetings, and their policy of dealing with purchase of works of art if too large to be taken to committee meetings or for sale abroad. Says majority of works from British dealers or private UK collections. For a possible purchase of a work up for sale in New York, for example, they would use advisers in New York or Boston. Talks also about the committee’s influence generally on the purchases by art museums. Says the membership has mushroomed over the past ten to fifteen years, now 85,000, and says how this was achieved. Fund now has a more active political stance and has a voice in the debate about museum entrance charges or a threatened closure. Refers to his lecture this year at the British Museum entitled The Future of Museums – invited to lecture as Chairman of the Fund.

  • Description

    Interview with Sir Nicholas Goodison, Chairman of the Stock Exchange (1976–1988) the TSB Group (1989–1995), the Courtauld Institute of Art, (1982–2002), the National Art Collections Fund (1986–2002), and National Life Stories (2003–).

  • Related transcripts

    Sir Nicholas Goodison interviewed by Cathy Courtney: full interview transcript

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