15 February 2022

Painting a legacy: How Forsters’ Art Group advised pre-eminent artist Jock McFadyen on his estate planning

Jock McFadyen is a pre-eminent contemporary British painter and Royal Academician who is best known for his gritty urban landscapes and use of texture. Jock's works are held in 40 museum collections, including the Tate, National Gallery, the V&A, the British Museum and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Jock was previously Artist in Residence at the National Gallery and, in 2019, curated the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. As part of Jock's 70th birthday celebrations, he has a solo exhibition in the Weston Rooms at the Royal Academy running from February to April 2022 titled 'Tourist without a Guidebook', sponsored by Forsters. The exhibition brings together 20 works spanning 30 years, showcasing Jock's fascination with London's changing urban landscapes.

Estate planning

Jock came to us for advice on his estate planning, wanting to be proactive about safeguarding his artistic legacy after his death whilst balancing this objective with the need to provide for his family and his desire to support philanthropic organisations that helped him in his early days as an emerging young artist.

Steps taken

The first step was to run through Jock's assets, their values and examine how each is held. This included his studio and gallery space; his impressive portfolio of works; and a foreign property where he has a second studio. We advised on succession planning in relation to his foreign property and prepared a will and letter of wishes for Jock, using trusts to structure Jock's legacy. The letter of wishes provided a framework for Jock's legacy planning, including a strategy for categorising Jock's works as follows:

  • core works which would form part of his legacy;
  • important works which would be gifted to the nation in lieu of inheritance tax; and
  • works which could be sold to partially settle inheritance tax.


In terms of tax, we took Jock through how the inheritance tax regime works in the UK and advised on how best to maximise the available reliefs. For example, we advised on the availability of business property relief on Jock's studio, gallery space and works to reduce significantly the inheritance tax bill on his demise. We also considered the charitable nature of an artist in residence scheme in light of the ‘public benefit’ requirement and arranging for annual grants to be made after his death to young contemporary art students to subsidise the costs of renting studios.

Specialist advice for artists

Artists, like the rest of us, need to consider carefully and plan what should happen to their estates on death. However, for artists, maintaining or enhancing the value of their works after they are gone is paramount not only to provide an endowment to sustain their artistic legacies but also to support their families. To achieve these dual aims, it is important to get the right advice and plan ahead.

How Forsters can help

Forsters advises on artists' business structures; taxation; succession and legacy planning; property advice relation to homes and studios; wills; intellectual property, Artist Resale Rights; representation agreements, consignment agreements and contracts generally; international aspects of studios owned abroad; movement of works across jurisdictions; and advice on foundations, charities and gifts to the nation.

Learn more about our Art & Cultural Property team

“Follow the paint” on a unique tour of artist Jock McFadyen’s studio whilst he reveals the mastery behind his paintings and artistic legacy

Forsters’ Head of Art and Cultural Property, Catherine Hill, joins longstanding client Jock McFadyen at his artist studio in London Fields for a captivating conversation in which Jock reveals his painting techniques, reflects on a 50-year career and the challenges of accepting the kind of artist you’ve become, as well as musings on the future of the art market.

a unique tour of artist Jock McFadyen’s studio whilst he reveals the mastery behind his paintings and artistic legacy

Forsters sponsors acclaimed artist and client Jock McFadyen’s exhibition at the Royal Academy

Forsters are honoured to be sponsoring a five-week long exhibition of celebrated contemporary artist and longstanding Forsters Art Group client Jock McFadyen at the Royal Academy of Arts.

Forsters sponsors acclaimed artist and client Jock McFadyen’s exhibition at the Royal Academy

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