The Delfina Studio Trust

Over the last four decades, the “Delfina” brand has become synonymous with artistic development. Delfina Foundation was established as the successor to The Delfina Studio Trust, which was renowned in the international art world for nurturing and supporting many highly acclaimed artists and more than a dozen Turner Prize nominees.

Founded by Delfina Entrecanales (1927-2022), The Delfina Studio Trust was established in 1988 as a registered charity with the aim of providing high quality studio space and related facilities for visual artists. The organisation first started in a jeans factory in Stratford, renting space until the number of artists outgrew the studios.

The Delfina Studio Trust founder Delfina Entrecanales, surrounded by the 13 studio artists, Stratford, 1993.

In 1993, “Delfina Studios” (as the trust was commonly called) moved into a former chocolate factory on Bermondsey Street, which was acquired by Entrecanales, in the Bankside area of central London. Together with Digby Squires, the property was renovated to provide 34 studios. Twelve studios were normally awarded as a prize with all related facilities provided free of charge for one or two years. Studios were also rented at a heavily subsidised rate. The site included 10 bedrooms in which international residents were hosted, allowing them to work on projects in the city, often in collaboration with major institutions.

The new Delfina Studios site included an award-winning restaurant and gallery space for major exhibitions and events. Situated within the restaurant was the ‘artists’ table’ which provided a subsidised lunch and meeting place for residents.

Arguably, Delfina Studios contributed to the regeneration of the area, particularly on Bermondsey Street with other artist studios and the London Fashion & Textile Museum opening soon after, followed by the Tate Modern on Bankside. Now the areas hosts a range of creative outfits and major galleries and spaces like The Drawing Room and the headquarters of White Cube.

Delfina Studios also initiated a few international projects including a residency space in Manilva, a small village in the south of Spain, for three years in the late 1990s.

Until its closure in 2006, The Delfina Studio Trust was the UK’s largest international residency programme and became a cult institution famed for the warmth and creativity of its atmosphere and its support towards a new breed of British and international artists. The Telegraph stated that Delfina Studios was “one of the most remarkable artistic colonies in Britain.”

Newspaper clipping from The Independent of artist Chantal Joffe in her studio at The Delfina Studio Trust, Bermondsey, 1995.