Friday, May 05, 2017

Prizewinners at the 126th Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters

This is a post about the people who were given awards at the Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters on Wednesday at its very well attended Private View at the Mall Galleries. 

Tomorrow I'll write a review of the exhibition.

It was lovely to speak to so many of the members and those aspiring to be members who got portraits selected for the exhibition.

The exhibition opened yesterday and continues until 19th May (10am-5pm). It's open until 7pm on the 9th and 16th May. Admission is £4 and £2.50 concession plus 50% off to National Art Pass Holders. Free to Friends of Mall Galleries and under 18s

There is a list of artist demonstrations at the end of this post. Most of them cost nothing.

RSPP 2017 Prizewinners

Congratulations to the RSPP and the support staff at the Mall Galleries for having the complete list of prizewinners available when I walked through the door and having posted them on Facebook before I even got to the exhibition!

Hopefully this post enhances that communication by discussing aspects of portrait or artist or both.

The Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture 

Prize: £10,000 + Gold Medal
Winner: Shawn McGovern for James

Winner of the Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture
James by Shawn McGovern

oil, 83cm x 60cm £5,500
Shawn has a First Class degree (BA Fine Art Painting) from Wimbledon College of Art and he also did the Postgraduate Drawing Year at the Royal Drawing School.

The painting is of his girlfriend's brother.

The de Laszlo Foundation Award

Prize: The de Laszlo Medal for Excellence, together with a cheque for £3,000
Winner: Jamie Routley for Alex Liederman at 17

Winner of the de Lazlo Foundation Award
Jamie Routley, Alex Liederman at 17

oil, 200x100cm NFS
  • Purpose: a prize for an artist under thirty five years old judged to have submitted the best portrait.
  • Background:sponsored by the de Laszlo Foundation which aims to encourage young artists.
  • Past winners
Jamie is Welsh and was educated entirely in the Welsh language. He now lives and works in England. He won the BP Young Artist Award in 2012. He was also selected to exhibit in the BP Portrait Award Exhibition in 2013.

The RP Non-Member’s Prize

Prize: £2,500, donated by The Patron’s Fund
Winner: Daniel Shadbolt NEAC for Nicholas

Winner of the RP Non-Members Prize
Nicholas by Daniel Shadbolt

Oil, 76 x 76cm
  • This is a NEW prize - and ensures that a non-member may win a not insignificant prize
  • The Patron’s Fund - which funds the prize - relates to a number of charitable organisations across the UK and Commonwealth for which Her Majesty The Queen acts as a Patron. Awards were made to those organisations to mark the Queen's 90th Birthday and the RP decided to create a Non-Members Award.
  • I'm unclear whether this prize will continue or whether it needs a sponsor for longevity.
Daniel Shadbolt graduated from Chelsea College of Art and Design with a degree in Fine Art: Painting. In the following year he pursued The Drawing Year at the (then) The Prince’s Drawing School (now the Royal Drawing School). He won ‘The Bulldog Bursary’ through the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in 2008 and was elected a member of the New English Art Club in 2015.

I must confess I'm less keen on figurative painting which loses definition as this one does. There were other portraits which I think might have given this portrait competition - of which more tomorrow.

The Changing Faces Prize

Prize: a £2,000 commission to paint a portrait of a person who has a facial disfigurement for the Changing Faces Collection
Winner: Daphne Todd OBE PPRP for Professor Susan Smith, Mistress of Girton

    Winner of the Changing Faces Prize
    Professor Susan Smith, Mistress of Girton by Daphne Todd PPRP
    Oil, 93 x 83cm

    • Purpose:
    awarded to the artist whose portrait best conveys the energy of their subject, the directness of their gaze and an attitude that exudes openness and confidence.
    • Sponsored by Changing Faces who have been campaigning for face equality since 1992. The Changing Faces Collection aims to show the public that 
      • a person’s distinctive scar colourful mark or unusual feature is just one part of their overall picture.
      • people with unusual faces are well and fairly represented in modern-day portraiture.
    • This is the last year of The Changing Faces Prize
    • see past winners
    Daphne Todd is very well known as a portrait painter, and also as a Past President of the RP, a winner of the BP Portrait Award (see my post Daphne Todd wins BP Portrait Award 2010 which includes my interview with her). Latterly she has become better known to a national audience as a Judge on the BBC's Big Painting Challenge.  We had a chat about that experience at the PV! (See my posts about the Big Painting Challenge)

    The Prince of Wales’s Award for Portrait Drawing

    Prize: a framed certificate and cheque for £2,000
    Winner: Bernadett Timko, for Lucas

    Winner of the Prince's Drawing Prize
    Lucas by Bernadette Timko

    Etching (edition of 3), 22 x 17cm £460 (framed) £420 unframed.

    • The award highlights the importance of drawing within contemporary portraiture.
    • His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has lent his name to the Society’s prestigious award for portrait drawing for the last eighteen years.
    • see past winners
    Bernadette Timko is still a student (studying portrait painting and figurative sculpture at the Heatherley School of Fine Art) and yet she consistently produces and exhibits work which is worth highlighting. I knew this etching would win the Drawing Prize. She has been winning prizes for the last two years. I've rarely seen a Young Artist do so well
    • 2016: Heatherley School of Fine Art Sculpture Scholarship and Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize Young Artist Award
    • 2015: Phyllis Roberts Award ROI Annual Exhibition; Winsor & Newton Young Artist Award, First Prize, ROI Annual Exhibition; NEAC Drawing School Scholarship; Mr Heatherley's Figure Composition Prize; Daphne Todd Prize for Portraiture, Heatherley School of Fine Art Summer Exhibition and the Heatherley School of Fine Art Scholarship
    She was born in 1992 and is originally from Hungary. Her studies have also involved the study of drawing and painting at the Secondary School of Fine Art of Nyíregyháza from 2006-2010.

    This is what I wrote about her a year ago in Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize Exhibition 2016 - Prizewinners and Review
    Personally I think she is already a very mature painter and would have been a very worthy winner of the top prize.
    I'm going to say I shall be extremely surprised if she doesn't win the BP Portrait Award at some point in the future. My expectation is sooner rather than later!

    I'm very confident that she will be a future member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters as her oil paintings are superb!

    I'd also point out that this etching is available as an edition of 3. One had gone at the PV. There may still be two left - if you're lucky!

    Burke’s Peerage Foundation Award for Classically Inspired Portraiture

    Prize: a framed certificate and a cheque for £2,000.
    Winner: Andrew Festing RP for Portrait of Count Alexis Limburg-Stirum at Walzin

    Winner of Burke's Peerage Foundation Award  for Classically Inspired Portraiture
    Portrait of Count Alexis Limburg-Stirum at Walzin by Andrew Festing

    oil, 92 x 81cm
    • This is a relatively new award - introduced in 2015.
    • The Burke’s Peerage Foundation Award for Classically Inspired Portraiture was instituted to celebrate the art of portraiture included in Burke’s Peerage since its foundation by John Burke in 1826. 
    • see previous winners
    Andrew Festing was president of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters from 2002-2008. He has painted over 750 portraits in his 30-year career, including The Queen, The House of Commons and the House of Lords.

    The Smallwood Architects Prize for Contextual Portraiture

    Prize: £1,000
    Winner: David Cobley RP NEAC for Made to Measure

    Winner of The Smallwood Architects Prize for Contextual Portraiture
    Made to Measure by David Cobley RP NEAC

    Oil, 89 x 64cm NFS

    • This is another recently introduced award (since 2015)
    • This prize, sponsored by Smallwood Architects is an award for a portrait in which architectural or interior features play an important part
    We are looking for the setting to enhance the human subject, creating energy and a sense of place and perhaps giving an insight into the subject's life. 
    David Cobley is an artist with a capacity for designing an unusual portrait. This portrait is one such. It's a fascinating blend of "proper portrait painting (of the head) and a very graphic treatment of parts of the painting and a design which is unusual.  He also has a talent for reworking paintings from the past and this one keeps reminding me of something but I've not yet worked out what - but I think it's a portrait of a tailor from the past - and the name of the artist refuses to come out of my mouth. It's got echoes of The Tailor by Giovanni Battista Moroni but that's not the one I'm thinking of.  It's something to do with the steady level gaze...

    PS Do take a look at his Paintings in the studio

    Contemporary Arts Trust Alice Batkin Award

    Prize: £1,000
    Winner: Vania Comoretti for Dual

    Background: The Contemporary Arts Trust offers £1,000 to the most deserving artist in the exhibition. The Trust’s objective is to assist deserving artists who show promise … to encourage them to remain in the arts and continue on their creative journey.

    • so far as I am aware this is a new award
    • this award is for "the most deserving artist" although I'm quite sure how that is defined or validated
    • The Trust's objective sis to assist deserving artists wi show promise, to encourage them to remain in the arts and continue on their creative journey.

    Vania Comoretti was born in Udine (Italy) in 1975. She works and lives in Udine and Venice. She has a five-year schooling certificate in Applied Arts, has attended several courses in advertising graphics. In 2004 she graduated in Restoration, Painting section, at the Venice School of Fine Arts (Italy).

    The double portrait is fascinating and got a lot of people studying it closely.

    Artist Demonstrations

    There are RSPP members demonstrating in the Mall galleries as follows
    Artist demonstration

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