Tuesday, November 21, 2023

NEW! Herbert Smith Freehills Portrait Award 2024 REPLACES BP Portrait Award

Periodically people ask me about what's happening now the BP Portrait Award is no more. Now I can tell you - and this is what this post is about.

The National Portrait Gallery recently announced the Herbert Smith Freehills Portrait Award 2024.

Key Essentials

The name

To all intents and purposes this is the John Player (1980-1989) / BP Portrait Award (1990-2020) with a new sponsor and a new name.

My first reaction was "what a mouthful!". I wonder how long before it's known as the HSF Portrait Award? Or maybe just The Portrait Award (sponsored by.....)

The rule with names is 
  • If they are too long they don't get used. 
  • If they are very short and roll off the tongue easily they're always used and may become the way the whatever becomes known.

My second that it's essentially the BP - but now sponsored by BP's by ​​international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills. (see National Portrait Gallery criticised over choice of sponsor to replace BP). 

The one thing this competition did not need is the sort of long complicated name much loved by law firms!

However, and more importantly, it's worth noting that Herbert Smith Freehills is undertaking the role of re-opening sponsor after the National Portrait Gallery re-opened its doors after completing a three-year renovation programme. So I'm guessing getting the title for The Portrait Award is maybe part of a bigger deal.....

The Portrait Award

Anyway, enough of that. 

The Portrait Award is back and here's the key details followed tomorrow by a more detailed post tomorrow. (i.e. anybody who thinks I'm writing that name out in full every time has got another think coming!)

So the key essentials are as follows

  • The Herbert Smith Freehills Portrait Award Prizes:
    • First Prize: £35,000
    • Second Prize: £12,000 
    • Third Prize: £10,000 
    • Young Artist Award: £9,000 
  • Deadline for submissions: 16th January 2024
  • Who can apply? 
    • Artists from all over the world 
    • who MUST must be aged 18 years or over as of 1 January 2023.
    • Artists who are not eligible are employees of the National Portrait Gallery, the sponsor, their agents and previous first prize-winners of the Portrait Award since 1980.
  • What can you enter? One portrait only 
    • which was completed between 1 January 2020 – 16 January 2024 (i.e. while there was no competition)
    • which has never been submitted before
    • The work entered must be predominantly painted in oil, tempera or acrylic and must be on a stretcher or board, preferably framed and unglazed. No watercolours, works on paper or pastels will be considered.
  • What does it cost? £35 per entry
  • How is work selected?
    • A first round of selection will choose a longlist from digital entries
    • Artists are then invited to send the actual portrait to London for a second round of judging
  • The Portrait Award Exhibition opens next summer - a little later than usual - 11 July - 27 October 2024
    • Those shortlisted for prizes must attend the Awards Ceremony on the evening of Tuesday 9 July 2024
    • the winning portrait will be displayed in the NPG for 6 months
  • DOWNLOAD The Rules of the Competition
  • Tomorrow's blog post - in which I will provide more info and tips gleaned from reporting on this portrait award for over 15 years - since 2007! I've talked to lots of the artists and analysed a lot of the exhibitions.

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