Janet Arnold (1932–98) was an artist, teacher and fashion designer. Her practical skills, together with a passion for accuracy, made her a powerful advocate for the study of historical dress as a serious discipline. The use of archival material and visual and literary records are important, but as she demonstrated in her own work, a real comprehension of historical dress depends on the close examination and understanding of surviving garments, both whole and fragmentary.

These grants are to further in-depth study of the history of dress and the materials from which it is made. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they wish to pursue a particular piece of original research based on items of dress or their remains with a view to eventually disseminating the results through publication, display, cataloguing, teaching or through practical use in conservation or realistic reproduction. Within these parameters there are no geographical or chronological restrictions.

Applications will be accepted for:

  • projects where the Society will be the main or a significant financial contributor
  • support for definable objectives with specific, measurable outcomes within larger projects funded from a range of sources (but not simply ‘topping up’ applications to major funding bodies)
    Applicants who require funds primarily for their own research travel should consider applying for a Lambarde Travel Award.

Timing and Duration of Funding

Awards are made on an annual basis

Award Amount

£350 to £5,000

Deadline for Applications

15 January annually


  • Applications must be from the project director or principal investigator, and must be for original work that is not already covered by publication.
  • Awards will not be made for work contributing to an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.
  • Retrospective applications will not be considered.

Eligible costs include:

  • travel & subsistence
  • the costs of specialist or scientific investigation
  • the costs of technical services such as photography, imaging and illustration, where these have to be commissioned
  • materials and consumables

Please note that the following costs are not eligible and will not be considered:

  • personal remuneration
  • salaries of staff holding current appointments
  • institutional overheads
  • internal hire charges within the applicant’s institution or between project partners
  • publication subventions and publication grants (including costs of digital dissemination)
  • contingency estimates


The scheme is competitive and we are not always able to award grants to all applicants. In reaching its decisions the Research Committee will put weight on the quality of the research proposal and its viability, both financial and practical. All decisions made by the Committee are final. All decisions made by the Committee are final.

Preference will be given to applicants who have not previously received a Janet Arnold Award.

Application Requirements

Applications must be made on the form provided and should not exceed five (5) A4 pages with the font size no smaller than 10 point. The completed document must be less than 10MB to upload successfully. Applications will be assessed solely on the basis of the information provided on the application form.

Applicants must:

  • present a clear and detailed articulation of their study aims and how these will be achieved, with costings and the proposed duration of research; this must include a clear statement of the contribution of the proposed research to scholarship
  • present a clear plan for timely dissemination of the results of their research; the Society may invite grant recipients to give lectures on their projects
  • obtain consent from the owner(s)/custodian(s) of any item(s) to be examined
  • demonstrate that they have the skills necessary to undertake the proposed work, and that this will be undertaken without potential damage to the item(s) of dress concerned
  • request a specific sum from the Society, and declare all applications to other funding bodies where the application is for a discrete element of a larger project
  • provide a statement of the minimum sum needed to make the project viable in the event of full funding not being obtained

Projects should not start before 1 April in the year of application and grants should be taken up by 31 December of the year in which they are awarded.

Successful applicants must demonstrate that they have received all relevant permissions to undertake their project before the funds can be released.

Where this is the second (or subsequent) application for a grant from the Society relating to the same project, applicants are required to submit a brief summary of their results to date and a statement of their expenditure covered by the previous grant.

Should any part of an award remain unspent, it is to be returned to the Society of Antiquaries of London for reinvestment in the Janet Arnold Award Fund.

Reporting and Acknowledgement

Successful applicants will be expected to submit by email in electronic format:

  • a satisfactory report, of no more than 1,000 words, setting out how the objectives were met (Word document)
  • a financial statement detailing how the Society’s money was spent (Word document or Excel spreadsheet)
  • two or three digital images illustrating the project that the Society may use in its reporting and publicity (.jpg or .tiff with a minimum resolution of 300 dpi)

Reports and images must be received no later than 28 February of the year following the award of the grant (thus if the grant is awarded in March 2018, the reports should be submitted no later than 28 February 2019). No further grant will be made to any applicant who fails to meet this requirement.

In addition, the Society may request short reports suitable for inclusion in its newsletter, Fellowship News; its e-newsletter, SALON; or on its website.

Acknowledgement of the Janet Arnold Award should be made in any publication or practical use of the research.

Applying for a Janet Arnold Award

  • Please read the eligibility criteria above.
  • You will be required to upload a completed form when you submit your application, please read the requirements for completing the form carefully and follow the instructions.
  • One reference is required; please make sure you arrange your reference in advance.
  • All applications must be submitted using our online application tool. When you are ready to make your application, click Apply Now below

Please note: Members of the Society’s Research Committee cannot act as referees for Janet Arnold applications.

Past Awards

Details of all successful applications since 2017 are available from Recent Awards.