The draw of the city was overwhelming and a large part of my stay was in exploring Rome - museums, churches and archaeological sites, markets and music venues. You manage to stand outside of the usual work momentum, I could not emphasise more the importance of such a residency for an artist.
The Abbey Scholarship offers an early career painter a full academic year (October to June) at the British School at Rome.
The Abbey Fellowships offer mid-career painters three months at the School during the same period.
All living expenses are covered and stipends are paid. The Abbey Scholar will receive £800 per month and the Abbey Fellows will receive £1000 per month. The Abbey Scholar will also receive a travel award of £100 established in memory of Rosa Lee who was a member of the Abbey Council until her death in 2009.
Candidates should decide whether they wish to apply for the Scholarship or for a Fellowship. They cannot apply for both.
The Incorporated Edwin Austin Abbey Memorial Scholarships were founded by Gertrude Abbey in 1926 to enable British and American painters to pursue their artistic practices. Since then, there has been a tradition that recipients of Abbey funding – Scholars and, more recently, Fellows - spend time working in the studios at the British School at Rome and there has been an Abbey Scholar at the BSR almost without interruption up to the present day. The Abbey Fellowships (formerly awards) were established in their present form in 1990.
One of the studios (north view)
BSR studios at night by Antonio Palmieri
An Abbey residency at the British School is an unique opportunity for artists to get away from the pressures of their everyday lives and work without interruption, living in and becoming familiar with the most fascinating city of the ancient and modern world.
There is Classical Rome, still part of the living city, the Catholic Rome of the Vatican and the many churches, Renaissance Rome, the Rome of Caravaggio and his contemporaries, and the Rome of the cinema.
There are also the many attractions of modern Rome with its dynamic contemporary art scene, to which artists at the British School have ready access.
The Assistant Director, Fine Arts, is responsible for all the artists during their stay, with organised visits to places of interest in Rome and excursions to other parts of Italy, some of them to sites normally closed to the public.
Artists are encouraged to talk about their work and are given the opportunity to put on studio shows, to which Italian critics and gallerists, among others, are invited.
There is a separate small gallery at the School, where exhibitions by resident and non-resident artists are held. Each year the British School publishes a Catalogue of artists' work and an Annual Report which also features the work of resident artists.
One of the studios (south view)