Sunday, September 30, 2018

Call for Entries: Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour 207th Exhibition in 2019

The Call for Entries for the 207th Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) at the Mall Galleries in April 2019 opens tomorrow.

The deadline for entries to this exhibition which is open to international artists is 4 January 2019.

There are also FOUR other important changes (see below).
Showing a diversity of styles and techniques, from traditional uses of the medium to more experimental and innovative paintings.
Below you will find:
  • a brief review of the history of the RI and how it is different to the RWS
  • exhibition metrics for the last exhibition in 2018
  • Call for Entries 2019 unpicked - including FOUR Important Changes
    • about the exhibition
    • terms and conditions
    • who can submit an entry
    • what sort of artwork can be submitted
  • Prizes & Awards - The exhibition includes several prizes and awards, open to all participating artists 
Feature wall in the 2018 Exhibition

About the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours

The home of Watercolour painting since 1831
The RI seeks the best in contemporary watercolour and watermedia painting.
The RI was originally formed as the New Society of Painters in Water Colours in 1807 as an alternative to the Royal Watercolour Society (RWS). Both were a response to the failure of the Royal Academy of Arts to consider watercolour painting as a serious medium.
From the start the New Society showed the work of non-members’ alongside that of members, a policy still followed today.
It then became the Associated Artists in Water Colours in 1808, then folded due to financial difficulties - and then resurrected itself as the New Society of Painters in Water Colours in 1831. In 1863 the New Society became the Institute of Painters in Water Colours. It moved to new premises at 190-195 Piccadilly - just across the road from Burlington House, the home of the RA. After many years of exhibitions limited to the work of members only, the RI reopened their doors to all comers.

It's an important distinction which continues to be the major difference between the RI and the RWS

The RI remained at Piccadilly until 1970 when the lease expired, when they joined forces with other leading national art groups to form the Federation of British Artists based at the Mall Galleries

Website -
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The Candidates Wall in the RI 2018 Exhibition

Exhibition Metrics for 2018

This is a summary of the exhibition metrics for the annual exhibition in 2018
  • 407 paintings by members and non-members were hung across the three galleries (405 if you discount the two paintings by HRH The Prince of Wales) 
  • by 151 artists from 12 countries (51 members and 100 non-members) 
    • 163 of works (40%) were by 100 (66%) non-member artists were selected and hung in the exhibition. 
    • 50 Members: averaged 4.88 works hung 
    • 100 'Open' artists: averaged 1.63 works hung - compared to 1.45 in 2017 
    • although this included the people who were Candidates for Membership where the number of works hung varied between 2 and 4 paintings 
You can review my past blog posts about this annual exhibition (2007-2018) at the end of this post.

Call for Entries - RI Annual Exhibition 2019

Artists are invited to submit works for exhibition alongside members of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) at their 207th Exhibition 2019.

In summary, both members of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and other artists are invited to submit paintings for consideration. 

  • Anybody can enter artwork created using in traditional watercolours or water-soluble media
  • All entries are via digital submission
  • The deadline for entries is Noon on 4th January 2019.
  • The entry fee is £18 per work payable at the time of submitting (£12 per work for artists aged 35 or under).  Entry includes free admission to the exhibition.
Details of how artists can apply via the open entry process are set out below.

Information about the Annual Exhibition 2019

The 207th Exhibition will be held at the Mall Galleries between Wednesday 3 April and Thursday 18 April (10am - 5pm every day) - so just over two weeks.

Terms and Conditions of Entry 2019

You can find

Who can Submit

Any artist - over the age of 18 - living anywhere in the world can submit work in water-soluble media to this exhibition.

A wall in the Main Gallery in 2018

What you can submit 

  • Number: You can submit a maximum of six works - of which a maximum of four works selected. Typically it's candidates for membership who submit a large number of paintings.
  • Media: Artwork in watercolour or water-soluble mediums, including watercolour, acrylic, ink or gouache (excluding water-soluble oils) are eligible for exhibition.
  • Age: Works must have been completed within the last two years 
  • Exhibition: Works should not have been previously shown in London.
  • Support: painted on paper or paper based support.
  • Size: Works must not be larger than 2.4m high and 1.5m wide. (NOTE: There is no minimum size!)
  • Price: The minimum price is £350

IMPORTANT NOTE: FOUR important changes:

  • The type of support for the artwork is now specified. All artwork in water-based media must be painted on paper or paper based support
    • I've made this point myself previously. If painted on canvas or board support then one has to question if an e.g. an acrylic painting would be eligible for the oil painters exhibition!  
    • However I do think that the criteria should have included vellum (including vellum stretched on board) - as this is a support much used by those painting in traditional watercolour paint. Not necessarily by those who have submitted to this before - but the fact is it is much used eg by botanical artists, natural history artists and miniature painters who work in watercolour - and master painters in watercolour in the past! (I'm working on the fact that the vellum painters don't submit!)
    • My advice would be that if you paint on vellum in traditional (i.e. NORMAL) watercolour paint then you should approach the RI for clarification.
    • PS For those on the RI who are not aware - see my page on vellum for clarificationThis is a support where you can wipe off your traditional watercolour paint using water and start again!
  • Age: Works must have been completed within the last two years - so essentially NEW WORKS ONLY
  • Exhibition: Works should not have been previously shown in London - which very much benefits 
    • art collectors and those viewing many exhibitions as they don't see the same old artwork rotating between different exhibitions in London.  
    • those outside London as you can submit your paintings to other exhibitions before the RI - and it doesn't matter!
  • The minimum price has been reduced to £350 for 2019. Note there has been a change in the minimum price. Last year it was set at £450 and I said I thought this was a mistake as there are lots of sales below this figure in other exhibitions. My personal view is still that somewhere between £250 and £300 might be a better place to start - but we'll see how sales go in 2019.....

NOTE: The change in entry fee is universal across all FBA exhibitions and is not unique to the RI. Payment of the entry fee also brings fee entry to the exhibition for those submitting entries.

a corner of the main gallery in the RH Exhibition in 2018

How to Submit

The process works as follows
  • Read the general terms and conditions
  • Read the specific entry requirements
  • Register for digital submission - if you have never entered before
  • Login to the Open Exhibition Entry website
  • Submit your entry ONLINE prior to the deadline (4 January 2019 - 12 noon). 
    • You need to complete the form, pay the fee and upload images of work between Monday 1 October 2018 and Friday 4 January 2019, 12 noon 
    • [Note: Images must be in JPEG format and under 5MB]
  • Pre-selection is based on online entries and associated digital images 
    • Notification of Pre-selection - Friday 11 January, 12 noon (Log in to to see if your work has been pre-selected)
    • Deliver pre-selected entries to Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD for final selection on Saturday 9 February 2019, 10am to 5pm
  • Final selection - in front of a Panel of Members of the RI
    • Notification of Acceptance Tuesday 12 February 2019, 12 noon- via checking this page to see if your entry number is listed 
    • Collect work not accepted for exhibition from Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD on Thursday 14 February, 10am – 5pm
    • The selectors' decisions are final and no feedback is offered.

Note: Collection of unsold work: Wednesday 24 April 2019, 10am to 5pm

Timeline for Open Entries - Summary of Key Dates

These are the key dates for all those wishing to submit work to this open exhibition.
  • Submission opens: Monday 1 October 2018, 12 noon 
  • Submission closes: Friday 4 January 2019, 12 noon
  • Pre-selection notification: Friday 11 January 2019, 12 noon [Log in to see if your work has been pre-selected]
  • Receiving Day (if pre-selected only): Saturday 9 February 2019, 10am - 5pm
  • Acceptance notification: Tuesday 12 February 2019, 12 noon
  • Collection of unaccepted work: Thursday 14 February 2019, 10am - 5pm
  • Collection of unsold work: Thursday 26 April 2019, 10am - 5pm

International Entrants

  • Artists from outside the UK may need to register for VAT, please check with HM Revenue and Customs: 
  • Artists sending work from abroad should use a picture carrier. Many artists use Picture Post as they offer a packing and delivery service for our exhibitions (we do not accept any liability for their services). Picture Post - Tel: 0044 (0)1302 711011 / Mobile: 07833 450788 / Email: 

Prizes & Awards (subject to final confirmation)

This is an organisation that has worked hard to generate sponsorship for the very many prizes.  So if you want your CV to include an award from an exhibition take a look at the ones below.

The many prizes and awards include:
  • The Winsor & Newton Award: £3,000
  • The Winsor & Newton Product Prize: £1,000 worth of Winsor & Newton art materials
  • The Leathersellers' Prize: £1,000 awarded by The Worshipful Company of Leathersellers to an artist aged between 18 and 30 years old
  • The Anthony J Lester Art Critic Award: A certificate of commendation for an outstanding work chosen by the art critic and broadcaster Anthony J Lester
  • NEW The Baohong Artists' Watercolour Paper Prizes: Two prizes of £250 each, awarded to a member and non-member for excellence
  • The Cass Art Prize: A prize of £200 of art supplies from Cass Art, awarded to a work demonstrating the most innovative use of colour
  • NEW The Chaoshan Watercolour Award: £250 awarded by Chinese artist, Professor Li Xiaocheng, for the best classically inspired watercolour
  • The Debra Manifold Memorial Award: Presented by the Linda Blackstone Gallery, an award for the most innovative work in the exhibition
  • The Dry Red Press Award: The winning work will be published as a greeting card in the Dry Red Press 'Prize Winners' range, with royalties from the sale of the cards going to the artist
  • The Escoda Barcelona Award: A set of Escoda's finest brushes for an outstanding landscape painting
  • The Frank Herring Easel Award: An easel presented for an outstanding work in the exhibition by Frank Herring & Sons
  • The John Purcell Paper Prize: Paper to the value of £100 awarded to a work chosen by John Purcell
  • The Matt Bruce RI Memorial Award: An award of £500 for what is considered the most outstanding use of light and colour in a watercolour
  • The Schmincke Award: A Schmincke watercolour set to an outstanding exhibitor
  • The Neil Meacher RI Watercolour Award: An award of £250 for an outstanding watercolour
  • Megan Fitzoliver Brush Award: A trophy, named The Pipe Fish, awarded for a work that most inspires a connection with the natural world
  • The James Fletcher-Watson RI Memorial Award: £500 for the best use of watercolour in the exhibition.

ARCHIVE: RI Annual Exhibition 2007-2018

The purpose of this video isn't to give you an in-depth view of all the paintings so much as to give you:
  • an idea of the overall size of the exhibition
  • a notion of how big the paintings are that get selected via the open entry
  • a view of the paintings that were selected this year
This exhibition has always been very popular with the provincial art societies whose members arrive in droves - on coaches!

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