Ronald Maddox Hon SGFA, AGM guest speakerEvery year when the Society gathers for its AGM we organise a convivial social event beforehand and invite a distinguished guest speaker to give a brief talk. Our VIP guest on 7th February 2015 was Ronald Maddox, Emeritus President of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour, and Honorary Member of the Royal Watercolour Society, the Pastel Society, the Royal Society of British Artists and the SGFA, who spoke about the work of the AGBI. Founded in 1814 by notable painters, sculptors and architects, the purpose of the AGBI has been to provide a fund for professional artists and their families who need some form of help and financial support during periods of illness or injury.

Millions of pounds have been distributed in the past 200 years. The AGBI has enjoyed Royal Patronage from its foundation. It has always been administered by a Council of practising artists, and the lists of Presidents, Honorary Officers and Council Members includes many of the distinguished names of the period.  JMW Turner gave his time generously as Honorary Treasurer. Sir John Everett Millais PRA worked tirelessly for the Institution, and John Constable RA spent the last evening of his life on a task connected with the AGBI. AGBI members have included Augustus John, Henry Moore, Sir Hugh Casson and Mary Fedden. Today the work of the AGBI is led by Christopher le Brun PRA, Ken Howard OBE RA and Nicola Hicks MBE as well as Ronald Maddox.

The Society’s AGBI steward in 2014 was Lynda Clark SGFA. She is succeeded this year by Harriet Brigdale SGFA.