Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hilliard Society of Miniaturists - 30th Annual Exhibition

The 30th Annual Exhibition of the Hilliard Society of Miniaturists opened to the public at the Town Hall in in Wells, Somerset,  last Saturday.  374 artworks by 98 artists from the UK and overseas were selected for this year's exhibition which is one of the two major exhibitions of miniature art in the UK each year.  

The show closes on Sunday 3rd June (from 10am-5pm) - so lots of time left to see it.  Those unable to get to Wells easily will appreciate that this year, for the very first time, we can now also view the exhibition online.  You can also purchase artwork in the exhibition - to make enquiries please contact the Society

Private View of the 30th Annual Exhibition of the Hilliard Society of Miniaturists
The Private View was held last Friday as Wells.  Celebrations commenced at midday with the Awards presentation, followed by drinks and canap├ęs.  The main hall of the town hall where the exhibition is held is large and airy with open French windows through which cool breezes blew to moderate the very hot temperature outside and a room which at times became full of visitors.

30th Annual Exhibition before the Private View
Those visiting the exhibition were able to view and enjoy the high standard of the miniatures on display in the Society's own freestanding cabinets.  These have well positioned overhead lighting so that there is little reflection or glare to interfere with viewing of the paintings.

The exhibition was opened just after three pm by Michael Eavis CBE, better known to regular Glastonbury Festival goers as the founder of the Festival and the man who owns the farm site where it is held.  He now lives a few miles down the road from Wells. He began by commenting that he was far more familiar with larger work by artists such as two of his friends, Banksy and Rolf Harris. He expressed admiration for the exhibition, commenting that it was the first time he had seen such a display. He and his wife spent quite some time going round the show and Michael was even seen to be signing autographs along the way.

Sarah Whitehouse (President of the Hilliard Society) with Michael Eavis
Awards and Prizes

The points which are taken into account when selecting work for the exhibition are as follows
  • A high standard of draughtsmanship and composition.
  • Mastery of miniature technique in chosen media and palette.
  • No subject larger than life, portrait head no larger than 2” (5cm).
  • Frames and mounts must be of high quality, clean and in keeping with the painting.
  • Maximum image size: Rectangle 4.5" x 6"; Square 4.5"; Circle 4.5" diameter.
  • Maximum outside frame measurement 50 sq. inches.
Below you can find the image and with a caption underneath which indicates the award and the winner.  Click the link in the name of the person who received the award to see more of their work.

Note the key to scale on the website - a one penny coin is larger than the circular numbered catalogue code next to each painting.

The Thinker’ by Tracy Hall received the Sue Burton Memorial Award. The picture of a chimpanzee, chin resting on its arm, shows every hair, and is not so much a painting of an animal, as a portrait.  (Note: Sue Burton – co founder of the Society, died 2003. This Award was formerly called ‘Best of Show’ and was renamed for the 30th Anniversary).

Add caption
The President’s Choice Award’ went to Erica Youngman for a Venetian scene ‘Grand Canal at Dusk’, a beautifully executed masterpiece of miniaturisation which demanded closer examination with a magnifyer, such was the precision of line in every window and wall.

The President's Choice Award
"Grand Canal at Dusk" by Erica Youngman
Tracy Hall (left) and Erica Youngman (right)
In celebration of the forthcoming events of 2012, the 30th Anniversary Special Award went to Heather O. Catchpole for 'The Joys of 2012' - three happy dogs jumping through the Olympic rings, the lead dog with a balloon attached reading ‘ER 1952-2012’

The 30th Anniversary Special Award
The Joys of 2012 by Heather Catchpole
Bill Mundy won The Bell Award for Portraiture for his portrait of 'Rula Lenska'

The Bell Award for Portraiture
Rule Lenska by Bill Mundy

Tracy Hall won a second award - The Mary Scott-Kestin Award (Animals and Wildlife) for her watercolour painting of a 'Sanderling'

The Mary Scott-Kestin Award (Animals and Wildlife)
Sanderling by Tracy Hall
The Llewellyn Alexander Gallery Award was won by Iain Traill-Stevenson ('Tidings from Trafalgar')

The Llewellyn Alexander Gallery Award
Tidings from Trafalgar by Iain Traill-Stevenson
The Joyce Rowsell Award (Excellence in Acrylics or oils) was won by 'Brian' by Hannah Harrison.  This work is tiny!

The Joyce Rowsell Award (Excellence in Acrylics or oils)
'Brian' by Hannah Harrison

Trevor Young won the The Geoff Hunt Memorial Award  with 'Low tide at St. Ives'

The Geoff Hunt Memorial Award
Low tide at St. Ives by Trevor Young
The sculpture case featured guest exhibitor Paul Eaton ARMS, goldsmith and sculptor, who exhibited a large collection of wildlife – animals and birds, many only an inch or two high, in bronze. There are generally far fewer sculptors in miniature than painters, and this display really was a collector’s dream. Paul was at the exhibition and his enthusiasm, both for his work and the wildlife he portrays was very evident.

The sculpture case also included several Russian lacquer boxes, many more of which were displayed separately in two cases on a table. The Society has played host to this Russian art form for a number of years, providing an outlet for the work of artists who have such a different approach to the art of miniature painting.


One of the very informative aspects of miniature art exhibitions are the demonstrations and I've yet to meet a miniature artist who is anything but helpful.  They all seem to be very happy to answer all questions asked! Members of the Society are providing demonstrations throughout the week.

Next Saturday, the Past President Rosalind Pierson will be demonstrating.  Last Saturday, the demonstrators were John Beach and Tracy Hall (see below)

John Beach and Tracy Hall demonstrating their techniques in the exhibition
For those planning a visit this is a street map of Wales which can be downloaded from the tourist information website

If you are an artist and would like to submit work next year, the Society would love to hear from you - details here.
If you'd like to know more about Miniature Art and Artists, you could try reviewing the links in my compendium website Miniature Art - Resources for Artists

Note: I was supposed to be at the PV on Friday but got into a mix-up over trains so did not go in the end. I'm very fortunate in having been given a great account of the exhibition by a double act - Past President Roz Pierson and Tracy Hall who took the photos.  Tracy now says she understands much better how much is involved in covering an exhibition!


David Teter said...

Glad to hear there is an exhibition on miniatures somewhere.
Too often it is under appreciated. It truly is an art form all its own, much in the same way botanical art seems to exist somewhat apart from other art.

I have done my share of mini paintings and they are not easily knocked out and have a different set of challenges at such a small size.

I can understand the artists' enthusiasm for this art.
A jeweler takes his work no less seriously because of its size.

6catsart.etsy.com said...

Thanks for posting this interesting article. People reading this might be interested in also checking out the Yahoo miniature art group.


I love doing miniatures,they are so quick to paint. Most of the work I paint these days is 5 x 7 inches or smaller although I do still occassionally do larger works.


Debra Keirce said...

What a wonderful show! I am excited to have work in the show, and I can add that Heather, Tracy, Roz, and all the organizers are so very helpful and friendly. I know the Eatons from the MASF show in Florida, and they are wonderful people too. It is feeling more and more like I need to budget a trip across the pond to attend th HS opening next year or 2014. Especially seeing all the exquisite art online, I am so impressed with the exhibition!

Making A Mark said...

I'm sure having the artwork online will create a big incentive for other people to take part in next year's exhibition. I know that lots of people enter exhibitions after seeing what the artwork is like on my blog.

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