Our History

The charity was established in 1810 and was granted a Royal Charter in 1827 as the ‘Society for the protection and relief of artists in the several studies of painting, sculpture, architecture and engraving, and their widows and orphans’. The charity then consisted of two funds: The Annuity Fund was declared dormant on 16 April 2002 and through supplemental charters of 1952 and 2002 became known as the Artists’ Benevolent Fund. Its aim is now defined by the Trustees as being ‘ a charity that supports visual artists of all kinds including makers, architects and digital artists. This gives the Trustees a wide area of discretion.

Now the work of the ABF reflects the changes in the art world that have happened since the beginning of the nineteenth century. In 2016 the focus of our grants programme shifted to supporting young artists who have recently graduated. We partner with university art schools to provide post graduate funding, facilities and supervision to help promising graduates who have a financial need to develop their careers in that all important first year after graduating.  One such grant has been given to Olivia Sparrow, a graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University School of Art.  Such grants can only be obtained through the University department. If you are interested in being considered please approach your faculty staff in the first instance.

In addition to making grants to new graduates we will still consider applications, in exceptional cases, for funding for disabled and needy artists of merit


Registered Charity Number 270585
Registered office: 31 Freston Gardens, Barnet, Herts EN4 9LX