Beaconsfield was founded to provide a streamlined resource for the development and presentation of contemporary art with ambition to “fill a niche between the institution, the commercial and the ‘alternative’” (Beaconsfield, 1994).
In 1995 Beaconsfield was awarded charitable status and took the lease on the derelict former Lambeth Ragged School in Newport Street, Vauxhall, refurbishing the building and opening to the public with Plein Air, 14 September – 13 October 1995, Mattias Jackisch (DDR) and Felix Ziem (Fr): a public-facing exhibition-residency with Jackisch performing in the company of a 19th century oil painting.
Beaconsfield’s artistic agenda was developed from that of its peripatetic predecessor Nosepaint. Co-founded by artists David Crawforth and Naomi Siderfin, Nosepaint was an experimental art event held on a monthly basis between 1991 and 1994. Several hundred artists, emergent and established, performed and exhibited over this period, curated in interdisciplinary programmes on the first Saturday of every month. This curatorial experience combined with the expertise of Angus Neill – who from 1997 moved on to establish Felder Fine Art – to form a vision for the new organisation Beaconsfield, based in a permanent venue.
Beaconsfield continues to be curated by co-founders David Crawforth and Naomi Siderfin who also make artworks under the moniker of BAW (Beaconsfield Art Works).