Since the 12th century craft guilds (or "Livery Companies", as they came to be known when Royal Charters had been obtained and from their ceremonial uniforms), were formed to protect and regulate the City’s many trades and crafts. Over the centuries, their roles became more focused on the charitable roles which had always been a part of their purpose, and upon the ceremonial aspects of their city lives.
Since the 1920s there has been a marked resurgence of interest in Livery Companies, and the "Modern Companies" currently number 31 out of a total of 110. The Modern Companies are very relevant to contemporary City life and include the Firefighters, Information Technologists, Educators and International Bankers.
It is into this Livery revival that the Guild of Arts Scholars, Dealers and Collectors was born, the brainchild of the Past Master and Founder Clerk, the late Jonathan Horne (1940-2010) and Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville. The Guild gained official status from the City in April 2005 and was recognised by the Court of Aldermen as a Company without Livery in September 2010 as the Company of Arts Scholars, before becoming the 110th Worshipful Company of The City of London on the 11th February 2014.
The Company’s Arms
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.
The head of Mithras in the Museum of London. The Cult of Mithras was popular among Roman soldiers and traders in London in the 4th Century AD. This example was excavated from the Temple of Mithras beneath Walbrook in the City, in 1954. A copy of the bust adorns our Annual Dinners.