Remembering our Patron, Her Majesty The Queen
We are deeply grateful to Her Majesty for her six decades as the Royal Patron of our charity. Our thoughts and sympathies are with the Royal Family and we share the sadness of the entire country.
Her Majesty The Queen became Royal Patron of Art Fund in 1953, at a time when the UK and its museums were navigating the aftermath of the Second World War.
As an organisation established by Royal Charter in 1906, King Edward VII became the first Royal Patron of the charity, following a National Art Collections Fund (as it was then known) public campaign to buy Diego Velázquez’s The Rokeby Venus (1647-51) for the National Gallery.
As Patron, throughout her reign, Her Majesty attended key moments in the charity’s history. In 1983 Her Majesty hosted a reception to celebrate the charity’s 80th anniversary, and in 1996 she paid a visit to Art Fund’s then newly opened offices at Millais House to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the charity’s Royal Patronage.
In 2003, Her Majesty attended the opening of Saved! 100 Years of the National Art Collections Fund at the Hayward Gallery in London, viewing highlights from among the many objects and works of art the charity has helped museums and galleries from across the UK acquire for their collections.
In recent years, members of the Royal Family have attended major events for Art Fund and the museums sector, notably including the HRH The Duchess of Cambridge presenting the Art Fund Museum of the Year prize in 2016 to the V&A in a ceremony held at the Natural History Museum in London. And Her Majesty’s Royal Patronage of Art Fund was felt during the campaign to acquire the Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I for Royal Museums Greenwich in 2016.
Museums, galleries and historic houses across the UK came together earlier this year with exhibitions and events in celebration of The Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II – a fitting tribute to our Queen whose constant support, patronage and service has been invaluable to art institutions and collections nationwide.
Art Fund’s chairman, Lord Smith of Finsbury, said: ‘We are deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty The Queen and send our sympathies to King Charles III and the whole of the Royal family at this time. As Royal Patron of Art Fund throughout her reign Her Majesty The Queen was a constant support. In 1996 she visited our offices then at Millais House to mark 90 years of Royal patronage, and in 2003 she helped us celebrate our centenary at the Hayward Gallery. Her patronage over six decades helped shine a light on the importance of protecting works of national significance and the need to cherish and maintain public collections across the UK for everyone to enjoy. We are incredibly grateful for the long years of dedication she showed to our work.’
Art Fund’s director, Jenny Waldman CBE, said: ‘It has been a great honour for Art Fund to have Her Majesty The Queen as our Royal Patron. Art Fund was established by Royal Charter in 1906 and Her Majesty became our Royal Patron in 1953, at a time when the UK and its museums were navigating the aftermath of the Second World War. We have deeply felt the value of her public service and her support for our charity. With a great interest in art and collections – indeed so generously loaning masterpieces from the Royal Collection to museums nationwide – she has been an invaluable ambassador for the UK’s art and culture.’