Research Bursaries

The Subject Specialist Network provides bursaries to fund research focusing on pre-1900 European paintings.

This funding will enable a museum or gallery professional to work for a sustained period on a particular piece of research into some aspect of pre-1900 continental European paintings in their organisation’s collection.

We are currently re-evaluating our advertising process for bursaries, but are open to discussing potential research projects at any time. For more information, please contact us by email


Previous projects funded by SSN research bursaries

Since 2012, the Pilgrim Trust has supported several very different and important research projects which were of major benefit to UK regional museums.

Natalie Patel, Curatorial Intern at Museums Sheffield, researched seven paintings by five members of the Koekkoek family in Museums Sheffields’ Visual Art Collection.

Amy Barker, Keeper of Art at Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums, travelled to Copenhagen and Skagen in Denmark and to Amsterdam and The Hague in the Netherlands, as part of her research into artist seaside colonies on the north-east coast of England, who were greatly influenced by similar artist colonies abroad.

Richard Wrigley, Professor of Art History at the University of Nottingham, made a research trip to Paris to discover more about the origins of 'Hercules and the Man-Eating Horses of Diomedes' by Charles Le Brun, a major painting in the collection of Nottingham City Museums and Galleries.

Two former National Gallery Curatorial Trainees, supported by the Art Fund with the assistance of the Vivmar Foundation, undertook projects funded by the bursary; Eloise Donnelly researched several early Italian paintings in the Lycett Green collection in York Art Gallery by travelling to Siena and Florence, and Helen Hillyard sought to further her research into several Dutch paintings in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery collection ('Interior with Still Life', attributed to Duifhuizen, and 'Portrait of a Woman' by Pickenoy) by travelling to various institutions in The Hague and Amsterdam.

Pippa Stephenson, former National Gallery Curatorial Trainee, supported by the Art Fund with the assistance of the Vivmar Foundation, and now Curator of European Art, Glasgow Museums, travelled to the Netherlands to investigate the work of Frans Hals to support her research into Hals’s ‘Portrait of a Gentleman’,  about 1638, in the Burrell Collection. Read a report of Pippa's research project here.
Magdalena Łanuszka continued her research into the Lycett Green Collection at York Art Gallery, much of which has never been the subject of scholarly research. Magdalena’s research enabled her to propose a new attribution for a particular work: ‘Portrait of a Lady’, originally catalogued as by Cornelis de Vos.