Thursday, January 17, 2013

Society of Botanical Artists: "The Language of Flowers" - Call for Entries

The Language of Flowers is the title of this year's Annual Open Exhibition by the Society of Botanical Artists (SBA).  This post is about how to submit an entry for those not familiar with the process.  It's also a reminder for me - and others - that the SBA deadline for entries to the 2013 Annual Exhibition is 18 February 2013!

Below you will find:
  • the key points for those wanting to enter the Exhibition.  
  • links to previous posts on this blog which include images so you can see the type and quality of work which is accepted for exhibition and/or wins prizes
  • links to my resources for botanical artists
Social of Botanical Artists - Annual Exhibition 2013
"The Language of Flowers" - theme for the 2013 Exhibition

You don't have to submit work which complies with the theme - however works which do make for a more interesting Exhibition.

Reasons for choosing the theme of The Language of Flowers include:
  • flowers have traditionally had symbolic meanings and can be used to spell out messages - which will doubtless appeal to the cryptographer cross word puzzlers among the botanical artist fraternity.  I'm agog to find out who will have the best suite of works - in words as well as art!
  • it also offers scope to submit artwork about plants which have unusual names - either in Latin or as common vernacular or nicknames - the call for entries wonders whether the SBA will see a Miss Wilmott's Ghost in April  (I couldn't resist a small diversion - here's two articles on this plant - The Essay: Miss Willmott's ghost (1999) from the Independent is about the background to Miss Wilmott and the second Miss Willmott's Ghost (2005) is by Christopher Lloyd in The Guardian prior to his death)
How to enter the Exhibition

The Society of Botanical Artists has an informative and accessible webpage
The Conditions of Exhibition information sheet for 2013 is downloadable as a PDF file here.

Who can submit work
Botanical Artists living all over the world submit work to this Exhibition - and are exhibited.  Many is the time I have taken a photo for somebody who lives thousands of miles away.

(If you live overseas and your work is accepted please do get in touch if you'd like your work photographed in the exhibition).

What sort of work can be entered?

  • Eligible work: pictures, sculpture, miniature work, glass engraving, ceramics, jewellery, carving, metal-work
  • Eligible Media: watercolour, pencil, coloured pencils, pastel, oil gouache, mixed media etc  (photography and digital works are not eligible for the time being)
  • Subjects: may be life-size, reduced or enlarged.  
    • Traditional botanical illustration and plant portraiture; (DNA research has revealed that fungi have no biological connection with the plant kingdom but the historical associations mean that the SBA has decided to continue to show works about fungi separately in the show.)
    • works reflecting habitat and environment. 
  • Originality: all work must be original and executed by the artist who signs the submission form. Copies of any work by any other artists, living or dead, could result in prosecution. 
  • Size of subject: subject matter may be life-size, reduced or enlarged
  • Size of work
    • maximum size of work of 48" on longest length
    • multiple works intended to hang together must not exceed 48" assuming a 1" gap between hung work
    • size constraints for miniatures are 7" x 5" for miniature paintings; 
    • Sculpture 8" in any dimension.
  • Number of works
    • Up to five works - ALL must be subject to selection and for sale
    • Non members seeking associate membership must submit five works
    • a maximum of four works by non members will be hung

What is the artist responsible for?

The artist is responsible for:
  • identifying any special feature of the work or explanation of it with respect to the theme to the SBA
  • copyright of the artwork - all work must be the original work of the artist
  • the payment of any importation charges or duties
  • all payment of VAT if the artist is liable and registered (no VAT is charged by the Society on any sales)
  • making sure those delivering the artwork do so on the right day and at the right time
  • arranging for the unpacking of artwork on delivery and packing of work on collection
  • insurance of the artwork in transit and during the exhibition
  • distribution of private view invitations to their collectors
The Receiving Day: 

IMPORTANT: The entry schedule is four-part self-carbonised and only available from the Executive Secretary by post on receipt of a self-addressed envelope (use A4 or A5) Check that you use an appropriate pen to complete this so that the carbonisation works on all four copies

To receive the exhibition entry schedule you need to send a stamped, addressed envelope to Pamela Henderson, Executive Secretary SBA; Tel: 01747 825718 Email: info[at]  Pam is extremely helpful and very well organised!

Receiving day is 18 February 2013 - at the Aldersgate Room in the basement of Westminster Central Hall. 
  • Framed and properly labelled artwork and sculpture needs to be brought to the basement of Westminster Central Hall together with the completed four-part exhibition schedule (entry form), artworks and a cheque or cash for the submission fees.
  • You need to attach an extra sheet for your explanation of your submission if it complies with the theme of "The Language of Flowers"
  • The nearest undergound stations are Westminster and St James Park
  • There is a car park in Abingdon Square and metred parking - however this is a very busy part of London for parking and you may find no places available so should not assume you can park nearby.  Unloading should be possible outside the Hall but only for a very brief period but this is dependent on the traffic warden.  
  • If coming from outside London it's probably better to park on the outskirts of London and catch a tube for the rest of the journey.
Postal / Courier Submissions: The Society does NOT accept works by post or carriage
  • You can however submit works via a carrier/courier 
  • ONLY artwork arriving on the receiving day ONLY will be accepted. Couriers are expected to unpack the work.  
  • Overseas artists can make arrangements to submit work for framing in the UK - however you need to contact Pam about exactly how these arrangements work.
The Exhibition

The Annual Exhibition is slightly earlier this year.  It's being held as usual at Westminster Central Hall, Storey's Gate, London SW1H 9NH and is open to the public - admission FREE - between Friday, 12 April to Sunday, 21 April 2013 (Daily from 11am to 5pm including Sundays).

More about this Exhibition and Botanical Art

Below you can find links to:
  • past posts about this exhibition on this blog - with photographs of the work in the exhibitions courtesy of the SBA.
  • my websites which provide "resources for botanical artists"
2012 exhibition
2011 exhibition
2009 exhibition
2008 Exhibition
2007 Exhibition
2006 Exhibition
My botanical art 'resources for artists' websites

[August 2016 - updated]


  1. I'm really excited about this exhibition and will definitely be submitting work. I hope you get something done for it, Katherine! Do you have any advice on pricing? How do you work out how much your work should be if you are a new artist?

    1. For this exhibition, the best thing to do is look at your catalogue for last year and benchmark against work you saw in terms of size and quality.

  2. I love that you bring all this to bloggers, Katherine. I thank you again.


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