Janet Arnold Award

These grants are awarded to support research into the history of Western dress.

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 Western dress. 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 disseminate the results through publication, display, cataloguing, teaching or through practical use in conservation or realistic reproduction.  The award may be used for travel, accommodation and incidental expenses such as purchase of photographs.

The usual amount of awards is between £350 and £5,000 awarded on an annual basis.

Usual amount of award

£350 to £5,000.


15 January annually.


  • This is not a grant for students.
  • Grants will not be awarded for the salaries of those holding current appointments, but the cost of additional staff (e.g., a temporary research assistant for new projects) may be considered in exceptional cases, but only for named individuals.
  • Grants will not be awarded to pay overheads.
  • Grants will not be awarded for research that is part of work for a degree.

Application Requirements

  • The Research Committee will put weight on the reasons for the application, its viability (practical and financial).
  • Preference will be given to those who have not already received grants from this fund.
  • If you are in full-time employment in a field related to the subject of the proposed study, assistance may be given, in agreement with your employer, to help pay for a short-term substitute while the research is done. The Society will not fund the payment of overheads.
  • There is no age limit, formal qualifications or previous publications requirement; however, any relevant work relating to dress will be taken into account.
  • Your research must not already be covered by published work and must be accomplished without potential damage to the item(s) of dress concerned.
  • Consent must be obtained from the owner(s)/custodian(s) of any item(s) to be examined.
  • You must demonstrate that you have the skills necessary to bring your project to fruition.
  • Your research must be adequately planned in respect of time required and estimated costs. (It may be that the award will cover only an agreed part of some larger research project.)
  • Successful applicants will be expected to submit (electronically) a report showing the results of their research and accounting in general terms for the costs involved.  In the case of a larger award leading, for example, to a publication, interim reports will be necessary.  Acknowledgement of the Janet Arnold Award should be made in any publication or practical use of the research.
  • Small interim reports and photographs may also be requested by the Society of Antiquaries of London for dissemination through its newsletter, Fellowship News; its e-newsletter, SALON; annual report or website.
  • Should any part of the award remain unspent, it is to be returned to the Society of Antiquaries of London for reinvestment in the Janet Arnold Award Fund.
  • Projects should not start before 1 April in the year of application.
  • Retrospective applications cannot be considered.
  • Grants should be taken up by 31 December of the year in which they are awarded.
  • Please note that the Janet Arnold Award assessors (John Cherry and Santina Levy) and members of the Society's Research Committee cannot act as references for this application.

Apply for the Janet Arnold Award

  • Please read the eligibility criteria and application requirements above.
  • Please read about the 'Grant Application Process' before beginning your application.
  • Download the Janet Arnold Award application form; you will be required to upload this form when you submit your application. Your application must be submitted using this form and must not exceed five (5) A4 pages. Your application will be considered solely on the basis of the information you provide on your application form. Before submitting your application, remember to rename your application document so that it begins with your surname (ex: 'Surname_Janet_Arnold_application.doc'). Remember to also rename any additional documents to do the same (ex: 'Surname_photo1.jpg').
  • One reference is required. Be sure to speak with your referee before submitting your application (in submitting your application online, you will trigger an automated email to your referee from our website). You will want to alert him or her of the application deadline and the information that will be necessary for completing the reference (see the 'Grant Application Process' webpage).
  • Apply for a Janet Arnold Award online. All applications must be submitted using this online application tool.

Past Grant Awards

The Janet Arnold Awards are competitive, and we are not always able to award grants to all applicants. Examples of projects that have received awards are available from 'Recent Awards'.