Thursday, June 01, 2023

Call for Entries: Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition 2023

This is about the Call for Entries for the Annual Exhibition 2023 of the Royal Society of Marine ArtistsIt covers:

  • Exhibition Dates and Prizes
  • Who can enter
  • What you can enter
  • How to enter
The deadline for digital entries only is 12 noon on Friday 28 July.

One of the walls in the RSMA Annual Exhibition in 2022
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.

The Exhibition and Prizes on Offer

The RSMA Annual Exhibition 2023 - at the Mall Galleries

The Society's annual exhibition is widely recognised as a showcase for the best in contemporary marine art, with selected work from the open entry hung alongside the work of RSMA members.
The exhibition will be 
  • open to the public between 21st - 30th September 2023 
  • at the Mall Galleries in London.
There is an invitation only Private View on 20th September. 

If you want to know what it will look like, take a look at some of my reviews of previous exhibitions listed at the bottom of this blog post.

Prizes and Awards

This is an exhibition which generates a decent level of sponsorship of various awards. Notably, unlike most of the art societies exhibiting at the Mall Galleries, the prizes and awards in this annual exhibition are predominantly monetary in nature - with over £9,000 in cash awards and over £350 value in art materials - plus two publication awards

I've categorised them below. You can see what won last year in my post  Royal Society of Marine Artists - Prizes and Awards 2022

Monetary Awards

  • BAE Systems Award - Value £5,000: For the best work capturing the story of British Shipbuilding - People, Ships and Shipyards. The work will capture some of the rich history in British shipbuilding through the ages and looking into the future with particular focus on people, skilled crafts, trades, and emerging technologies. The work will embody the characters and passion of the British shipbuilding community and bring to life the essence of this historic British industry. 
  • Baltic Exchange Award - Value £2,000: 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. Value £2,000.
  • The Charles Pears Award - Value £500: For an outstanding work, in any medium, by a non-member. Presented by the RSMA in memory of Charles Pears, founding member and first President. Value £500.
  • The Kenneth Denton Award - Value £500: Made possible by the generosity of long-standing member Kenneth Denton. Value £500.
  • The Murray's Commercial Fishing Award - First Prize £500, Second Prize £100.: Two prizes for works in any medium depicting commercial fishing. 
  • The RSMA Award for the Best Small Painting - Value £300: For a work in any medium measuring no more than 30 cm along the longest dimension (excluding frame). Made possible by the generosity of a Life Member.
  • The RSMA New Generation Award - Value £250: Awarded by the Society and open to all artists aged 35 or under at the time of submission.
  • The Topbond Marine Award - Value £250: For works depicting marine engineering or construction activities in harbours, estuaries or marine waters within the UK.
  • The Sea Pictures Gallery Award: A work of distinction in any medium. Value £250.

Prizes of Art Materials 

  • The Winsor & Newton Oil Prize: £250 worth of Winsor & Newton art materials for a notable oil painting.
  • NEW Pegasus Art Prize: £100 worth of art materials in a gift voucher, for a notable work in any medium.

Publication Awards

  • The Artist Magazine Award: The winner will be interviewed for a feature in The Artist magazine.
  • The Classic Boat Award: A year’s subscription to Classic Boat and profile feature of the winner in Classic Boat Magazine.
RSMA 2022 Annual Exhibition - part of the West Gallery

What you can enter

This open exhibitions invites submissions of subject matter which MUST be essentially marine in nature i.e. involved with TIDAL water. This includes:
  • harbours and shorelines,
  • traditional craft and contemporary shipping,
  • creeks and beaches,
  • wildlife and marine workers
  • in short anything that involves tidal water.
Paintings of non-tidal rivers, inland lakes and waterways etc are NOT permissible.

Acceptable media includes: Oil, acrylic, watercolour, original prints of any media, mixed media, drawings, pastels, or sculpture.

In reality, most are paintings with some drawings and sculpture and few prints.

In addition:
  • Maximum of six works submitted, maximum of four works selected.
  • Works should be no larger than 2.4m along the longest dimension.
  • All work must be for sale. The price of works must include commission of 45%+VAT (please note that where foundry fees apply, foundry costs will be deducted before commission is calculated).
The Minimum Price for artwork in the exhibition has been raised to £600.
(Personally - within the current economic climate - I think this is a HUGE mistake - despite the fact that this is an exhibition which always sells well. That benchmark eliminates all those who are happy buying smaller works under £500 - which can be very significant as my recent posts about pricing metrics have demonstrated given this is a major psychological hurdle price barrier. I very much doubt it will generate more income and it is very likely to generate less.
  • In 2021, the vast majority of sales (80-85%?) are artworks were priced at less than £1,000.
  • There were a LOT of buyers for small artwork priced at less than £500.
What happens to the small works wall?

The minimum price for prints has also increased
  • framed £325, 
  • unframed £200 (buyers are not charged for postage and packaging of unframed prints, and the price of unframed prints must allow for this).

Who can enter

Any artist over 18 may submit - and there is no geographic limitation so this exhibition is open to international entries - although all artists need to be mindful of the rules on import and VAT (see the full terms and conditions)

I guess marine art really only attracts a body of artists wanting to create an art society when the country concerned has an extensive coastline.  I discovered while doing my homework for this post that there are four other leading art societies of marine artists - which are the

  • most exhibit works by members and don't have an open entry annual exhibition.
  • ost don't have an online exhibition as well as an exhibition in an art gallery
In this respect, the RSMA leads the way as:
  • the OLDEST marine art society
  • the BIGGEST marine art society - in terms of members
  • the ONLY marine art society with an online exhibition which opens before and continues after the gallery exhibition.

How the entry process and selection works

You can find full details of:

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 28th July 2023.
  • Images must be in JPEG format and under 5MB
  • Submission Fees are £20 per artwork ( £14 per work for artists aged 35 or under)
[NOTE: If you need help preparing digital images see my pages on: How to photograph art - for artists and How to scan artwork]


The Selection Committee is formed of artist members of the Society and is rotated annually. Selectors' decisions are final and the RSMA are unable to offer feedback.

A single-stage virtual judging of all submitted works will take place, after which selected works should be delivered to Mall Galleries, London, for inclusion in the exhibition:

The Selection Process has just 2 stages:
  • Stage 1: Pre-selection from digital online entries - notification of the outcome available 12 noon on Friday 11 August 2023
  • Stage 2 - Receiving Day for selected artworks: Artists must deliver their artwork to The Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD on Saturday 9th September, 10am to 5pm. If you live outside London or cannot deliver there are regional collections. See this link for information on couriers who deliver to the Galleries. Please contact the companies for cost, collection times etc.
Collection of unsold work: Thursday 5 October, 10am to 5pm

Archive of posts about past annual exhibitions

I've been reviewing these exhibitions since 2007 and each review below contains comments about the hang, some of the paintings and images of what some of the walls and artwork looked like

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