Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The 3rd Derwent Art Prize - Call for Entries

The Cumberland Pencil Company announced the Call for Entries from international artists for The 3rd Derwent Art Prize on Monday. 

The deadline for entry is 1st June 2016.

The competition is now a biannual competition - so the next one will be in 2018.

Astri Saunders, Marketing Manager at Derwent, said

“We are proud to launch the Derwent Art Prize for the third year. Our aim of the exhibition is to showcase artworks created in pencil and increase the profile and importance of drawing as a fine art medium”.
This is a digest of who can enter, what you can enter and how the process works - with an overview of the timeline of dates. The competition is organised by Parker Harris to whom all queries should be addressed.

Approximately 80 drawings will be selected for exhibition at the Mall Galleries. The exhibition will be held between 19th - 24th September 2016.  You can see my video of the last exhibition below

After this the exhibition will go on a short tour of venues in the UK between October and December 2016.

The organisers have not yet resurrected the Facebook Page for the competition but you can reasonably expect that selected artists might also get some promotion for their artwork via this channel of communication as well.

Call for Entries on the website of The Derwent Art Prize

What the Prize is for

It's very odd - but the actual website has no explicit up front statement for prospective entrants about the aim of the Prize or why it was introduced. I think this is an omission which should be addressed.

If you are an artist, this is as much as you get....
We would really love to see lots of entries in coloured pencil as well as water-soluble, pastel, graphite or charcoal pencils
However, if you're like me and look at the press release sent to you - then you'll find out that...
The Derwent Art Prize was conceived in 2012 and aims to reward excellence by showcasing the very best artworks created in pencil by British and International artists.

The Prizes

The prize fund totals £12,500 covering:
  • First Prize £6,000
  • Second Prize £3,500
  • Third Prize £1,000
  • People's Choice Award – Exhibition £750
  • People's Choice Award – All entries £750
  • Young Artist Award – For artists under 25 years £500
This is the work which won the First Prize in 2013
see my blog post Chrys Allen wins inaugural Derwent Art Prize for pencil art

How to Enter

If intending to submit an entry do also make sure you read
The competition and exhibition organisers are Parker Harris. Further enquiries about the competition should be addressed to Parker Harris, on: or Tel. + 44 (0) 1372 462190 - but do look at the FAQs first!

Who can enter?

The first two years of the competition attracted a total of 4,000 entries from artists from 67 countries.
  • Nationality: The Prize is open to all British and international artists. A third party agency (such as a gallery) can enter work but there are significant conditions that must be met
  • Age
    • All entrants must be over the age of 18 years old on 1st June 2016. 
    • You also have to be alive!
Tile kilns, Maiden Lane by Anne Howson
(Shortlisted 2014 Derwent Art Prize)

What media can you use?

The work entered must be created in pencil (including water-soluble, pastel, graphite, charcoal or coloured pencils).
FAQ: Is any pencil type admissible? Yes, you can use any pencil including water-soluble, pastel, graphite, charcoal or coloured pencils on any 2 or 3 dimensional support.
My personal view is that it was self evident that some works in the two previous exhibitions had been completed using pastel or charcoal sticks not pencils. I think the conditions could be clearer on this point - or query the artist when it seems extremely unlikely that they used pencils.

Eligible artwork

  • Number:  artists can submit up to six of their works
  • Size: must not exceed 182cms in its greatest dimension. There is no minimum size limit. 
  • Format:  The Prize is open to both 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional works. The First Prize winner was a scroll!
  • Date completed: All entered work must have been completed within the last 3 years. 
  • Availability: The work selected for exhibition MUST be available from 1st September 2016 – 31st January 2017 .
  • For Sale: Works can be offered for sale but it's NOT a condition that they must be for sale. (Prizes should include the 40% commission that will be deducted if sold)
For the non-metrically inclined 182cm = 71 inches

In addition....
Each artist by entering the Derwent Art Prize confirms that they hold all intellectual property rights in the work and that they have obtained prior written approval for the use of any third party copyrighted material contained in the submitted work.

Inadmissable work

After last year (see Derwent Art Prize 2014 - ineligible drawing wins first prize?) I'm really hoping the organisers draw these conditions to the particular attention of the selectors this year!  My emphasis in bold!
Work that does not fit within the Conditions of Entry will not be admissible and will not be considered for exhibition. The following are also inadmissible:
  • Copies of works
  • Works that are in breach of copyright 
  • Works that have been previously exhibited 

Health and Safety Conditions

In addition, it almost goes without saying - but must be said - that the work must be safe!  Work is inadmissable if it
  • contains noxious or toxic substances, are flammable below 50°C or incorporate dangerous electrical equipment
  • does not conform to all relevant health and safety standards and regulations.
A Fall of Ordinariness and Light (The Order Land) by Jessie Brennan
(Shortlisted 2014 Derwent Art Prize)

How do you enter?

Competition Timeline

The key dates are as follows


  • 1 June 2016: Deadline for entry


  • 24th June 2016: All artists notified of the outcome of the first stage selection process

Delivery of work

Artists need to insure their work if likely to be distressed by its loss or any damage to the frame. People may endeavour to handle works carefully but accidents do happen and the liability of the organisers and handlers is limited.

Delivery of artwork is:
  • 30th August – 12th September 2016: Delivery by Post or courier - to Art Moves of Chelsea, Chelsea Self Storage, Blantyre Street, London, SW10 0EQ
  • 12th September 2016: Delivery in person to Art Moves of Chelsea, 10am-5pm GMT

Note collection of the work is to be organised by the artist and the organisers only commit themselves as follows on packaging: The organisers will endeavour to retain packaging for international work.

Exhibition / Tour

  • 19th-24th September 2016: Exhibition opens to public
  • 19th September 2016: Private View and Prize Winners announced
  • October – December 2016: Exhibition tour

The Selectors

The Selectors are:
I fervently hope that this year they actually read the conditions of entry!  See Derwent Art Prize 2014 - ineligible drawing wins first prize?  

The conditions of entry state that
The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. All works will be judged anonymously and there will be no segregation by country, genre or style etc.
My personal view is that if the panel of selectors IGNORE the conditions of the competition - as happened last time - then all entrants should ask for their entry fees back. Conditions are contractual in the eye of the law and apply just as much to judges as entrants!

I did notice that the Conditions of Entry do state this time that the Cumberland Pencil Company has the final right of say over whether or not a work can be included in the competition where questions are raised within a legal context.
The Cumberland Pencil Company reserves the right to deny admission or withdraw a work from the exhibition if for any reason the work, or any circumstances surrounding the display of the work, appears to The Cumberland Pencil Company to expose it to risk of legal proceedings.

Derwent Art Prize: other blog posts

Derwent Art Prize 2014

Derwent Art Prize 2013

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