Gifts & Bequests

Two Black Birds (detail), Tom Bendhem Bequest 2006
Two Black Birds (detail), Tom Bendhem Bequest 2006, watercolour on paper, not dated. Provenance Flowers East 1995, 19.5 x 25cm, © the artist, photo by:Nicholas Sinclair

For over a century the Contemporary Art Society has worked closely with individuals to donate artworks from their collections to public museums and galleries across the UK. The generosity of donors has enabled artworks, which are often beyond the means of the museum, to enter public collections for audiences to enjoy in perpetuity.

Many firsts have entered public collections this way: the first works by Michael Craig-Martin to enter a Scottish collection, the first Karen Appel to enter a museum in Wales, the first Stanley Spencer painting for Tate in 1925 and the first works by Bruce McClean to be represented in a public museum. These have all been the result of the vision of philanthropists.

Working closely with museum curators across the country, and drawing on our own specialist knowledge, the Contemporary Art Society has gifted 61 artworks to 22 different public collections in the UK since 2012.

Case studies:
The Eric and Jean Cass Gift (2008-to present)
Dr Ronald Lande Bequest (2010-2011)
The Tom Bendhem Bequest (2007)

Leave a Legacy or Gift an Artwork

For more information on gifts and bequests, contact Caroline Douglas, +44 (0)20 7017 8402 or email


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Donations of all sizes help sustain emerging artists at the beginning of their careers and ensure that their work has inspirational impact on audiences across the UK