The Harold Beauchamp Trust was the first source of funds dedicated to the acquisition of works of art for the national collection to be donated by a private individual. Sir Harold Beauchamp (1858-1939) was director of the Bank of New Zealand for thirty-eight years, and father of Katherine Mansfield. In 1923 he gave funds from the sale of his house in Fitzherbert Terrace (a former home of Katherine Mansfield) to the nation to form a fund for the purchase of pictures for the Dominion Art Gallery. The Harold Beauchamp Trust was established in 1933 to administer the original Deed of Trust of 1923. The terms of the Deed briefed the Board of Trustees to 'procure pictures of the highest artistic quality irrespective of the nationality or place of residence of the painter'.
1936, coinciding with the opening of the National Art Gallery, saw the first painting purchased partly with Harold Beauchamp's fund. This was Portrait of Lord Bledisloe, Governor-General of New Zealand, 1930-35 by John Berrie. Under the terms of a bequest included in Beauchamp's will in 1939, five thousand pounds was added, and by 1945 the fund had accumulated enough capital for the National Art Gallery to purchase a second painting. This was Man in white, 1934, by Glynn Philpott.
Since then the fund has enabled the purchase of a diverse range of artworks, both national and international. Notable purchases include British and European works such as The blue hat, 1914, by Walter Sickert, Terwick Mill Pool, c.1945, by Ivon Hitchens, Groupe de femmes, 1925, by Sonia Delaunay, Paysage Mirmande, 1925, by Andre Lhote; 18th and 19th century watercolours by artists such as Thomas Girtin, Paul Sandby, Thomas Gainsborough, Joseph Mallord William Turner, and John Constable, and Old Master prints and drawings by artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Marten van Heemskerck, and Agostino Carracci. New Zealand works purchased include Ahipara, 1970, by Colin McCahon, Painting blue, 1976, by Milan Mrkusich, Bulb reflection 1, by Bill Culbert, The grey in Grey Lynn, 1989, by Julian Dashper, and a portfolio of photographs by Anne Noble, The Wanganui -12 panoramas, 1982.
The strength and diversity of works purchased through the Harold Beauchamp Trust fund ensures that numbers of these works are always in demand for display in Te Papa art exhibitions, and for loan to other institutions.