Welcome to The Higgins

Contact us

The Higgins Bedford

Castle Lane
MK40 3XD

t: 01234 718618

f: 01234 718619

e: thehiggins@bedford.gov.uk

Contact Us >

You are here: Home Page / Join In / Friends



Share this page



Join the friends of The Higgins BedfordJoining The Friends of The Higgins Bedford

The Friends organisation plays an important part in the life of the art gallery and museum, and individual members enjoy an excellent range of benefits; joining the Friends will put you at the heart of The Higgins Bedford.


How The Friends support The Higgins Bedford:

  • By contributing funds to support the work of The Higgins Bedford
  • By fostering general interest in The Higgins Bedford
  • By providing volunteers


Membership Rates and How To Join

  • £25 annual individual membership
  • £40 annual joint membership
  • £10 annual student membership


To become a member of the Friends, please complete and return the application form, and either fill out the standing order form, or send us your cheque. The subscription year runs from 1st September.


You can download the latest membership application form here.

Download the latest Friends programme of events here.

Lectures 2018 - 2019

Meetings start promptly at 7.30pm at The Higgins Bedford. Places are limited so please arrive promptly.

Tickets - Friends £4, Guests £9


Hugh Belsey – Gainsborough at The Higgins Bedford

Tuesday 18th September 2018

Thomas Gainsborough’s supremely skilful landscapes and sensitive portraiture have earned him a special place in British affections. The Higgins Bedford is lucky to own a number of works by Gainsborough and these will be the focus of a talk by Hugh Belsey, former curator of Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury.


Richard Galley - Bedford’s Highlanders

Tuesday 9th October 2018

During three days in August 1914, nearly seventeen thousand Scottish territorial soldiers arrived in Bedford – a friendly invasion that was the subject of an exhibition at The Higgins Bedford in 2014. The impact of this mass billeting will be discussed by Richard Galley, an expert on the Scottish Highland Division’s time in Bedford.


Ruth Broomhall - The Cambridge Seven

Tuesday 30th October 2018

In the mid-1880s, in one of the grand gestures of the 19th century missionary movement, seven young British men left their universities to devote their lives to spreading the word of God in China. Among the group were two members of Bedford’s Polhill family, and the celebrated England cricketer, C T Studd. National acclaim and the interest of Queen Victoria sent them on their way; Ruth Broomhall explains what became of them.


Jovan Nicholson - Winifred Nicholson and the Liberation of Colour

Tuesday 6th November 2018

Winifred Nicholson (1893-1981) wanted, she said, ‘to paint pictures that can call down colours, so that a picture can be a lamp in one’s room, not merely a window’. Nicholson was profoundly interested in how prismatic colour transforms objects and their settings. The art historian, Jovan Nicholson, who is Winifred Nicholson’s grandson, explores this strand of her work.


Emma Mason - The Work of Robert Tavener (1920-2004)

Tuesday 27th November 2018

Robert Tavener’s own list of his favoured subject matter tells us much about the artist – ‘English Countryside and English Architecture. Shape, pattern, colour, texture, design… the underlying relationship with the past, of our landscape and building’. Emma Mason, who is a dealer in modern prints, will tell us about Robert Tavener.


Martyn Downer - Nelson’s Jewel

Tuesday 8th January 2019

Presented to Nelson after his famous victory in the Battle of the Nile, the ‘Chelengk’, a fabulous diamond jewel, became one of the symbols of the great admiral’s charismatic persona and sparked a copy-cat fashion craze. 150 years later the Chelengk again hit the headlines when it was stolen from its home at the National Maritime Museum in a daring night-time raid. Martyn Downer reveals more.


Alan Waltham - The East London Group

Tuesday 12th February 2019

In the 1920s, a group of working-class men, including a haddock-smoker and a painter-decorator, began an art club at Bethnal Green Men’s Institute in London’s East End. What became known as the East London Group expanded and produced luminous, sometimes haunting, realist paintings and attracted tutors including Walter Sickert.


Christopher Brown - Working with Edward Bawden

Tuesday 19th February 2019

Christopher Brown studied illustration at the Royal College of Art, where he met and later assisted the master of the linocut, Edward Bawden. Christopher now works as an illustrator, printmaker and artist, and teaches at Liverpool School of Art and Design, Central St Martins and Camberwell College of Arts. He will talk about his time with Bawden and how the former’s working practices have influenced his own career.


Dr Angela Smith - Sofonisba Anguissola (c. 1532-1625)

Tuesday 5th March 2019

Sofonisba Anguissola’s lengthy career included fifteen years painting portraits at the court of King Philip II of Spain. She was celebrated in her lifetime: her work was admired and discussed by Vasari and when she was in her 90s, Anthony Van Dyck sought her advice. This lecture describes Anguissola’s life and explains how her oeuvre is growing as she is now recognised as the author of paintings hitherto attributed to male artists.


Bob Hook - Swifts: The fastest birds on the planet

Tuesday 19th March 2019

Why are there so few parties of swifts swooping and wheeling above our towns nowadays? Bob Hook will tell us more about these amazing birds and talk about what might be affecting them, and what is going on locally to help find homes for these iconic birds of summer.


Felicity Irons - Rushwork

Tuesday 2nd April 2019

Working from a converted granary and magnificent ancient barn on a farm within a stone’s throw of the Black Cat Roundabout, Felicity Irons has, almost single-handedly revived the ancient art of making rush matting. Felicity will tell us a little about the history of the material, explain how she harvests rushes from local rivers from her punt, and show us how matting is made.


David Fowler - The Pyghtle Works, Baillie Scott & Sir Albert Richardson

Tuesday 6th May

Interest in ‘The Pyghtle Works’, a Bedford joinery business founded in the late 19th century, has recently been stimulated by the acquisition by the Higgins of an Arts and Crafts mantel clock made there. Local historian David Fowler will discuss the part the Pyghtle Works played in making Bedford a centre for the production of architect designed cabinetry and metalware.