Beecroft Bequest - Museums Association

Beecroft Bequest

Institutional members can apply for grants of up to £10,000 to acquire pre-19th century pictures and works of art by old masters, or worthy school pictures of old masters.

Under the terms of the will of the late Walter G Beecroft, the residue of his estate was generously left to the Museums Association to form the Beecroft Bequest.

The Beecroft Bequest has helped fund a number of significant acquisitions for institutional members,  including Milford House, Ely Museum and Herschel Museum of Astronomy.

The Beecroft Bequest is an incredibly helpful fund for MA institutional members. As acquisition budgets continue to dwindle or disappear for museums around the UK, the Beecroft Bequest committee is keen to support museums of all sizes to expand their collections. The application process is very straightforward and succinct, and we are glad to answer any questions about how we can work with you.

Simon Brown, Chair of the Museums Association Beecroft Bequest
Criteria and eligibility

Under the terms of the will of the late Walter G Beecroft the residue of his estate was bequeathed to the Museums Association to form the Beecroft Bequest.

The income deriving from the bequest was to be distributed as grant-in-aid to art galleries and museums in the British Isles towards 

… the purchase of pictures and works of art (furniture or textiles can be considered) not later than the 18th century in date…’

The Bequest is administered by trustees who are appointed by the MA.

To be eligible:

  1. Museums must:
  • be institutional members of the MA and based in the UK
  • be accredited
  • not have already been awarded a grant from the fund in the current financial year
  • fall into the first three institutional membership bands
  1. The purchase:
  • must not be later in date than 1800
  • can be of fine or decorative arts (eg paintings, watercolours, sculpture, ceramics, metalwork, furniture, textiles) and other items of aesthetic merit.
  1. The object:
  • must be genuine, of good quality and of sound quality and condition (where necessary, Trustees may request an independent condition report)
  • must represent good value for money – an independent valuation should be sought
  • must be at least £500
  1. The applicant:
  • must demonstrate how it meets the organisation’s acquisition policy/ aims and objectives
  • must demonstrate how the object fits with the organisation’s collections development policy
  • must demonstrate how the object will be made accessible to the public
  • should pay particular attention to the aesthetic merit of the object
  • ensure there is a sound reason for the acquisition.
  1. The grant
  • Up to 95% of the purchase price can be awarded
  • No single grant will exceed £10,000
  • An element of local financial contribution is required
  1. The process
  • Applications can be considered at any time
  • In the case of auction sales at least five working days are required although the trustees cannot guarantee to consider any application made at short notice.

Applications for grants for items which have already been purchased will not be considered.

The Museums Association Beecroft Bequest will review applicants that have previously received funding from the Bequest and evaluate their adherence to the requirements of the Bequest.

Any grant awarded will be paid upon production of the receipt for the full value of the purchase.

Acknowledgement of the financial assistance and logo of the Museums Association Beecroft Bequest is required on the display labelling and all documentation including online and marketing materials, as follows:

Purchased on (date) with support from the Museums Association Beecroft Bequest

Any known queries regarding provenance or questions raised by other bodies must be disclosed.



To find out more

Charlie Lindus
Tel: 020 7566 7800


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