Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sunday Times Watercolour Competition - Call for Entries

The Call for Entries has gone out for the top watercolour competition in the UK - known as the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition - although it's actually sponsored by both Smith & Williamson and The Sunday Times.

Its purpose is to encourage the use of watercolour and water based media paintings among both artists and there are prizes worth £18,000 on offer.  It is open to both amateur and professional artists.

The deadline for submissions 2 July 2011.  Read on to find out more about how to enter and also how you can see the exhibition which tours the UK after its stint in London in September.

If you want to see the calibre of entries in previous exhibitions click the links to my blog posts about this competition in the last three years at the end of this post. 

What are the main changes for 2011?

Four things have changed
  1. The artist member of the selection panel has changed - otherwise it's the same as last year
  2. Notifications to artists as to whether they have been selected will in future be via the Internet.
  3. The exhibition is back in its normal September slot at the Mall Galleries after three years of change.
  4. It would appear that the introduction last year of the RI Turner Awards for Young Artists for artists aged 16 to 20 years will not continue.  I can't say I'm surprised although to my mind the calibre of entry would only improve the longer the awards continued and the better known they became.
Sunday Times Watercolour Competition Prizes

The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition is one of the top art competitions in the UK due to the value of its top prize and its prestigious reputation

The first prize is £10,000 and it awards a total of £18,000 to artists who demonstrate a high level of skill and creativity.

Prizes in 2011 include:
  • 1st Prize (£10,000),
  • 2nd Prize (£6,000),
  • the Smith & Williamson Cityscape Prize (£1,500), and
  • the Random House Vintage Classics Prize for Cover Art (£500 and a commission to create the cover art for a Vintage Classic).
Who can submit entries
  • The competition is open to all artists born or resident in the UK
  • There are no age limits for artists wishing to enter.
What sort of work can be submitted
  • The competition is open to all paintings in a water-based medium
  • The paintings entered should have been carried out in the last three years and not have been previously exhibited. 
  • Artists may submit up to four works.
  • Copyright:
    • The work must be the sole and original work of the entrant; it must be an original composition.
    • The artist must own the copyright of any works entered into the competition 
    • If selected for exhibition, the artist must agree for an image of the work to be used for any publicity or marketing material relevant to the Sunday Times Exhibition.
  • Entries will only be accepted with fully completed documentation and only on the specified handing-in dates
How much does it cost?
  • Entry is £15 per work - payable at handing in
  • A commission of 40% +VAT on sales 
  • Introductions as a result of the exhibition and tour will be levied.
How to submit work for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition
  • What can I submit? Artists can submit up to four works at regional venues throughout the UK in June and July.
  • What's the deadline for entries? The deadline for entries is in London on Friday 1st or Saturday 2nd July 2011 between 10am and 5pm OR to the very wide range of regional centres by the (earlier) deadlines specified in the Call for Entries Schedule.
  • Can I get forms online? Yes. Entry details and application forms should be available online at Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition on the Parker Harris website
  • Will I be notified by post  No.  This year the name and registration number of the artists selected for the exhibition will only appear on the Parker Harris website on 5th July 2011 (which means if you're reading this online this won't be a problem for you - so long as you make a note in your calendar and remember to look!)  You can call the administrators if you don't have access to the Internet.  If your name does not appear on our website then your work has not been selected for exhibition.
  • Can I apply online? No - entry forms MUST be submitted with the work which needs to be hand delivered to one of the regional venues.  No entry form - no submission.
  • How do I get an application form by post? Send an SAE to: The Watercolour Competition, Parker Harris, PO Box 279, Esher, Surrey, KT10 8YZ.
  • Further Information Telephone the organisers Parker Harris on 01372 462190 or email
Note that Parker Harris who organise a number of exhibitions are now also on Facebook and Twitter.

Judges for 2011

The selection panel for 2011 is the same as for 2010 with the exception that the artist has changed:
  • Penny Johnson CBE, Director Government Art Collection
  • Desmond Shawe-Taylor CVO, Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures
  • Dr Kim Sloan, Curator, Department of Prints and Drawings, British Museum
  • Frank Whitford, Critic and Writer, Sunday Times
  • Anthony Green RA, Artist (something of an odd choice as he's not a watercolourist, which I guess means he must paint in acrylic)
The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition Exhibition

An exhibition of approximately 100 works will be held between 12 - 18 September 2011 at the Mall Galleries,  London SW1 followed by the Smith & Williamson Tour to venues throughout the UK. 2 - 7 November 201.  There will also be a series of workshops at the Gallery.
Links:  Posts on this blog about the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition in 2008, 2009, and 2010



  1. I wish I could make up my mind about entering! I was very disapointed last year, especially when I saw what did get in!! Maybe I shall wait till the last moment!


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