Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers - Annual Exhibition 2008

Tracy Hall wins the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers Gold Memorial Bowl
(L to R: Elizabeth R Meek PRMS, PPSWA, HS FRSA, Tracy Hall, Patrick Boyle, the 10th Earl of Glasgow)
RMS Annual Exhibition 2008 at the Mall Galleries
Photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell

The news from the world of Miniature Art is that:
  • the standard of work being exhibited this year at the Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters,Sculptors & Gravers is extremely high.
  • artists who've not exhibited with the Royal Miniature Society before are winning prizes
  • most of the new prize-winning artists are young
  • miniature art continues to be extremely popular and the Private View was full to overflowing and
  • sales are absolutely phenomenal.
Yesterday I attended the Private View of the RMS's latest exhibition and saw Tracy Hall accept the most prestigious prize in the world of miniature art from the Earl of Glasgow for her painting Red Admiral & Rook. Many of you will know Tracy from her blog Watercolour Artist Diary - which is where she first showed us her watercolour painting Rook painting in miniature - complete with the requisite one penny coin to demonstrate just how small 2.25" X 1.75" really is!

I also got to meet Tracy for the first time having exchanged many emails over the last year. Tracy, Gayle Mason and I toured the exhibition before lunch - with the very necessary magnifying glass - and then had a super three course lunch at the National Dining Rooms in the National Gallery before returning for the presentation at the Mall Galleries in the afternoon.

As I predicted, attendance yesterday afternoon at the Private View was absolutely amazing. The North Gallery of the Mall Galleries provides a perfect home for the annual exhibition but there were an awful lot of people and in fact the numbers attending were well and truly overflowing out in to the West Gallery which is where the awards were presented by the Earl of Glasgow.

These photographs were taken before the Private View formally started. All the work is presented in display cabinets which are very well lit but not in such a way that you can't see anything for reflections. However good presentation and attention to detail is significant in every aspect of this exhibition. This Society continues to impress in terms of how well organised the exhibition is in every aspect.

Views of about a third of the RMS exhibition 2008 in the two North Galleries
photos copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Miniature Art Awards

Members, Associate members and other artists submitting work have been honoured with the following awards:
  • The RMS Gold Memorial Bowl -Tracy Hall. Tracy is an established and popular watercolour artist who specialises in animal and nature art. She only started entering work into miniature art exhibitions this year but has managed to achieve a hat trick with her first three exhibition. She's also won prizes this year at exhibitions held by the Hilliard Society of Miniaturists and the Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society (MPSGS) of Washington, DC.
  • President's Special Commendation - Miniature Work - Gina Morton RMS HS SLm Gina's paintings of hounds are absolutely fabulous and Kennel Mates was no exception.
  • President's Special Commendation - Large Work - Helen White RMS painted in hand-made watercolour paints and shell gold on wasli paper (Wasli paper is several sheets of paper glued together and rubbed until shiny and smooth. This is the traditional form of support for Mughal Miniatures - see notes for information)
  • RMS Group Award for the best collection of five or more miniatures - Erica Youngman. These were a collection of street scenes in Florence and Lucca.
Jantine (watercolour on ivorine) by Jill Keppens NFS
winner of the Bill Mundy Sovereign Portrait Award
copyright Jill Keppens
  • The Mundy Sovereign Portrait Award - Jill Keppens This was absolutely tiny! Her work also had an interesting presentation.
  • The Bidder and Borne Sculptors and Gravers Award - Patricia Northcroft
  • Llewellyn Alexander Subject Miniature Award - Tracy Hall for The Sentry - Meercats. I have to tell you Tracy's photo on her blog does not do this justice. I saw a card produced from the image which was about four times the size and the level of detail in the fur is stunning.
  • Peter Charles Booth Memorial Award - was shared between Bill Mundy RMS and Rosalind Pierson RMS HS[Co-Founder] MAA
A selection of work by
Margaret Burton and Elizabeth Meek

work copyright the artists
photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell

  • Anita Emmerich Presentation Award - Elizabeth R Meek PRMS, PPSWA, HS FRSA. Elizabeth's portraits continue to be very impressive.
  • Country Club UK Award - Helen C Jones. Her painting Side by Side was for an unusual subject - boats!
  • Anthony J Lester Art Critic Award - David Lawton - David has a track record with portraits having won 2nd prize in the BP Portrait Award in 2007. It was also good to meet up with David having corresponded in the last year.
  • The Bonhams Portrait Award - Jenny Brooks RMS - who produced a set of very fine oval portraits in graphite including her award winning portrait of Stacey Donahue.
You can see images of some of the miniature art in the exhibition on this page of the website. The actual dimensions vary from the images shown - some are very small.

One needs to bear in mind that the RMS very sensibly offers a buyers' evening the night before the Private View with invites going only to people who have bought before. Thus when I arrived yesterday morning before the Private View opened there were a large number of works which had already sold and sales were already up on the previous year.

A group of miniature watercolour paintings by Rosalind Pierson
art copyright Rosalind Pierson; photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell

What was I impressed by? Well - the work continues to be very varied within the context of traditional representational work. Those artists who present a body of work around a theme always look good whatever the subject matter.

I absolutely loved Rosalind Pierson's beautiful landscapes of Devon. They were well composed, delicately painted and demonstrated faithfull attention to colours of the landscape and light in different seasons. I was also amazed to find out that she uses no white at all. All highlights are reserved.

A number of artists gained an Honourable Mention in relation to being shortlisted for the Gold Memorial Bowl. I thought Margaret Burton's Bluebells (watercolour on board) was outstanding.

Wild Waves (oil on board) by Phaedon Constantinidis was brilliantly painted in terms of catching the action of the wave and the changes of light within the wave.

Miniature art demonstrations

Artists are demonstrating each day for the duration of the exhibition - as follows:
If you're inspired to submit work for next year the rules for submission are on the website.

The exhibition is free and continues until 1pm on 26th October. Details of how to find the Mall Galleries can be found here.

(1) You can find out more about miniature art on my information sire Miniature Art - Resources for Artists
(2) I'd never heard of wasli paper before and went looking for more details. This site provides a recipe for how to make wasli paper.



  1. My wife and I also attended the private view, and were amazed at the superb work that is being done.

    We were also impressed at how friendly those attending were. We will certainly return next year and in fact have made arrangements to go again before this years show ends.

    Being run at the same time as the Marine Artists show, I would say that it is one of the must attend shows of the year.

  2. I am so glad that Tracy Hall was honored with the Gold Memorial Bowl. Her works are stunning and it's lovely to see someone's hard work honored!



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