Beecroft Bequest - Museums Association

Beecroft Bequest

Institutional members can apply for grants of up to £20,000 for the purchase of pictures and works of art (furniture or textiles can be considered) not later than the 18th century in date.

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 Paxton House, the Armitt, Milford House, Ely Museum and Herschel Museum of Astronomy.

The Beecroft Bequest is open to MA institutional members and in a climate where funds and funding for museums around the UK are shrinking, we want to support our members to make acquisitions and grow their collections.

We are keen to support the development of collections that are relevant to local communities and tell stories that connect with all. The process is straightforward, please do not put off applying. We want to work with you and are keen to answer any questions you may have regarding your application.

Nivek Amichund, Chair of the Museums Association Beecroft Bequest
Criteria for grant awards

Under the terms of the will of the late Walter G Beecroft the residue of his estate was bequeathed to the Museums Association (MA) 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 (e.g. paintings, watercolours, sculpture, ceramics, metalwork, furniture, textiles) and other items of aesthetic merit.
  1. The object
  • must be genuine, of good quality and condition
  • must represent good value for money – an independent valuation should be sought
  • must be valued at at least £500.
  1. The applicant
  • must demonstrate how it meets the organisation’s acquisition policy and overall aims and objectives
  • must demonstrate how the object fits with the organisation’s collections development policy
  • must confirm commitment to and awareness of the Museums Association’s Code of Ethics, Museums Change Lives and the Supporting Decolonisation in Museums guidance, particularly where the acquisition may support work in these areas
  • must explain, with examples, how the object will be used and interpreted to fulfil your museum’s equality, diversity and inclusion objectives
  • must demonstrate how the object will be made accessible to the public
  • must demonstrate the aesthetic merit of the object
  • ensure there is a sound reason for the acquisition.

Applicants must provide:

  • A copy of the condition report
  • An independent valuation
  • All applications must be sent electronically with an electronic signature and at least one high resolution photograph of the object(s)
  • 200 word case study once the object is on display.
  1. The grant
  • Up to 95% of the purchase price can be awarded
  • No single grant will exceed £20,000
  • 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 grant awarded will be paid upon production of the following proof of payment:

  • Verifiable receipt for the full value of the purchase and;
  • bank statement showing payment made.

Proof of payment should be provided within 3 months; please contact us as soon as possible if you foresee a delay in acquiring the object and/or providing proof of purchase.

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

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 Eyles
Tel: 020 7566 7800



Nivek Amichund
Nivek is chief exhibitor at Historic Royal Palaces.


Amisha Karia
Amisha is a doctoral researcher at the University of Leicester and collection curator at Bethlem Gallery.

Clare Whitbread
Clare is exhibitions manager at Historic Environment Scotland.

Emma Shepley
Emma is a freelance curator and consultant.

Gillian Findlay
Gillian is curatorial and engagement manager at Edinburgh Museums.

Mo Suleman
Mo is a chartered accountant and finance director at Bloc Digital.

Mike Bieber

Sally Parekh


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