Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Call for Entries: Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition 2021

You have six weeks left to submit artwork for the Annual Exhibition in 2021 of the Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA. The deadline for entries is 9th July 2021.

The RSMA wants to see submissions of art inspired by the sea and marine environment for its annual exhibition which opens on 30 September 2021 at the Mall Galleries in London.

The RSMA seeks submissions of art inspired by the sea and marine environment, including harbours and shorelines, traditional craft and contemporary shipping, creeks, beaches, wildlife - in short anything that involves tidal water.
RSMA Annual Exhibition 2020 - East Gallery

Three good reasons to enter

The Annual Exhibition by the Royal Society of Marine Artists
  1. ALWAYS attracts a lot of people interested in buying marine artwork - and people who like boats a lot often have funds to spare to buy artwork! This exhibition has typically had good sales in the past.
  2. ALWAYS has a LOT of decent prizes
  3. Prizes awarded in the past have been dominated by strong work by non-members - which is always good to see for those who submit work via the open entry. 

However, You need to have and demonstrate a genuine interest in marine art to do well. Expert and enthusiastic customers also mean those who can spot errors in artwork painted by those new to the subject. I well remember being taken round the exhibition once by somebody who pointed out all the "made-up" paintings.

This was my Review: Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition 2020 - which also shows you the range, type and quality of artwork on display.

Call for Entries

This is an OPEN EXHIBITION which tends to display paintings, drawings, sculpture and prints.

Below you can find
  • a summary of how to enter the next annual exhibition.
  • a list of prizes
  • an archive of posts about past exhibitions - which contain a lot of images of the type of artwork that gets selected for exhibition.

What sort of artwork can you submit?

SUBJECT: The RSMA seeks submissions of art inspired by the sea and marine environment. 
It makes two statements about the scope
The RSMA seeks submissions of painting and sculpture that involve the sea and the marine environment, including harbours and shorelines, traditional craft and contemporary shipping, creeks, beaches, wildlife - in short anything that involves tidal water. (Mall Galleries - Call for Entries)
Subject matter must be essentially marine in nature, relating in some way to tidal waters of the world; topographical, historical, still life, and figure painting are all welcomed. Works relating to non-tidal rivers, inland lakes and waterways etc are not permissible.(RSMA website - Exhibition Page AND OESS website)
RSMA Annual Exhibition 2020: West Gallery

RSMA Annual Exhibition 2020: West Gallery


MEDIA & SIZE & NUMBER: In terms of media and size and number of works:

  • Acceptable media: 
    • Oil, acrylic, watercolour, original prints of any media, mixed media, drawings, pastels, or sculpture. 
    • Fine art prints must be from a limited edition not exceeding fifty.
  • All paintings should be completely DRY at the time of delivery / handling (that's code for "they won't get hung or even make it out of the basement if they are not")
  • Size constraint: artwork must not be larger than 2.4m along longest dimension
  • Maximum number of works: 6 (submitted); 4 (hung) i.e. if you enter more than 4 you'll have a lot of journeys for certain!

RSMA Annual Exhibition 2020: North Gallery

Who can submit work?

Entry is open to both International and British artists over 18 years of age.

Both members of the RSMA and those submitting via the open entry are invited to submit artwork for consideration.

Money: Prices, fees and commission

Submission fee:
  • Submission fees are non-refundable.
  • £20 per work (or £12 per work for artists aged 35 or under)
  • This includes Free Admission to the exhibition (normally £5).
Selling Price / VAT:
  • All work must be for sale.
    • Minimum price for non-prints: £300
    • Minimum price for prints - unframed £120, framed £200.
  • Not registered for VAT: All prices must include commission of 45% + VAT @20% (i.e. 54% is deducted from from wall price before the balance is passed to the artist)
  • Registered for VAT: All prices must include VAT on the total selling price including the commission.
  • International Artists (i.e. not domiciled in the UK): MUST register for VAT before they submit an entry if they want to exhibit their work as they must account to H.M. Revenue & Customs for UK VAT received if the work is sold. Note: the registration process can take up to 4 weeks - so any international artists reading this you're too late for this year unless already registered.
  • Sculpture only: where applicable, foundry fees are deducted before commission is calculated
Pricing example: a £500 price if sold generates £230 for the artist 
  • AFTER (1) commission of £225 (2) VAT on commission of £45 (3) entry fee of £20
  • BEFORE (4) travelling/courier costs and (5) £20 entry fee are netted off.


I have written endlessly about the need for ALL artists to price their work realistically for those who buy from the Mall Galleries - notihsanding these people vary by exhibition and art society.

Tomorrow I'll be posting a profile of the sale prices achieved in last year's show. Anybody thinking seriously about entering this exhibition should read it.

RSMA Annual Exhibition 2020: North Gallery

How to submit an entry

  • Register to enter - if not previously registered 
  • Stage 1 Submission: ALL work must be submitted online (digital images only) 
    • Upload images of work at by 12 noon on Friday 9th July 2021.
    • Images must be in JPEG format and under 5MB

[NOTE: If you need help preparing digital images see my two new pages:

Selection Process has 3 stages:
  • Stage 1: Pre-selection from online entries - notification available Friday 16th July 2021.
  • Stage 2 - Receiving Day for pre-selected works: Artists who pass Stage 1 are invited to deliver their artwork to The Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD on Saturday 14th August, 10am to 5pm. If you live outside London or cannot deliver there are regional collections. See this link for information on regional handing-in points. Please contact the companies for cost, collection times etc.
  • Stage 3: Final Selection of artwork for exhibition in front of a selection panel of RSMA members. Results will be announced online on at 12 noon on Tuesday 17th August 2021.
  • Collection of unaccepted work (from pre-selection): Thursday 19th August, 10am to 5pm. Collection is only on this day. 
You have to check the Mall Galleries website to see if you work got pre-selected and then selected for the exhibition. 

You can find full details of:


This year's RSMA Annual Exhibition - assuming all is well - will open to the public between 30th September (10am to 7pm) and 10th October (1pm) at the Mall Galleries.
The Private View - Invitation only will be on Wednesday 29th September, 12pm to 8pm, Opening and Awards at 4.30pm.
Starting from Friday 1st October normal opening times 10am until 5pm with another late night opening on Thursday 7th October until 7pm. 
Note: The gallery is closed all day on Sunday 3rd October for the London Marathon.  
Collection of unsold work: Thursday 14th October, 10am to 5pm. Note that collection is ONLY on this day.  
Prizewinners last year - it's not only boats which win prizes!

Prizes & Awards 

The Society's Annual Exhibition offers several prizes and awards

You can see which artists and artworks won awards last year in my post last October - Review: 73rd Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Marine Artists

The Awards presentation this year will be on Wednesday 29th September - with presentation starting at 4.30pm

Cash Prizes

  • The Baltic Exchange Award (£2000) - For an outstanding work related to the maritime industry, selected by the Society’s President and the Chairman of the Baltic Exchange. Including works related to trade (ports, cargo vessels, etc), ship building, safety at sea / the crew, the RNLI or NCI. The Baltic is an historic membership organisation at the heart of the international shipping industry, providing services relied upon by shipping markets worldwide.
  • The Murray's Commercial Fishing Award (£500) For a work in any medium depicting commercial fishing
  • The Charles Pears Award (£500) - For an outstanding work, in any medium, by a non-member. To be judged by the RSMA Selection Committee.
  • The Kenneth Denton Award (£500) - For a work on the theme 'The Sea in all its Moods'. Made possible by the generosity of long-standing member Kenneth Denton.
  • The RSMA Award for the Best Small Painting (£300) - For a work in any medium measuring no more than 30cms (12") along its longest length (excluding frame). Made possible by the generosity of a member.
  • The RSMA New Generation Award (£250 and a dedicated page in the catalogue featuring the winning work and a short biography) - Open to all artists aged 35 or under at the close of submissions.
  • The Topbond Marine Award (£250) - For works depicting marine engineering or construction activities in harbours, estuaries or marine waters within the UK.

Publicity / Publication Awards

  • The Artist Magazine Award (Feature article in The Artist magazine) - For the most deserving work, as judged by the Magazine. The winner will be interviewed for a feature in The Artist magazine, print and digital edition.

Media Awards

  • The Winsor and Newton Oil Prize ( £250 worth of Winsor & Newton materials to be chosen by the winner) - For a notable oil painting.


  • The Classic Boat Prize - The winner will take home a handsome, hand-crafted sculpture by Astins Sailing Sculptures, given for the most atmospheric depiction of a classic boat.

I made this point last year and it's worth making again.

Well done to the RSMA for having a PROPER Page on their website for links to their sponsors - with external links to their websites Facebook Page and Twitter account! I'm always bemused by art societies who bemoan the fact they struggle to get sponsors and then fail to give them a proper 'payback' via their website and a profile in terms of announcements re prizes. Lots of other art societies would do well to follow the lead of the RSMA.

Archive of posts about past annual exhibitions

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