Serpentine charity boss Julia Peyton-Jones took 60 per cent pay rise

Gallery attacked for spending too much of its budget on senior salaries

The two co-directors of the Serpentine Gallery, a registered charity, were paid at least 45 per cent more last year than in 2011, The Independent has learnt.

Julia Peyton-Jones’s package puts her among the highest-paid directors of any arts institution, despite the Serpentine being relatively small and the sector as a whole being affected by significant funding cuts. Her earnings, including bonus and other benefits, rose by approximately 60 per cent to between £140,000 and £150,000, according to the latest 2012 published accounts.

The figures were revealed by leading arts commentator David Lee, prompting him to launch a devastating attack on the gallery. Mr Lee said that Ms Peyton-Jones is only running “a small gallery in a former tearoom” in Hyde Park, which does not even have its own collection.

Ms Peyton-Jones’s package exceeds the £140,000 paid to National Gallery director Nicholas Penny, who presides over a world class collection and international scholarly exhibitions and approaches that of the Tate’s director, Nicholas Serota, who manages a vast collection on a salary and benefits deal of around £160,000. He declined a 2012 bonus “in view of the pay freeze” at the institution.

The Serpentine’s co-director Hans-Ulrich Obrist, although not listed as a company director in the accounts, also saw his package  increase from at least £80,000 to within the range of £120,000 to £130,000 in 2012.

Mr Lee also criticised the Arts Council, which he said had “screamed hourly” in 2011 that it was losing over 30 per cent of its taxpayer subsidy and warning of “hard choices” ahead. Its choice was to abolish grants to some 200 organisations, making many redundant. The Serpentine, however, was awarded special status as a “regularly funded organisation”. The Serpentine gets around £1.2m from the Arts Council, about a fifth of the gallery’s costs.

Mr Lee added that the increases came during a period of austerity “when fat cats in the City were being excoriated daily”. He is calling for the Charity Commission to “investigate this profligacy” urgently, and for the Serpentine’s subsidy to be suspended “immediately”. His criticisms will be published on Thursday in The Jackdaw, the satirical art magazine.

Mr Lee writes that the directors “do not deserve anywhere near” what they receive from an institution which has also “enjoyed” 12 National Lottery awards totalling £6.8m.

Mr Lee also questions why Jake and Dinos Chapman “need another [current] exhibition at the subsidised Serpentine” when they have exhibited extensively at public galleries and their dealer has two available big London premises. He claims that the Serpentine shows too much art that is already available at major dealers’ commercial premises.

A Serpentine spokesman said that the rise was due to “bonuses against fundraising” which are “quite normal in the cultural sector” – even though fundraising is a major part of the gallery’s revenue, and therefore, of the job.

“We do not release individual salaries,” the spokesman added. “These figures are made up of key individuals’ ‘whole packages’ and includes pension and National Insurance contributions.”

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones