Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review: Royal Society of British Artists - 296th Annual Exhibition

To my mind, the 296th Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of British Artists is an improvement on last year's exhibition (see RBA 2012: An exhibition of Middle England? ).   Which is shorthand for saying I saw more paintings I liked and saw fewer paintings that didn't seem to me to be up to standard for an exhibition of this sort.  It also includes some stunning sculpture

The catalogue lists 537 artworks - both paintings in all media and sculpture. You can see:
View of Lake Pichola, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
by RBA President James Horton PRBA
Below you can see some photos of the exhibition, the images of (some of) the paintings and names of the artists who won awards and further comments on the exhibition.

While the website shows you an image, there is no sense of the relative size of the different artworks.  What my photographs below demonstrate is the size of artwork and the nature of the framing used for artwork submitted to this exhibition

The post viral fatigue is still limiting the number of outings I can manage to do in a week so I'm afraid this review is very much later than I'd originally planned.

RBA Annual Exhibition 2013 - Threadneedle Space, Mall Galleries
RBA Annual Exhibition 2013 - West Gallery, Mall Galleries
RBA Annual Exhibition 2013 - West Gallery, Mall galleries
Includes paintings by (top right) Andy Wood RBA and (bottom right) Annie Williams RBA
Bonded glass sculptures by Peter Newsome RBA
RBA Annual Exhibition 2013 - West Gallery, Mall Galleries
Includes paintings by (right) Nicholas Verrall RBA ROI
RBA Annual Exhibition 2013 - West Gallery, Mall Galleries
Includes paintings by (Left) Cheryl Culver RBA PPS
RBA Annual Exhibition 2013 - West Gallery, Mall galleries
Paintings by Peter Kelly, Peter Brown, Jill Leman, and Ken Howard

RBA Annual Exhibition 2013 - North Gallery, Mall Galleries
This mainly comprised artworks selected from the Open Entry
Things I noticed - in no particular order:

  • It was good to see a Society Exhibition making use of all three galleries.  The exhibition was also packed with pics.  I like crowded exhibitions although it might appall some.  To my mind, people who visit would like to look at a lot of art.
  • It was also good to see an exhibition which was very well hung.  It was a pleasure to photograph it.  Members typically occupied the West Gallery and the Threadneedle Space while works which were selected from the open submission tended to be hung in the North Gallery
  • I noticed a fair amount of red spots.
  • There appears to have been a resurgence in the painting of the English rural landscape. The David Hockney effect was very evident.  It's as if a lot of painters have suddenly realised that people like paintings of trees - and there were an awful lot of them on display this year.
  • This year I was more conscious of fine art prints - etchings etc
  • I noticed a LOT of very good small works.  There was nothing slapdash about these.
  • I saw some wrapped canvas work (which may have been by students) where too little attention had been paid to the edges. These were relegated to the far end of the north gallery.  I always think quality of presentation as well as quality of painting dictates where a painting gets hung

The RBA Award Winners 2012

The links in people's names go to their website, their gallery's website if they have one or otherwise to their Member Page on the RBA website. I've included i,mages of some of the prizewinners below.

I really liked the paintings by Rowan Crew - although I personally would have given the prize he won to one of paintings of trees through the seasons.

Works by Rowan Crew RBA
(left) Portrait of an Ash, four seasons (oil) £8,000
(centre) Winner of The Artist Magazine Award - Blooming Green (oil) (£4,500)
(right) Portrait of an Oak, four seasons (oil) £8,000
Blooming Green by Rowan Crew RBA won the The Artist Magazine Award ( A feature in The Artist Magazine, print and digital edition )

The De Lazlo Medal (£1,000) 2012 was awarded to David Sawyer RBA.  I wasn't quite sure why a medal was being highlighted a year later.

Winner of the De Lazlo Medal and £1,000
A group of works by David Sawyer RBA
A bleak midwinter day, Delph by John McCombs RBA ROI won the The Davison Award for oil painting - which is the middle one of the paintings shown below

Works by John McCombs RBA
(middle) A bleak midwinter day, Delph (oil) £1,900

One of the Winners of The Alfred Daniels Award for Narrative Work
(Left) Ship of Fools (Mixed) £980 by Mike Clay

This is the full list of prizewinners



The Alfred Daniels Award
for a Narrative work
Michael Collins
Mike Clay
Waiting for the bride
Ship of fools
Stargazers I
The Arts Club Charitable Trust Award
in association with The Arts Club - £1,000 Prize
The Artist Magazine Award
A feature in The Artist Magazine, print and digital edition
Rowan Crew RBA
Blooming green
The Davison Award for oil painting
John McCombs RBA ROI
A bleak midwinter day, Delph
Frinton Frames Award
£200 of picture framing at Frinton Frames bespoke picture frame makers
Midday’s sun, Belmont, Bath
The Gordon Hulson Memorial Prize
for draughtsmanship, variety and exploration
Abandoned factory – Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham
The Edward Wesson Award
For watercolour painting
The John Ingram Memorial Award
for a young artist
Connie Latham
Josephine Lohoar Self
Mrs Clarke
The G Vivis Memorial Award
Seine moorings, Port St Nicholas

Please note subscriptions only become live after you have verified the link in the email you will receive


  1. Thanks very much Katharine for yet another informative review of a Mall Galleries exhibition. I was at the private view for the very first time this year having had one piece accepted for the open exhibition and was very pleased to have that piece sell during the first hour of PV party.
    I also think the exhibition was well coordinated and very well hung and even though I am not a member and was exhibiting for the first time, I found my work hanging in the West Gallery.
    From an artists standpoint I appreciate your comments this year and last year as well regarding social commentary. The exhibition is indeed hung with a great deal of landscapes of many types and I have to say I had a look at past submissions and then checked my portfolio to see what was similar to give my piece the best chance of selection.
    I don't know if this is one of the reasons the exhibition is biased towards English landscapes but although my style is similar, my collection of paintings is eclectic... I am never sure whether 'going with the flow' is always the best way to go but I have often wondered what the criteria is for judging and selecting work into an open exhibition.
    Anne Blankson-Hemans

  2. Just to let you know that there is an incorrect link on the site. The Artist who won the Arts Club Charitable Trust Award is a Painter not a Sculptor. Here is a link to some of his work:

  3. Thanks for the update - always pleased to amend an incorrect attribution


COMMENTS HAVE BEEN CLOSED AGAIN because of too much spam.
My blog posts are always posted to my Making A Mark Facebook Page and you can comment there if you wish.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.