Saturday, April 13, 2013

Prizewinners at Society of Botanical Artists Annual Exhibition 2013

I attended the Private View of the 28th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Botanical Artists on Thursday and since then it's been back to back botanical art - because just down the road we've also had the RHS Botanical Art Exhibition - with eight Gold Medal Winners!

I'm just about to start writing up the exhibitions visited and artists I've spoken to in the last three days - but given the fact I'm still suffering from the 3rd attack of the dreaded lurgy this might be a bit slow.
  • I'm starting with this post which will focus on the prizewinners and those demonstrating over the next week.
  • There will be a follow up post about the exhibition generally and highlighting those who got Certificates of Botanical Merit and were Highly Commended
  • I'm also probably doing a couple of posts on the RHS Show simply because the art was fabulous and the tips about how to get a gold medal were just as good!

Society of Botanical Art - 2013 Awards

Vickie Marsh led the Awards ceremony.  This is her last year as President of the SBA.

The theme of this year's exhibition is "The Language of Flowers" is being held at its normal venue - Westminster Central Hall - opposite Westminster Abbey - until Sunday, 21 April 2013. It's free to enter and is open every day between 11am to 5pm including Sundays.

SBA President Vickie Marsh at the Awards Ceremony
Below are the people who won major awards in this year's exhibition.

The President’s Award for work in other media Cash prize for work in media other than watercolour
Winner:  Rachel Munn SBA for Acanthus spinosus

Winner of the President's Award
Acanthus spinosus by Rachel Munn SBA

pen and ink with coloured pencil
I'm very fond of pen and ink work and was very pleased to see all Rachel's work in the exhibition.  She also had a delightful Fading Peony.

The Margaret Stevens Award For work reflecting concern for the environment
Winner: Penny Stenning for Garden Visitors

St Cuthbert's Mill Award - Paper to the value of £100 for an outstanding watercolour painting.
Winner:  Julia Trickey SBA - Leaves from Bath Botanical Garden

Winner St Cuthbert's Mill Award 
 Julia Trickey and Leaves from Bath Botanical Garden (£1,800)
watercolour on full sheet
If you click the title of this painting you can see a larger version of Julia's website.  Julia told me she was inspired to do it by Rachel Pedder's painting.  She started bottom right and worked across the sheet - and it took all year to do because of the need to represent leaves in different seasons.  This painting is on a full sheet of deckle edged Arches 300lb HP - painted on the reverse side - but I'm sure the next one is going to be on paper from St Cuthbert's Mill!  I don't often see float mounted deckled edged work in the SBA exhibition but this one looked very good.

Watch out for Julia in my posts about the RHS Show - she won her fourth Gold Medal the next day at the RHS Show!

You can also see her work in the ‘What We Collect: Recent Art Acquisitions’, 2007- 2012 Hunt Institute, Pittsburgh. USA 22 March-30 June 2013  Her leaf is being used as the motif for the exhibition on their website.

The Joyce Cuming Presentation Award 
A legacy from Joyce Cuming – a sterling silver Almoner’s plate. The winner receives a certificate.
Winner: Fiona Wheeler - Breadfruit (664)

Those Highly Commended will be highlighted in a subsequent post.

The Margaret Granger Memorial Silver Bowl In memory of Margaret for the best picture by a member elected in the last two years.
Winner: Norma Gregory SBA - for a body of work, but especially the Coltsfoot Seedhead

Winner of Margaret Granger Memorial Award
Body of work esp. Coltsfoot Seed-head (£1,250) by Norma Gregory SBA
watercolour, body colour and acrylic
This was a very impressive piece - quite unlike anything I've seen before.  I guess it's worth remembering that judges are always more likely to note and remember a work which is unique.

Suzanne Lucas Memorial Award In memory of Founder President Suzanne Lucas
Winner: Robert McNeill Assoc SBA - Abies koreana 'Carron'

Winner of the Suzanne Lucas Memorial Award
Robert McNeill Assoc SBA and Abies koreana 'Carron'
Robert recently retired from full-time teaching and is now devoting himself to building up his portfolio.  That's because his first three botanical paintings are all hanging in the exhibition! Not only were they all accepted but they look extremely impressive on the wall.  Plus his watercolour painting of a Korean Fir tree won both a prize and a Certificate of Botanical Merit!  Now that's quite something!

Robert is the husband of the very successful botanical artist Fiona Strickland SBA (see my interview with Fiona last year).  Like her he has switched from painting in oil and acrylic to watercolour and has demonstrated a tremendous level of competence in what he's done to date.  Fiona commented that throughout their art education and subsequent careers they have very often done things together.  I can well imagine we'll be seeing joint husband and wife exhibitions from these two in galleries in future.

Note:  Fans of Fiona's work will be disappointed to learn she has no work in the exhibition this year as she has been working on no less than 43 hand-painted illustrations for a new book about cooking with eggs

Daler-Rowney Award A wooden boxed set of Daler-Rowney Artists’ Watercolours
Winner:  Janet Pope Assoc SBA Potato growth Cycles I-III (515-517)

Janet Pope being presented with the Daler-Rowney Award
Harvest Time by Annie Soudain

Great Art Award For an outstanding exhibit. The winner chooses £500.00 of materials from the Great Art catalogue
Winner: Annie Soudain SBA - for a body of work - reduction linocuts of Great Dixter, Harvet Time, Iced Over, Bluebell Dell and Canal Bank

I was kicking myself over this - I've photographed Annie's work many times as her reduction linocut work is very impressive.  However for some reason I didn't this time.  However I do have a photograph of one of the images which are part of her body of work this time.

Derwent Award For an outstanding work in a pencil medium. The winner receives chooses £200.00 of materials from the Derwent catalogue
Winner:  Linda Hampson SBA - "Lily Stargazer" (271)

Winner Derwent Award
"Lily Stargazer - Dark Pink" (271)
(£350 - SOLD) by Linda Hampson SBA
coloured pencil and pastel
The People’s Choice Award will be chosen by visitors to the exhibition.


There are daily demonstrations by SBA members working in a variety of different media used for botanical art.  Those remaining are:

2013 Exhibition
2012 Exhibition

Resources for Botanical Artists

[August 2016 - updated]


  1. Katherine - I don't know how you do it. I am stunned by your energy levels! Thank you for posting this so quickly and so informatively. I personally loved Robert McNeill's paintings. I thought they were stunning. It was his use of light and shadow and the combination of colours on the Abies. Great to see you on Thursday. Wish we had time to chat, but I could see you were very busy working. Looking forward to your RHS posts.

  2. Hello Katherine,
    A different post here on your blog said that it was important art submitted to competitions was prices correctly. Could you give readers like myself an idea of the prices of the work exhibited at the society of botanical artists annual exhibition?

  3. Works command a range of prices. Telling you what they are makes no sense unless you also see the work.

    The best way to get an idea about prices is to
    1) visit the exhibition in the previous year to look at standards of entry, calibre of framing and how they are priced
    2) get a copy of the exhibition catalogue which includes all the works, a description of the media used and the price

    Try contacting the lady who provides all the information about exhibitions - the email address is on the website. She should also be able to sell you one of last year's catalogues.

  4. Si - sorry I didn't look at your work until after I posted my comment

    If you're thinking of entering you need to ensure you don't enter a still life. Having a flower in the picture does not make it suitable for a botanical exhibition.

    Also if you're sending work from Japan you need to contact the exhibition administrator who can tell you what facilities the society offers to those sending works from overseas. They have one of the best arrangements of any of the art societies for making it easier for international artists to exhibit.

  5. Hello Katherine,

    That's a good idea - a copy of last year's catalogue would let me get a better idea of what's exhibited, what the prices are, and what the limits of the subject matter are.

    Thank you!


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.