Flora MacGregor by Jo Fraser, 2011
© Jo Fraser
Before I start, I'd just like to highlight that at least one artist has read this post in the past, then entered a portrait and won a prize. It was very pleasant surprise to find this out!
As a result I now write this post every year expecting that one of you reading this is going to win a prize!
This year it could be you!
The Portrait Award, now in its thirty-third year at the National Portrait Gallery and twenty-third year of sponsorship by BP, is an annual competition aimed at encouraging artists to focus upon and develop portraiture in their work.
You can find out who can enter and how to enter below.
This post provides:
- an overview of the requirements for all those who would like to enter a portrait
- links to past exhibitions and reviews on this blog
Last year 2,372 artists submitted their work and the exhibition, which featured fifty-five paintings, was seen by over 341,000 people at the National Portrait Gallery.
The entire competition is judged, on an equal and anonymous basis, from original paintings. There is no segregated judging by region or country.
- the first prize is a cash award of £25,000. Plus, at the judges' discretion, a commission worth £4,000, can be agreed between the National Portrait Gallery and the artist.
- two runner-up prizes (2nd Prize £8,000; 3rd prize £6,000)
- the BP Young Artist Award of £5,000 for entrants under the age of 30 on the 1st January 2012. The purpose of this award is to continue the competition's role in showcasing young artistic talent.
- BP Travel Award 2012: £5,000.
Who can enter
Basically you should study the entry requirements if you are over 18, live anywhere in the world, can paint a portrait of a human figure and enjoy portraiture!
I've said it before and it's worth saying again. Winners of this competition tend to enjoy very significant benefits to their careers after winning the BP Portrait Award.
Many artists who have had their work exhibited have also gained commissions as a result of the considerable interest in the Portrait Award and the resulting exhibition.
BP Young Artists Award: All entrants from the 18-30 age group will automatically be considered for both the BP Young Artist Award and the BP Portrait Award, but an individual cannot win both. Artists must be 30 years of age or under on 1 January 2012 to be eligible for the BP Young Artist Award.
BP Travel Award: All 2012 exhibitors will be eligible to submit a proposal for the BP Travel Award. The aim of the Award is to provide the opportunity for an artist to experience working in a different environment, in Britain or abroad, on a project related to portraiture which will then be shown as part of the BP Portrait Award 2013 exhibition and tour in 2012-13.
Last things first - the deadline for your entry forms and entry fees being returned to the National Portrait Gallery is Monday 13 February 2012.
Entry forms and fees
- need to be registered online www.npg.org.uk/bp
- OR returned to: BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London WC2H 0HE
There is nothing more frustrating than to create a work for a competition and then to realise that it isn't eligible or you can't present it in the right way at the right time!
Note in particular that works can be disqualified - even if selected for exhibition - if they have not adhered to the rules! I note in italics the changes I've spotted - I suggest you read my notes!
The rules - about YOU!
- the competition is open to all those aged over 18 on 1.1.12.
- employees of the National Portrait Gallery, BP, and their agents, and previous first prize-winners of the Portrait Award since 1980 are NOT eligible to enter
- must be recent ie it MUST have been completed after 1 January 2011
- you are asked to confirm the start date. This needs to pre-date the completion date (latter is new this year and I suspect represents an area where entries have been caught out in the past)
- must NOT be a work previously submitted for consideration. I'm guessing some artists have been reckoning on the jury changing every year. The reality is (1) records are kept of who enters what (2) some jurors are always on the jury
- Media and Size:
- MUST be predominantly painted in oil, tempera or acrylic (No watercolours, works on paper or pastels will be considered - although I am fighting the battle for pastels to be admitted at some point!)
- MUST be on a stretcher or board, preferably framed and unglazed.
- MUST be bigger than 25 x 20cm (10” x 8”) unframed. Smaller works will not be considered.
- MUST be smaller than 244 x 244cm (96" x 96") framed (including the frame). The size limit was presumably generated by one of the shortlisted works in 2011
- SHOULD be a painting based on a sitting or study from life. You need to indicate on the form whether or not you have met the sitter.
- AND the human figure MUST predominate.
- MUST be available for the period of the exhibition.
- Entry forms and registration fees must be submitted to the NPG by 13 February 2012
- All entrants will be notified if their work is selected (or not) for exhibition by Wednesday 28 March 2012
- There are lots of very detailed requirements as to submission and collection of the actual painting - I've summarised some of these but there is more and my advice is to read it all very carefully!
- All artists will need to insure their works
- International artists should also pay particular attention to their financial liabilities (eg import duties etc) and what they are required to do.
- The Gallery is not responsible for wrapping works or providing wrapping materials to return works - unless agreed and a fee paid
- All correspondence with artists will be via email!
- The artist is responsible for checking their email to see whether your artwork has been selected or rejected.
- The National Portrait Gallery will not arrange courier collections or post works on behalf of the artist.
- There are detailed conditions relating to copyright and publication which all entrants should read.
Paintings delivered to the National Portrait Gallery will NOT be accepted. The Gallery uses a collection point which is NOT the gallery.
Regional Collection Points: Portraits can be picked up in
- Belfast Wed 7 – Fri 9 March 2012 10.00–16.00
- Bristol Wed 7 – Fri 9 March 2012 10.00–16.00
- Coatbridge, near Glasgow Wed 7 – Fri 9 March 2012 10.00–18.00
- Leeds Wed 7 – Fri 9 March 2012 12.00–17.00
- London: For works arriving by post or courier: Mon 5 March –Thurs 15 March 2012, 09.00–17.00 (excluding weekends)
For works delivered in person, a Gallery representative will provide a receipt on delivery of the work. Dates for deliveries are
- Mon 12 & Tues 13 March 2012 09.00–17.00
- Wed 14 & Thurs 15 March 2012 09.00–20.00 (after which no more entries will be accepted)
- No entries will be accepted at the London collection point after 20.00 on Thursday 15 March 2012.
The National Portrait Gallery reserves the right to dispose of or destroy any work not collected after one month of the latest date for collection of unexhibited works or exhibited works.Return of work not selected: All unselected works must be collected from the address to which they were originally delivered on the dates listed in the rules, during the times specified. Works cannot be returned to a different collection point. Works not collected from the following collection points by the dates specified will be charged for at the carrier's usual storage rates.
For those wanting to find out more about artists who have won this award in the past, my information site Portraiture - Resources for Artists now includes a module which provides a complete listing of all the BP Portrait Award winners - then and now.
This section of the website lists:
- links to the image which won the first prize in the BP Portrait Awards (if available - for some reason the NPG website seems to failed to archive some of the exhibitions and winners) and
- the winning artist's current website (if available).You can also find out more about past competitions in my posts from previous years detailed below
These are my posts about the 2011 BP Portrait Award
- BP Portrait Award 2011 Shortlist - identifies those shortlisted. See if you can guess which work won before reading my review post.
- BP Portrait Award 2011: links to Selected Artists - These were the people whose work was selected for the exhibition last year
- Review: BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2011- my review of the exhibition (later than usual)
- BP Travel Awards: 2010 (Paul Beel) and 2011 (Jo Fraser) - information for those interested in the Travel Award
- BP Portrait Award 2011: People's Favourite & Statistics - this is the post in which I analysed last year's entry statistics
- a reminder about the deadline for entries
- the list of artists selected for the exhibition (see the post for 2010 - BP Portrait Award 2010: List of Exhibitors and Brian Sewell and
- the list of shortlisted artists (see BP Portrait Award 2010 - Shortlist announced)
- the awards ceremony
- features about the prizewinning artists (see those relating to awardwinners in 2010:
- a video of the exhibition (for 2010 see Video - BP Portrait Exhibition 2010 opens today )
BP Portrait Award 2009
- BP Portrait Tour & Portrait of the Nation (24 Sep 2009)
- Sue Rubira makes her mark on bp portrait (18 Jun 2009)
- Exhibition review: BP Portrait Award (18 Jun 2009)
- Peter Monkman wins first prize in BP Portrait Award 2009 (17 Jun 2009)
- BP Portrait Award 2009 - the shortlist (27 May 2009)
- BP Portrait Award - who enters and who gets selected (28 May 2009)
- BP Portrait Award 2009 - Call for Entries (15 Dec 2008)
- Making a Mark: Craig Wylie wins BP Portrait Award 2008
- Making a Mark: BP Portrait Prize 2008 - exhibition opens
- Making a Mark: Paul Emsley wins BP Portrait Award (22 Jun 2007)
- BP Portrait Award National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London WC2H 0HE
- telephone - 020 7321 6600
- email - firstname.lastname@example.org
- National Portrait Gallery
- Art Competitions in the UK - Resources for Artists
- Portraiture - Resources for Artists