Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

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The Royal Society of Portrait Painters invites international artists to submit new and traditional artistic models, perspectives and perspectives on portraiture.

This is about the Annual ExhibitionYou can also check out the Royal Society of Portrait Painters– and why entering is a good idea

  • Who can enter?
  • What you can enter
  • How to enter
  • Timeline of important dates

[ PROFUSE APOLOGIES: I thought this post was published but somehow or other it got stuck in “draft” mode – and the deadline for entries is 12 noon on Friday 26h January 2024 ]

I’m also referring to some other information that I’ve written about previously which you might find useful.

About the Annual Exhibition of The Royal Society of Portrait Painters

The Royal Society of Portrait Painters invites artists from all over the world to submit portraits for its Annual Exhibition in 2024……The total prize fund is £40,000, including The William Lock Portrait Prize (£20,000) and The Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture (£10,000).

The Society welcomes original paintings, drawings, and prints including digital/iPad prints from artists aged 18 and over from all over the world.

“The Society’s Annual Exhibition is probably the largest and most significant celebration of contemporary portrait painting in Europe. The show is always selected by a jury of practising portrait painters, no critics, no journalists, no celebrities – just painters.”

Why you should enter the RP annual exhibition

Take a look below if you’re wondering if and why you should submit a piece to this exhibition.

Entry is digital

If you are invited to proceed to the second selection stage, you will only be required to pay for framing and transportation. Entries that do not advance to the second stage of selection only incur the cost of the submission fee.

Exhibitions are important for Portrait Commissions

  • This exhibition generates A LOT of commissions for portraits. This exhibition is a very effective marketing tool.
  • An expert Commissions Consultant Service runs throughout the show
  • Artists are invited for exhibition
    • Display additional material
    • Advertise portrait commissions with our Commissions department. A commission is payable.
The Commission Area by 2023

There are some significant prizes

This is a show with some prestigious and heavyweight cash prizes. The most valuable individual awards are given by any national art society of the UK.

In total, the cash on offer is worth a total of £36,000. This includes awards for young artists and portrait drawings.

  • The William Lock Portrait Prize: £20,000 for the most timeless portrait with a real Feeling for paint and its aesthetic potential
  • The Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture: £10,000 plus the Society’s Gold Medal awarded for the most distinguished portrait in the Society’s annual exhibition
  • The de Laszlo Foundation Award: £3,000 plus a Silver Medal for the most outstanding portrait by an artist aged 35 years or under
  • The Raw Umber Studios Prize value: £2,000 for the most exciting contemporary portraiture lies at the intersection of technical excellence and 
  • The Smallwood Architects Prize is for Contextual portraiture: £1,000 for a portrait in which architectural or interior features play an important part.

A prestigious exhibition of portraiture – in Central London and online

This is an extremely prestigious exhibition in the world of portraits

  • It fills the three galleries at The Mall GalleriesThe Mall in London
  • Last year, the exhibition attracted 4,400 entries, including many international artists.

The exhibition will also be available online, so that anyone in the world can see it.

Why it is a better competition than the BP Portrait and similar portrait competitions

  • All works selected for the Open Entry exhibition are chosen by professional portrait painters who are full members of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.. The Selection Committee rotates every year. There are no administrators, sponsors, gallerists, art critics or other such éminence grise who get a say on what gets hung.
  • You can increase your chances of being exhibitedExhibition Metrics – I haven’t crunched numbers since 2019, but the data analysis that I did back then was as follows 
    • About half of the portraits displayed were by non-members
    • About 5% (or fewer) of the works that are submitted via the Open Entry are selected for an open exhibition. This is a typical acceptance rate for a top-tier exhibition, and it is better than BP Portrait’s acceptance rate over the course of several years.
    • A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER of artists from abroad submit their work– with a growing number of Asians
    • Your work must be VERY GOOD in order to be selected.I’d even go as far as to say that it should be better than some artwork submitted by members.


This is a OPEN EXHIBITION. Artists invited to submit work for exhibition alongside Royal Society of Portrait Painters members at their Annual Exhibition, 2024.

In summary,

  • All entries are digital submissions
  • You can also find out more about the following: Entry deadline is Friday 26th January, 12 noon 
  • The non-refundable entrance fee is 
    • £20 per work payable at the time of submitting 
    • £15per work for artists aged 35 or under

Below are the details on how artists can submit their applications via the open-entry process.

You can also 

Below are some examples of the types of information you can find. Two of my blog posts on the Annual Exhibition in 2020.

You can also See images of the 2023 Exhibition on my Facebook PageYou can find the following albums

Who can Submit a Submission?

  • Any artist over 18 years old, living anywhere in the World You can submit artwork for this exhibition and have it displayed with members of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.
  • Over the years, this exhibition has become more international.– and especially since the demise the BP Portrait Award

What you can submit

The packaging of delivered works must be removed at the time of delivery. To see delivery & shipping options, please Click here for more information.

How to Submit

The submission fee (which includes free admission to the exhibition – normally £5) is

  • £20 per work for standard entries and
  • £14 per work for artists aged 35 or under.
The entry process is described as follows (further details re. Below are details about international artists.

  • Read more Terms and conditions that are generic These are applicable to all art societies exhibitions at the Mall Gallery
  • Read more Entry requirements for this Exhibition
  • Artists from abroad should be aware of the specific requirements for international artists Money Laundering RegulationsVAT
  • Register for digital submission via the OESS websiteIf you’ve never entered before
  • Login to your account Open Exhibition Entry Website (Login screen)
  • You can submit your entry online before the deadline at noon on Friday, 26th of January 2024. You must complete the form, pay a fee and upload images.
  • Images must be JPEG formatted and under 5MB
  • Pre-selection will be based on the online entries and digital images associated with them
  • Pre-selection Notification: Friday 7th Feb, 12 noon
  • Bring pre-selected entries to Mall Galleries, 17, Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y5BD on Saturday, 2nd March from 10am to 5pm for final selection.
  • Final selection – in front of a panel of members of the RP
  • Acceptance of Offer: 12 noon on Tuesday, 5th March
  • Collect work not accepted for exhibition from Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD on Thursday 7th March, 10am to 5pm*
  • Collect unsold work: Thursday 23rd May, 10am to 5pm** any work uncollected by 5pm will be removed and stored at a separate location for which artists will be charged a storage fee.

International Entries

  • All international submissions are selected ONLINE ONLY, so selected international artists must ship their work to a gallery at a date that will be announced. Please be aware that if certain international works arrive damaged or with unacceptable framing (or not as shown), they may be refused.
  • Artists who send work from abroad are advised to use a picture carrier. Picture Post Art offers a packing and shipping service for our artists (we accept no liability for the services they provide). Picture Post Art – Tel: 07833 450788 / Email: [email protected]
  • Register for VAT if you sell work by an international artist: If you are NOT a UK resident and your work is sold at the exhibition you have a responsibility to register and account for UK VAT with H.M. Revenue & Customs at (HM Revenue & Customs Reference: Notice 700/1).

The selections are final, and no feedback is given.

The Past 13 Years: Past annual exhibitions (2009-2023).

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