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Joining The Friends of The Higgins Bedford


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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.


The Friends provide support towards The Higgins Bedford by:

  • Contributing fund to support the work in the museum and galleries
  • Fostering general interest in The Higgins Bedford
  • Providing volunteers to enhance visitor experience and deliver more activities and events


Membership Rates

  • £35 annual individual membership
  • £50 annual joint membership
  • £20 annual student membership


How To Join the Friends

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.


Download the latest membership application form here.


Visit the Friends of the Higgins website.


The Friends of the Higgins Bedford Lectures


Attendance at lectures is free to members. When online, lectures will start at 7pm on Zoom and when held at The Higgins Bedford, will commence at 7:30pm. Members will be notified in advance of attending details.


The Collections of Mount Stuart, The Isle of Bute - Jessica Insley

Tuesday 26 October


Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute is the ancestral home of the Crichton-Stuart family, Marquesses of Bute. A fabulous fortune amassed from coal-mining interests in South Wales during the 19th century allowed several members of the family to become major patrons of the arts, but the most significant of these was the 3rd Marquess (1847-1900). With spending power to the tune of £150,000 a year(around £15 million today) and a keen interest in architecture and design, Lord Bute commissioned some of the landmark works of art of his day. Jessica Insley, Curator at Mount Stuart, will guide us around the collections housed in this Gothic palace, which is now owned by an educational trust after the last of the Crichton-Stuarts departed in 1989.


The Birth of a Portrait – Commissioning a Portrait Today -Annabel Elton

Tuesday 2 November


Annabel Elton is Head of Commissions at London’s Mall Galleries and advises the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. Having herself worked as a portrait artist, she is brilliantly positioned to help potential sitters navigate their way through the process of commissioning their likeness. Annabel will describe the typical process by which a 21st century portrait comes into being, discussing some of the obvious issues like choosing an artist and negotiating fees - and will share some stories from several decades’ involvement in this fascinating niche of the art world.


Stephen Dykes Bower and St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds - Dr Alan Powers

Tuesday 7 December


A church has stood on the site of St Edmundsbury Cathedral since as early as 1065, but successive periods of rebuilding have largely obliterated the original structure. Schemes to enlarge and embellish the church were undertaken in the 12th and 16th centuries, but St Emundsbury’s greatest transformation happened during the 20th century, and that is mostly due to the passion and determination of Stephen Dykes Bower, cathedral architect from 1943 to 1988. The church had become a cathedral in 1914 and Dykes Bower devoted his energies to ensuring that the fabric appropriately reflected its heightened status. Working in the Gothic Revival style which he was to champion throughout his career (and which he also employed at Westminster Abbey and Lancing College Chapel), he rebuilt the chancel and created glorious new transepts and side chapels.