About the Company - our origins and our aims

History

Since the 12th century craft guilds (or Livery Companies as they came to be known from their ceremonial uniforms once they had obtained Royal Charters), have played a central role in both the business and the political life of the City of London. They were formed to protect and regulate the many trades and crafts that were carried out within its boundaries. With time, the relevance and influence of many disappeared and a large number lost their halls in either the Great Fire of London or the Blitz.

However, since the 1920s there has been a marked resurgence of interest and the ‘Modern’ Companies, as they are known, currently number thirty out of a total of 108, with several others waiting as Guilds to become Livery Companies. All these Modern Companies are very relevant to City life today and include professions such as the Firefighters, Information Technologists, Educators and International Bankers. The abiding strength of each is that every member is involved in their profession.

It is into this Livery revival that the Guild of Arts Scholars 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.

We became the 110th Worshipful Company of The City of London on the 11th February 2014,

 

The Master and Wardens on their Installation at Vintners Hall London. Thursday 18th May 2017

 

Objectives

The Company is the only body to represent all those involved in the study, curation, collection and trade in antiques, antiquities and objects of decorative and applied art. It also welcomes those in other related services.

It seeks to:

  • raise charitable funds to encourage and aid historical projects within the City of London and support its museums and other similar organisations.
  • aid and assist persons, bodies and other groups connected with the profession and trade.
  • promote honourable practice within the profession and trade.
  • encourage professional and social discussion and exchange between members in different fields of the profession and trade.
  • provide for needy members of the Guild and their immediate families.
  • preserve our heritage for future generations.
  • support the Lord Mayor, Shrievalty and Aldermen of the City of London Corporation.

Awards

The Company has already sponsored the publication and launch of several academic books, supported courses on the care of valuable collections of works of art and on historical subjects and given grants to conservation students. We have created an Educational Charitable Fund to increase the scope of educational aid in relation to antiques, antiquities and the decorative and applied arts.

The Company has taken as its emblem this marble head of Mithras of about 180-220 AD. It was discovered during the excavation of the late Roman temple of Mithras just off Queen Victoria Street after the Second World War and is now in the Museum of London.

Mithras was a complex cult figure embodying light, truth and regeneration.

To the Company of Art Scholars this emblem represents the history which lies everywhere beneath the surface of the City of London.