Behind the scenes secrets at the Fine Art Trade Guild


The Fine Art Trade Guild [FATG] is based in London, serving the world-wide fine art industry with 738 member businesses in 33 different countries. At the time that I write this blog-post the membership includes 86 artists, 21 art publishers, 291 galleries, 29 online galleries, 430 picture framers, 95 trade suppliers, and 5 art consultants among others. I realise that comes to more than 738, but some members are in more than one category.

Fine Art Trade Guild logo

Guild logo

Here are various other facts gleaned today from the FATG website;

  • The Guild was 100 years old on 2nd June 2010. It was formed as the successor to the 1847 Printsellers’ Association, set up to oversee the fine art print trade. 
  • The Guild continues to set standards for prints. In addition, it sets standards and guidelines for picture framing.
  • In 1993, BS7876:1996 was published by the British Standards Institute. This was the agreed British standard for fine art prints, after consultation with the Fine Art Trade Guild, Royal Academy and others.
  • The Fine Art Trade Guild Board of Directors is called the Court. The Chairman of the Board of Directors is called the Master, whether a male or female. 
  • Between 2008 and 2010, Colin Ruffell was the very first artist member to serve as Master.

That is me. I joined the Guild as an artist member because in 1995 they were administering a British Government grant that assisted artists to exhibit at Art Expo in New York. My involvement on the Court started when the Guild asked me to set up and chair a new Printers and Publishers Committee convened to understand and introduce the revolutionary development of digital printmaking (giclee) at the turn of the century. I served on the Court for 12 years in total. The last five years on the executive as Members Warden, Master, and Masters Warden. So, I got my reward of lifetime membership, Master’s Jewel, and photograph on the illustrious display board showing Masters from 1910 onwards. Nowadays I am a member of the Fine Art Committee.

The Guild Fine Art Committee.

Remit: Attract and retain artist members, and strengthening services for this sub-sector and educating artists to be better at business. [FATG website]

Here are seven members of the current Fine Art Committee at a recent meeting reviewing the entries, and choosing the winner, for the Jorge Aguilar-Agon Student Award.

Fine Art Committee judging panel

Fine Art Committee judging panel

From left to right;

Peter Hayton, Anne Coreless, Ian Morris, Karen Hollis, Colin Ruffell, Gordon King, Jorge Aguilar Agon. Our profiles can be viewed on the FATG website.

Our current job on the Committee includes admin of the Jorge Aguilar-Agon Student Award, plus organising an annual exhibition for artist members. In May 2016 the Award winner will be announced, and the exhibition is previewed, at the annual Guild Awards Ceremony in Stratford-upon-Avon. The Guild Artists exhibition follows at the Guild HQ building in London.

We also are working on several very significant new projects for artists everywhere. [Hint. Artists need to make absolutely sure that they own and control the copyright of their images. Plus they really need to be using the latest online technology to promote their artwork.] Watch this space!

And if you are an artist, and you would like to know more, just ask me, and sign up for my newsletter.

FATG Masters Jewel

FATG Masters Jewel