Friday, June 26, 2020

Call for Entries: Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Exhibition 2020

Entries from non-members are now welcome for The Natural Eye 2020 the 57th annual OPEN exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists

This is
an EXCELLENT exhibition which I very much recommend to those interested in wildlife art Review: 2019 Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists
paintings, drawings and sculpture from last year's exhibition

All images in this blog post are from the Annual Exhibition held in 2019.

You can see my much larger versions of photos of last year's exhibition in my album SWLA: The Natural Eye 2019 on my Facebook Page. You can also see images from previous exhibitions in all review blog posts listed at the end.

As I've previously commented
(the) annual exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists at the Mall Galleries is emphatically not an exhibition of photorealistic artwork. Review: Society of Wildlife Artists 55th Annual Exhibition

Call for Entries: 57th annual exhibition of SWLA

Three points to bear in mind at all times if 
  • you are thinking about or interested in submitting an entry 
  • whether for the first time OR you have submitted before but failed to get selected
  • experience of an animal can only have been gained from seeing it "for real" in the wild.
The (Selection) Committee is seeking work that evokes the spirit of the natural world and which reveals a personal experience or true understanding of the subject. Call for Entries
The (Selection) Committee is particularly keen to encourage all artists with fresh visions to submit work to the Annual Exhibition that shows imagination, artistic ability, originality and genuine creativity. Submissions - Guidance from the Selection Committee
The SWLA call for entries is administered by the Federation of British Artists at the Mall Galleries and you can find more information below and on their website

For full terms and conditions, click here.

Prizes & Awards (subject to final confirmation)

There are many prizes and awards available to win, including:
  • The Terravesta Prize: £2,000 for the best work exhibited
  • Birdwatch Artist of the Year Award: A prize of Swarovski equipment
  • RSPB Award: £500
  • Larson-Juhl Award: To celebrate drawing or dry media, draughtsmanship and capturing ideas as an art form. £500 worth of Larson-Juhl materials to the winner and a feature in their '4Walls' magazine (Larson-Juhl was formerly know as Arcadia)
  • Birdscapes Gallery 'Conservation through Art' Award: £700 split between the artist and a conservation charity of their choice
  • Dry Red Press Award: The winning work reproduced as a greetings card

Eligible artists

Any artist over 18 may submit.

Eligible artwork

The artwork MUST be of wildlife.

Work should be based on representing the world’s wildlife. 
Wildlife includes any non-domestic animal such as birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, crustaceans and insects. 
In summary, the SWLA Selection Committee is looking for:
  • two and three dimensional artwork inspired by the natural world
  • work that displays a deep knowledge and understanding of the subject matter, based on ‘in the field’ observation
  • work that reflects a personal, original, and creative response
  • work that displays a high level of technical skill
  • work that showcases interesting approaches and emerging new talent
see also my previous post about The Natural Eye - the sort of wildlife art that gets selected

Works likely to be rejected include:

  • Works depicting domestic animals or purely botanical subjects are not permissible.
  • Works depicting wildlife divorced from its environment or without place, setting or context are rejected in many cases.
  • Biological or scientific illustrations are in most cases not permissible.
see further advisory detail and guidance re submissions

I'd go so far as to say if your artwork "looks like" you're somebody who likes working from (other people's) photographs in a studio and you have never ever seen and studied the animal in the wild it's unlikely that your artwork will be selected.

If you've not submitted before the best thing to do is

  • visit the show first.
The next best thing is to REVIEW
  • the online catalogues - which includes photos of members' artwork
  • my blog posts reviewing past exhibitions (see end) which provide LOTS of images of artwork selected for the show from the open entry as well as artwork by members

Number and size of artwork

  • Maximum of six works submitted. Maximum of six works selected
  • Works should not be larger than 2.4m along the longest dimension.


  • All work must be for sale.
  • The price of works must include commission of 45%+VAT
  • Where foundry fees apply, these will be deducted before commission is calculated
  • Minimum price: £200 (except for prints: framed £120, unframed £95).

Ineligible work

Work will not be accepted IF it meets one or more of the following criteria
  • NOT for sale
  • NOT completely dry
  • NOT completed within the last three years
  • larger than 2.4m along the longest dimension
  • previously exhibited in London
  • a botanical subject
  • portrayal of pets and/or domestic animals,
  • decorative wares (such as vessels or tiles),
  • work in metal frames, poorly framed or badly presented.
  • Photographic reproductions or mechanical prints, giclĂ©e prints of original artwork etc., (i.e. DIGITAL COPIES which are often promoted as ‘limited edition prints’ are NOT acceptable) - but also see below re eligible media.

Eligible media

The SWLA is one of the most flexible art societies that I know when it comes to accepting original artwork created from non-conventional or innovative media.

In addition to the usual art media of painting, sculpture and original prints (if prints, please detail edition and how many are available) the SWLA is keen to embrace new and innovative media.

SWLA will accept computer-generated images as ‘original prints’ but ONLY if the digital print only exists as an original print and was created by the artist to be realised specifically as a print.

How to submit an entry

The advice below comes from the Guidance from the Selection Committee about Submissions.

Advice on photographing

It is very difficult to assess work from poor photographs. When submitting work for pre-selection, please ensure that the photographs are accurate and show the work at its best. It is worth noting that sometimes work is let down by very poor photography including reflections on the glass, out of focus images or images that are angled from being propped against a wall when photographed. The lack of care reflects badly on the artist and does not help the task of selecting work. Sculptors in particular should use plain backgrounds and make the most of the option to add more views of the submission.
I would add that this is a very popular exhibition and it makes life easier for selectors - in terms of ruling your entry out of the running if you do NOT take sufficient care and attention with your digital image.

PARTICULARLY THIS YEAR - as ALL the selection will for the 2020 Annual Exhibition will be done from digital images(see the Call for Entries page)
To make the process of submitting and selecting work simpler and safer, the Society will select works for exhibition from online only this year. 
Selectors will make an assessment of each work based on the digital images supplied, following which selected artists will be asked to deliver their accepted works to Mall Galleries for exhibition.

Advice on framing

Artists are encouraged to choose simple plain frames and mounts that will suit the exhibition and not detract from the work itself or interfere with adjacent works when exhibited in the galleries.

Cost of entry

Submission fee: £18 per work (£12 per work for artists aged 35 or under).


  • 12 noon on Friday 4th September 2020: Deadline for digital entries: Upload images of work (in JPEG format / under 5MB) at
  • Friday 18th September, from 12 noon: Check to see if your work has been pre-selected
  • RECEIVING DAYS: Saturday 17th October and Sunday 18th October, 10am to 5pm: Deliver your work to Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD
  • Thursday 29th October, 10am - 5pm: Exhibition opens
  • Sunday 8th November, 1pm: Exhibition closes
  • Thursday 12 and Friday 13 November, 10am to 5pm: Collect unsold work


INTERNATIONAL Artists, who are NOT resident in the UK but are resident in the EU or elsewhere in the world are welcome to submit work. However you MUST read and make a careful note of the instructions on the website. You MUST register for VAT at least four weeks in advance of the exhibition (although it may take longer this year because of the Pandemic)
International Entrants

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. Please address any questions you may have to the VAT Helpline on tel. no. 0300 200 3700 or Outside UK: +44 2920 501 261.

Artists sending work from abroad should use a picture carrier. Many artists use Picture Post Art as they offer a packing and delivery service for our exhibitions (we do not accept any liability for their services). Picture Post Art - Tel: 0044 (0)1302 711011 / Mobile: 07833 450788 / Email:


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