Friday, August 03, 2018

Pastel Society - Call for Entries for 120th Annual Exhibition (2019)

If you work in pastels, oil pastels, charcoal, pencil, conte, sanguine, or any other dry media you can submit your artwork to the 120th Annual Exhibition of The Pastel Society.

It's an open exhibition at the Mall Galleries and last year around a third of the art hung was selected from the Open Entry.
The Pastel Society seeks the best in contemporary dry media, combining traditional skills with creative originality
This is a summary of the Call for Entries - complemented by images from the 2018 exhibition and comments on this open exhibition. For full terms and conditions, click here.

The 120th Annual Exhibition will open on Tuesday 5 February and continue every day - from  10am to 5pm - until it closes at 3pm on Saturday 16 February 2019.

A corner of the Annual Pastel Society Exhibition in 2018


This is an art society which has managed to attract a lot of sponsorship for prizes for work in the competition.

Prizes are mainly product prizes but also include some cash prizes - and the cash prizes are particularly attractive to younger artists

Cash Prizes

  • Alfred Teddy Smith and Zsuzsi Roboz Prize - A major award of £5,000 presented to a young artist, aged 35 or under, for traditional skills used in an original way. 
  • Unison Young Artist Award - £500
  • Annie Longley Award - £250
  • The Pastel Society Young Artist Award - £200

Product prizes (art materials)

  • Derwent Award - £1,000 worth of products
  • Caran d'Ache Award - Product prize
  • Frank Herring & Sons Award - Product prize 
  • Henri Roche Award - Product prize
  • The Pastel Society Visitors' Choice Award - £250 worth of Derwent vouchers
  • Royal Talens Award - Product prize
  • Schmincke Award - Product prize
  • Unison Member Award - Set of 72 pastels
  • Unison Non-member Award - Set of 72 pastels
  • West Design / Faber Castell Award - Product prize

Marketing / Promotion Awards

  • The Artist Magazine Award - Feature article
  • Artists & Illustrators Award - Feature article
  • The Pastel Society Catalogue Award: First & Second Prize - Featured image in the exhibition catalogue

The exhibition includes a variety of subjects, sizes and styles


Who is eligible?

  • This is an OPEN exhibition and is not limited to work by members
  • Any artist over 18 may submit. 
  • There is no restriction of where you live. It's open to open to artists in the UK, EU, and outside the EU and this exhibition often has works exhibited by people who live outside the UK.
Artists who are not resident in the UK but are resident in the EU or elsewhere are welcome to submit work. If your work is sold at the exhibition you have a responsibility to register and account for UK VAT with H.M. Revenue & Customs. Artists without a UK residence (known as 'NETPs' - non-established taxable persons) can find further details on 'NETP' status and how to register for VAT at, (HM Revenue & Customs Reference: Notice 700/1, Mar 2014) under the heading 'Should I be registered for VAT?' Please note: the registration process can take up to 4 weeks.

What media and images are eligible?

Eligible media

  • Pastels, oil pastels, charcoal, pencil, conte, sanguine, or any other dry media are all acceptable media.

I'm personally of the view that the criteria ought to strictly limit artwork to dry media in all its various forms. The inclusion of oil pastels always surprises me since oil pastels never really dry due to the use of a non-drying binder! A lot of artists also use solvents when working with them. If the new watercolour sticks or the art marker sticks called them pastels would that mean that they too became eligible media?

Work by the President - Jeanette Hayes

Eligible images

  • Works should not be larger than 2.4m (7.8 feet) along the longest dimension. 
  • Work must have been: 
    • completed during the twelve months prior to the exhibition and 
    • not have been exhibited elsewhere. 
  • Number of works: 
    • Maximum of six works submitted. 
    • Maximum of four works selected. 
  • Minimum price: £300.

Images selected from the Open Entry

    Submission: key dates and points to note

    ALL artworks must initially be submitted online

    The selection process involves two stages:
    • Online entries are digitally screened to create a long list of what's called "pre-selected entries" ("long list" would be so much more descriptive!). 
    • The latter are then delivered - as framed works - to the Mall Galleries, London, for an appearance in front of the Selection Panel and a decision as to whether or not they make it on to the walls of the exhibition!
    On the Mall Galleries website you can find:

    Stage 1 - Digital submission

    • ALL work must be submitted online at
    • Work must have been completed during the twelve months prior to the exhibition and not have been exhibited elsewhere.
    • Submission fee is £18 per work (£12 per work for artists aged 35 or under) 
    • Images must be in JPEG format and under 5MB
    • Maximum of 6 works submitted - however do NOTE:
      • the average number of paintings per non-member artist selected in 1.3 in 2018; 1.4 in 2017
      • those having more than one work selected are candidates for members and  typically showed 2-3 works 
      • thus the majority of exhibiting non-members only have 1 artwork selected. 
      • the cost of your submission therefore depends on (1) how good your work is; (2) how discriminating you are at submitting works with a good chance of being exhibited - and if you have not seen the exhibition in person I recommend you check out my posts at the end about past exhibitions  (3) how much you want to become a member of this society
    • Maximum of four works selected. (Note that the average number of MEMBERS' works exhibited was just over 3 in 2018.)
    • SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Submission opened on 30th July. You must complete the registration form, pay your fee and upload your digital image no later than 12 noon on Friday 2 November 2018  
    • CHECK to see if your work has passed the digital screening by logging on to from 12 noon on Friday 9th November 2018

    Stage 2 (post digital screening)

    • IF PRE-SELECTED, you must now
      • get your work framed prior to delivery for the second round of selection.
      • deliver your work for the second round of the selection process to Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD
    • Works should be delivered unwrapped with forms and labels.
    • Artists sending work from abroad should use a picture carrier.
    • RECEIVING DAY: Deliver your work on Saturday 5th January 2019 between 10am - 5pm.
    • Selection takes place on Monday 7th January 2019.
    • CHECK if your artwork has been selected for exhibition on Tuesday 10 January, from 12 noon.
    • COLLECT all unaccepted work on Thursday 10th January 2019, 10am - 5pm from Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD 

    Stage 3 (post exhibition)

    • COLLECT of unsold work: Thursday 21 February, 10am to 5pm

    TIPS for potential entrants

    • Read the FULL terms and conditions for entry on the Mall Galleries website carefully
    • Don't leave registration and uploading your image to the last minute. 
    • Measure your work precisely
    • Make sure the framed size does not render the work ineligible.
    • The price of Works stated must include the commission of 45% plus VAT
    • If you live outside the UK make sure 
      • you read the conditions about VAT very carefully and don't think you can get away with skipping registration if it applies to you!  This is both law and tax and this condition is NOT flexible!
      • you use a picture carrier - framed work can only be submitted UNWRAPPED.

    Exhibition - Key dates

    • The Private View is on Monday 20th February 2pm - 8pm
    • The exhibition opens to the public on Tuesday 21st February. 
    • It's then open every day (10am to 5pm) until 3pm on Saturday 4th March. 
    I will be reviewing the exhibition as per normal that week! To see what previous exhibitions have looked like - and read my reviews - see below.

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