Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Pastel Society 122nd Annual Exhibition 2021 - Call for Entries

If you work in pastels, oil pastels, charcoal, pencil, conte, sanguine, or any other dry media you can submit your artwork to the Pastel Society's Annual Exhibition next year.

  • The 122nd Annual Exhibition of the Pastel Society will be held between Wednesday 27th January - Saturday 13th February 2021 at the Mall Galleries.
  • The Call for Entries has been published and is summarised below.
  • The DEADLINE for entries - for a digital image, application form and fee - is 12 noon Friday 4th December.
The Pastel Society seeks the best in contemporary dry media, combining traditional skills with creative originality for their Annual Exhibition.
Below you can find my version of the Call for Entries - with additional comments which those who have not entered before may find useful.

Some of those who have entered before and been unsuccessful might also like to have a read.


The Society was founded in 1898, and the first exhibition held in the Royal Institute in Piccadilly. Founder members and early exhibitors included Brangwyn, Degas, Rodin, Rothenstein, Whistler and G.F. Watts. There are currently over fifty-five Members who are professional artists living and working in this country and overseas. Membership is granted through a strict assessment of technical skill, originality, innovation and enthusiasm.


Submission: key dates and points to note



NEW FOR 2021: ALL artworks must be submitted online.
To make the process of submitting and selecting work simpler and safer, the Society will select works for exhibition from online only this year.
Which means the quality of your digital image is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL this year.
Below is a summary of the stages of entry.


This is an OPEN exhibition and is not limited to work by members. This exhibition often has works exhibited by people who live outside the UK.

  • Any artist over 18 may submit.
  • There is no restriction of where you live. It's open to artists in the UK, EU, and outside the EU 

Stage 1 (a) - Eligible work

  • Acceptable media: Pastels, oil pastels, charcoal, pencil, conte, sanguine, or any dry media.
  • Work must have been completed during the twelve months prior to the exhibition and not have been exhibited elsewhere.
  • Works should not be larger than 2.4m along the longest dimension.
  • All work must be for sale. Minimum price: £300.
  • Submission fee is £18 per work (£12 per work for artists aged 35 or under). This includes Free Admission to the exhibition (normally £4).
NOTE: Works that are poorly presented or differ significantly from the photograph entered will not be exhibited.

Stage 1 (b) - Digital submission

  • Submission opened: Monday 5 October 2020, 12 noon
  • Submission DEADLINE: You must complete the registration form, pay your fee and upload your digital image no later than Friday 4 December 2020, 12 noon
  • CHECK to see if your work has been selected by logging on to http://mallgalleries.oess.uk from 12 noon on Friday 18 December 2020, 12 noon

Stage 1 (c)  - Details of what to submit

  • Images must be in JPEG format and under 5MB
  • Maximum of 6 works must be  submitted online at https://mallgalleries.oess1.uk/ BUT.....
  • Maximum of four works selected. (Note that the average number of MEMBERS' works exhibited was just over 3 in 2018.)
  • The average number of paintings per non-member artist selected is less than two and nearer 1 (eg 1.3 in 2018; 1.4 in 2017)
    • those having more than one work selected are candidates for members
    • serious candidates typically showed 2-3 works
    • hence in reality the majority of exhibiting non-members only have 1 artwork selected.
  • the cost of your submission therefore depends on
    • how good your work is;
    • 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
    • how much you want to become a member of this society

Stage 2: Delivery of Artwork - if selected

    • You must now get your work framed prior to delivery to Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD
      • Works should be delivered unwrapped with forms and labels (i.e. packaging cannot be accepted or stored)
      • Artists sending work from abroad should use a picture carrier.
    • RECEIVING DAY: Deliver your work on Saturday 16 January and Sunday 17 January 2021, 10am to 5pm (one extra day this year!)

    Stage 3:  EXHIBITION

    • Exhibition open: Wednesday 27 January 2021, 11am to 5pm (7pm on Thursdays)
    • Exhibition closes: Saturday 13 February 2021, 5pm

    Stage 4: Post exhibition - if selected

    • COLLECT any unsold work: Thursday 18 February & Friday 19 February 2021 10am to 5pm (an improvement on last year when it was just the Thursday - which is not ideal for people not living in London!)

    Delivery & Collection


    Packaging from delivered works cannot be retained by the Gallery.
    • all packaging must be taken away at the point of delivery. 
    • The Gallery also does NOT wrap works or provide wrapping materials for any works being returned. 
    • Any work uncollected on the specified collection date/s will be stored at a separate location and the artist will be charged a storage fee.
    Artists sending work from abroad should use a picture carrier. See my website which provides details of ​UK Art Movers & Couriers& Fine Art Transport Services


    Selection / Feedback


    The Selection Committee is formed of artist members of the Society and is rotated annually.  

    There's no feedback for those not selected - but I find visiting the exhibition provides a LOT of information for the aspiring pastel artist about the kind of pastel artwork that does get selected.



    FINAL TIPS for potential entrants


    Read the FULL terms and conditions for entry on the Mall Galleries website carefully

    Application process
    • 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.
    Pricing
    • Inexperienced artists who are ignorant of market prices often overprice. 
    • Affordable art is more likely to sell:
      • Most non-members' paintings sell for less than £1,000 
      • Smaller works priced at less than £500 sell more easily (i.e. impulse buy)
    • Few non-oil paintings sell for more than £3,000 at the Mall Galleries - UNLESS you already 
    • have a strong following and/or create excellent large pastels
    • All artwork prices stated on the entry form must include commission of 45% plus VAT i.e. 
      • for every sale of an artwork priced at £500 you will get £230 after deduction of
        • 45% commission (£225) 
        • plus VAT on the commission @20% (£45) 
        • TOTAL Gallery Deductions = £270. 
      • From your £230 you must also pay 
        • the entry fee of £18 giving you a net profit of £212 for.....
        • the cost of art materials for the artwork; frame; carriage/courier; income tax; NI contribution etc. 
      • you can find my spreadsheet for working out 
    Non UK artist
    • If you live outside the UK and your work is sold at the exhibition you have a LEGAL responsibility to register and account for UK VAT with H.M. Revenue & Customs at www.hmrc.gov.uk (HM Revenue & Customs Reference: Notice 700/1)
    • 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!
      • if you use a picture carrier - make sure framed work can be submitted UNWRAPPED.


    More posts about the Pastel Society


    You can review previous posts about Pastel Society exhibitions - from my archives. As you can see I've done reviewed this exhibition every year since 2006!

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