Friday, October 18, 2013

Review: Annual Exhibition 2013 of The Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers

Philip Nelson won the top prize at the 2013 Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters Sculptors and Gravers - with a wooden duck!

A mallard to be precise - and it is very precise - and it's in 3D.  It is in fact a wood carving which is incredibly faithful in its anatomical correctness.  The wood has then been painted to display the feathers and is very persuasive.  I felt as if I needed to reach out to check it was in fact paint but it's living in a glass case as do all the works do for this exhibition.

Winner of the The Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers Gold Memorial Bowl Mallard Drake - Philip Nelson
Acrylic on wood - £800 (Sold)
You can find out more about Philip and the history of his wood-carving and prizewinning on his website

This year's exhibition is in the North Gallery of the Mall Galleries and is open every day 10am - 5pm. It closes at 1pm on Sunday 27th October.  They have plenty of magnifying glasses for people to inspect the work.

The exhibition as always maintains a very high standard in terms of the quality of work selected for exhibition.  The exhibition also demonstrates the range and scope of subject matter chosen for miniaturisation - some of which always surprises me each year.  It's absolutely the exhibition to visit if you've ever wanted to commission a miniature portrait.

View of the 2013 Annual Exhibition
of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters Sculptors and Gravers

The miniature holographic portrait
of HM Queen Elizabeth II

A world first - a miniature holographic portrait of the Queen

The exhibition includes a miniature version of the holographic portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, which was presented to the National Portrait Gallery in 2011 by the People of Jersey.  It was created by Rob Munday and Chris Levine, took two sittings and just over 8,200 images to formulate the three-dimensional lenticular.

This miniature version - also by Rob Munday - is the world’s first 24 carat gold (nickel metal covered with gold by vacuum deposition) holographic portrait miniature of Her Majesty The Queen.  It measures 25 by 32mm.

I've now seen both and the miniaturisation has not lost any of the power to astound.

Daily Demonstrations

This art society is one which places a big emphasis on making miniature art more accessible to the public via demonstrations in the gallery during the exhibition.  These are the names of the artists demonstrating for the remainder of the exhibition.

Award Winners

Other prizewinners are listed below.  Those new to miniatures should review the size of the miniatures relative to the size of the font for the label announcing the award which is identical to all

Winner - The Prince of Wales Award for Outstanding Miniature Painting
Red Squirrel Trail - Gina Morton

watercolour on Polymin £500

This was truly an outstanding painting by Gina Morton.  The quality of the definition in the delineation of fur and vegetation was absolutely amazing.  Gina has won many prizes and also exhibits internationally.

For all fans of miniature art - Gina has at long last got herself a website! Click the link to it in her name to pay a visit and see more of her miniature art which always impresses me every time I see it.

Winner of the Royal Miniature Society Group Award
Barbara Valentine
I see Barbara's work regularly each year at Florum as well as this exhibition.  Her work always looks good in a group.

Winner of the The Mundy Sovereign Portrait Award
The View in Winter - David Lawton

oil on panel £1,250
Those of you who know David can see a much better image of this on his Facebook Account. (I look forward to the day when he gets himself a website!) I've featured David and his portraits a number of times on this blog - starting with his portrait which was shortlisted for the BP Portrait Award.  His paintings never fail to impress. Wouldn't it be great to see a Miniature rather than a 'big head' win the BP?

Winner of The Bidder and Borne Sculptors and Gravers Award (£350)
Drakes and Mallard by Philip Nelson
acrylic on wood (£500-£800 - 3 already sold)
These drakes are absolutely marvellous.  The painting is so good you have the sense of having a live bird in front of you.

For those interested in how miniaturisation applies to sculpture - the rule is any sculpture should not exceed 8" (20cm) across the longest measurement.

Winner of the Llewellyn Alexander Subject Miniature Award - £500
3F Standing at Rothley - John Arbon RMS
acrylic on cotton £650
Winner - Peter Charles Booth Memorial Award 
Lacie by Pauline Denyer Baker Des RCA RMS MAA HS SLm
watercolour on ivorine £500
Winner - Anita Emmerich Presentation Award
Down and Out in Paris by Gina Morton

watercolour on Polymin
Winner of the Anthony J Lester Art Critics Award
Swan Reflection (top left above) by Suzanne Bradley RMS 
watercolour on ivorine £220
(above are 6 of the 7 paintings by Suzanne Bradley which were submitted and selected)
Winner - The Bonhams Portrait Award
Portrait of Werner Herzog - by Oliver King

watercolour and gouache on vellum - £400

Winner of the Arturi Phillips Connoisseur Award (top left)
Mrs Jill Stevenson by Elizabeth R Meek PRMS, PPSWA FRSA

oil on polymin (NFS)
I understand that Elizabeth Meek will be retiring at this year's AGM as the President of the Society. I'm sure all miniature painters will be wishing her well with her future endeavours - which I'm sure will involve a lot more painting and a lot less organising exhibitions.

More about Miniatures

There has been a dramatic revival in the collecting of contemporary miniatures in the last decade. I'm always very impressed by the enormous number of visitors and sales at this exhibition.  This is what the society has to say about the art of the miniature.
Miniature art demands uncompromising self-discipline, for where large pictures give some latitude in composition, miniatures are unforgiving of the least mistake; a tolerance of even a millimetre is hardly permitted. Little wonder that many of the more dedicated collectors who make their annual pilgrimage to the RMS exhibition, go equipped with magnifying glasses. Apart from their quality and beauty, contemporary miniatures have appeal because of their size - an impressive group can be amassed, yet take up little room.
You can find out more about it on

Previous 'Making A Mark' Reviews of the annual exhibition of the RMS

Links to previous reviews of the Annual Exhibition:

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