top of page

About  /  Company Guide 


Company Guide

About this Guide

This Guide is intended to introduce the Arts Scholars Company to new and potential members and to provide some of the flavour of the Company and how it works.

The Arts Scholars Company also supports The Company of Arts Scholars Charitable Trust; details of the Trust’s work and the activities it supports are set out later in this Guide. The Trust relies entirely upon the donations from the Company’s members and friends, and members are strongly encouraged to support the Trust whenever they can.

This Guide is intended to be illustrative rather than comprehensive or determinative; in cases of importance, reference should always be made to the Company’s Charter, Bylaws and Ordinances, and where applicable the Charitable Deed of Trust, all of which of course prevail.

The Arts Scholars

The Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars grew from a meeting of like-minded individuals from the arts and antiques world in 2004, became the 110th Livery Company of the City of London in 2014 and received its Royal Charter on 1st July 2019.

Members are involved in the study, curation, collection and trade in the historic and decorative arts and related areas of expertise and practice, from art insurers to archaeologists, collectors to curators, teachers to traders.

The Company seeks to bring together participants in these fields for their mutual benefit and enjoyment, to promote education and opportunity in the historic and decorative arts. Also to uphold the ancient livery traditions of supporting charitable-giving, in our case for the historic and decorative arts, to support the activities of the Lord Mayor and City of London, and for wider charitable causes.



Company Arms and Shield

The Freedom

Following interview by Past Masters or Wardens, election by the Court and admission at a suitable ceremony, membership of the Company starts with the “Freedom” of the Company (members of the Company of both sexes being known as “Freemen” unless and until they join the Livery). Freemen are entitled to attend the Company’s Annual Dinner, Installation Dinner and the majority of Company events (Liverymen have first call on heavily subscribed events), to receive the Company Newsletters free of charge and to participate in Common Hall.

Having also become Freemen of the City of London, Freemen may apply to the Court to join the Livery, and it is hoped that most Freemen will go on to do so. The procedure for becoming a Freeman of the City of London is available from the Clerk.

The Livery

The Livery constitutes the core of the Company. To apply to join the Livery, Freemen must have obtained the Freedom of the City of London. It is also expected that they will have contributed regularly to the Charitable Trust and participated reasonably regularly in the Company’s events. Members of the Livery of both sexes are called "Liverymen".

Only Liverymen of the Company can become members of the Court and (if elected by the Court) become a Warden and Master.

Liverymen are particularly invited to the annual Livery Dinner each autumn and the Installation Ceremony, as well as the Annual Banquet and Installation Dinner, have priority of booking for heavily subscribed Company events, receive the Company Newsletters free of charge and can participate in Common Hall.



New Liverymen with the Master in 2019

The Court

The Court is the decision-making body for the Company, and meets five times a year chaired by the Master. The Court consists of 20-24 members of the Livery including the Master, the Deputy Master (who is the immediate Past Master), the three Wardens and up to six other Past Masters, and so consists broadly of 65% members “before the Chair” (Master) and 35% who have been through the Chair, in an attempt to blend youth and experience. Members of the Court are known as “Court Assistants”.

With only five meetings a year, the Court tends to have a lot of business to get through. As a result, some of the Company’s day to day activities are delegated to a series of Committees, with the Committee Chairmen reporting back with updates and requests for discussion and decision by the Court.



The Court in 2021

The Master

The Master is the principal representative of the Company in the City and elsewhere, and chairs meetings of the Court. The Master is elected at the Election Court in March each year and is installed at the Installation Ceremony at the start of the Company’s year in May.

He or she is invited to attend a series of city events through the year, which provides an unrivalled view of some of the City’s most ancient places and events, such as The Silent Ceremony for the swearing-in of the new Lord Mayor, the Election of the Sheriffs at Common Hall in Guildhall and many other City events.

The Master also receives invitations to dine with other Livery Companies at a range of formal and less formal occasions through the year, which (apart from being great fun) is an excellent way to meet other Livery Companies and their Masters. The Master also attends the weekend of festivities for all Livery Masters, Prime Wardens and Upper Bailiffs, held at Ironbridge in June each year.

The Wardens

The Arts Scholars have three Wardens: Renter, Middle and Upper in ascending levels of seniority. Each is elected at the Election Court and it is expected that the incumbents might progress each year from one level to the next to end up as Master, although each step remains at the discretion of the Court.

Each year the Wardens organise the “Anthology of Skills” evening. This involves a series of presentations by members on a wide range of subjects around a common theme, in previous years being the “Cabinet of Curiosities” at the Museum of London, the “Grand Tour” at Freemasons’ Hall, “Mad, Bad and Dangerous…” at The Old Bailey and “Holbein and the Holbeinesque” at Barber-Surgeons’ Hall. Arts Scholars are encouraged to share their own areas of expertise on these varied and lively occasions.

Principal Company Events

Installation of Master and Wardens

The Installation Ceremony for Master and Wardens takes place in May and is the first event of the Company’s year. It is immediately followed by the Installation Dinner.

Common Hall

Held in July and provides an opportunity for the Court and Committee Chairmen to report to Liverymen and Freemen about the progress and activities of the Company and to take their questions. Common Hall is followed by drinks and lunch or dinner.

Annual Dinner

Held in January or February at one of the larger Livery Halls and is the Company’s principal social event, open to Liverymen, Freemen and guests.

Livery Dinner

A black tie dinner in October or early November at one of the smaller Livery Halls and is open to Liverymen only, providing an opportunity to congregate and dine in slightly less formal circumstances than the Annual Banquet. Where possible, new Liverymen are “clothed in the Livery” at this their first Livery event.

Mithras Lecture

Held in October and involves a lecture on an arts-related subject by a leader in their field, followed by a reception. This is the Company’s principal City event, to which we invite the masters and members of other Livery Companies.

Eva Weininger Spring Lecture

Named after our generous benefactor, this is a less formal lecture or discussion for members and their guests, held in April and usually delivered by an Arts Scholar on a topic within their particular field of interest or expertise.



Common Hall



The Annual Dinner

The Clerk

The Clerk is the Company’s sole employee, and provides the day to day management and administration of the Company, and liaison with Company members and with other city entities. The Clerk is appointed by the Court and reports to the Court and the Master, and fulfils a vital role in all aspects of the Company’s life and character, providing continuity from one Master to the next, often over many years.

The Committees

Participation in the Company’s committees provides the most involved and “hands–on” experience of the Company’s day to day activities and projects. Each committee is chaired by a member of the Court and is made up of a broad cross-section of Liverymen and some Freemen. Committee members are appointed by each of the chairmen and appointments generally last for three to five years, so we can ensure that as many members as possible can be involved. Members are welcome (indeed encouraged!) to serve on more than one committee. Committees generally meet 4 or 5 times a year, usually in the 2 or 3 weeks before the next Court meeting. The Master and Wardens are entitled (expected) to attend all committee meetings in an ex officio capacity, to provide an overall view and to feel the pulse of the Company and its various activities.

Finance Committee

The Finance Committee, in conjunction with the Company’s accountant, prepares the Company’s annual accounts for the Company’s auditors and members, prepares financial forecasts and budgets, and advises the Hon. Treasurer and the Court on financial and administrative matters. As the Company and the Charitable Trust (see below) are entirely separate legal entities, with charitable funds unavailable to the Company, the Company’s (more limited) funds need careful management.

Membership Committee

The Membership Committee considers applications to join the Company, advises the Court on matters relating to the membership in general, and liaises with the Senior Liveryman on matters concerning the Livery. The Senior Liveryman is a 2 year renewable appointment by the Court of a Liverymen (who is not on the Court), who can represent views and suggestions from the Livery and advise Freemen on progression to the Livery.

Events Committee

Events are arranged by the Company’s subsidiary, Arts Scholars Events Ltd. The Events Committee assists the Events Company to provide a broad range of entertaining and attractive events through the year, involving a variety of types, topics and costs.

Apart from the formal Company events such as the Annual Banquet, the Installation Dinner, Livery Dinner and Common Hall, the committee arranges smaller and less formal events such as visits to important collections and premises (recent examples being the American Museum in Bath, Knole in Kent, mudlarking on the Thames foreshore, and handling sessions at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge). Many of the visits are made possible by Arts Scholars working at the venues concerned and entail privileged access and activities not available to the general public.

The committee is always keen to receive ideas for future events, as it helps the Events Company in its mission to provide an exciting range of unique occasions without hesitation, repetition or deviation.

The Events Committee also organises trips further afield, including to the Catherine the Great Exhibition at Houghton Hall (2014), to her palaces in and around St. Petersburg (2015), to Rome (2016) and to Madrid and Toledo (2018). The 2021 trip is planned for Transylvania.



Arts Scholars in Rome, 2016

Education Committee

The Education Committee oversees the Company’s educational projects and liaises with the Charity Committee (see Charitable Trust below) in respect of requests to the Trust for financial support for educational initiatives.

The committee organises the Eva Weininger Spring Lecture and the “Anthology of Skills” events which involve a series of presentations by members for members, including the “Cabinet of Curiosities” afternoon at the Museum of London (2015) and the “ Grand Tour ” evening at Freemasons’ Hall (2016). The 2017 event will be at Court No. 1 The Old Bailey, in February 2017, on the theme of art and crime, entitled “Mad, Bad and Dangerous…” .

The committee is also working on the provision on our website of arts-related careers advice for schools, and advises the Master on a speaker for the Mithras Lecture, which is the Company’s pre-eminent lecture for our members and the Masters and members of other Livery Companies each year.



Arts-related careers sessions at Christ’s Hospital


Various ad-hoc and sub committees are established by the Court from time to time to advise it on specific matters, including the Regalia Committee, overseeing our regalia, grant of arms etc, and the Charity Auction Committee which arranged the auction at Sotheby’s in 2011 to raise funds for the Arts Scholars Charitable Trust.

The Company's Website

Members are encouraged to refer to the Company’s website on a regular basis, where they will find details about:

  • regular updates and forthcoming visits and trips

  • past and future social events (with numerous photographs)

  • the Company’s officers and committees

  • the Company’s educational and charitable initiatives

  • fellow members’ contact details

  • information about purchasing Company items (ties, badges, brooches and cufflinks etc)


Members’ Log-in and password details for the members’ section of the website are available from the Clerk. All members are encouraged to keep their details up to date for the benefit of other members (these details are not available to non-members).

The Company of Arts Scholars Charitable Trust

The Charitable Trust is an independent charity registered with the Charity Commission. It was established by the Company to pursue the Company’s charitable goals in the support of the historic and decorative arts and to pursue its wider charitable causes. These objectives are fundamental to the Company’s role and members are strongly encouraged to contribute to the Arts Scholars Charitable Trust funds on a regular basis, and (it is hoped!) to remember our Trust in their wills.

Trustees are appointed by the Court from the membership of the Company. Having been so appointed, the Trustees carry out their duties in pursuit of the Trust’s charitable goals, independently from the Company in accordance with charity law. The funds of the Charitable Trust are entirely separate from the funds of the Company.

Our charity policy is focused upon support for curation, exhibition, education, training and career development in the historic and decorative arts, particularly where we can make a real difference, have a significant impact for the beneficiary and increase diversity and opportunity in the historic and decorative arts.

The Charitable Trust's Annual Awards

The Arts Scholars Charitable Trust makes a number of annual awards to support opportunity and diversity in the historic and decorative arts:

  • Royal Collection Trust 9 month Internship

  • Museum of London, supporting the Claims Administrator at the Portable Antiquities Scheme (The Geoffrey Egan Award)

  • Guildhall Art Library Conservation Internship (from 2020)

  • Arts Scholars MA Award (York University)

  • Arts Scholars MA Award (Sussex University)

  • West Dean College Conservation Awards (2)

  • Geoffrey Bond Travel Award

  • Arts Scholars Research Awards (2)


The Arts Scholars Charitable Trust also provides financial support to the Company’s two military affiliations, The University of London Officer Training Corps and Thames Valley Wing Air Cadets.

West Dean College metalwork.jpg


Conservation and Metalwork Course,

West Dean College

The Charity Committee

The Charity Committee considers one-off applications for Charitable Trust support and makes recommendations to the Trustees about grants and donations from the trust fund.

Many arts, heritage and other organisations have been supported over the years (some on a regular basis), including:

  • The National Maritime Museum

  • The Geffrye Museum

  • The Mary Rose Trust

  • The Charterhouse

  • Richard Cloudesley School

  • HAC Light Cavalry

  • Marie Curie

  • British Legion

  • Headway East London

  • The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (The Northumberland Vase)

  • London Air Ambulance

  • ARTiculation

  • Lauderdale House

  • Westminster Abbey Foundation

  • Art Workers Guild

  • The Society of Antiquaries (Kelmscott)

  • The Furniture History Society

  • The Queen Elizabeth Trust (QEST)

  • The Lord Mayor’s Appeal

  • The Grenfell Appeal

The Company's Coat of Arms

On 28th January 2013 William Hunt, Windsor Herald at the College of Arms, presented to the Company Letters Patent dated 14 September 2012 granting a Coat of Arms at a ceremony at Merchant Taylors' Hall, in the City of London, in the presence of the Lord Mayor of London.

The significance of each of the components of this Coat of Arms is as follows,

Crest: A Brock (Badger) holding a golden horn (Or), in reference to the Company’s two founders, Lord Brooke and Jonathan Horne.

Shield: Gules (red), signifying magnanimity, in reference to the Company’s charitable work. Set with a depiction of the Horne Cup, donated by the Court in memory of Jonathan Horne. Crossed spears, an allusion to the Roman soldiers’ practice of planting a spear in the ground to advertise an auction. The reference to Roman practice (and the head of Mithras on the Company’s Badge) symbolises the Arts Scholars’ study, conservation and trade in items from ancient to modern times.

Supporters: Symbolising two facets of guardianship of ancient treasures: a Squirrel holding a golden acorn, signifying the careful collector, and the Dragon, the symbol of the City of London and of the fierce protector, here cradling a pot of excavated Roman gold.

Motto: Artes in Urbe Colamus – “We Cherish (or Foster) Arts in the City”, devised by Past Master and archaeologist Dr. Geoff Egan FSA.

bottom of page