Our Aims are ‘To encourage the appreciation, study and practice of the art of portraiture’

Sam Dalby demonstrates portrait painting

Ania Hobson at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters' Private View 2018

Ania Hobson at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters’ Private View 2018

The Royal Society of Portrait Painters contains a broad collection of stylistic and intellectual approaches that continue to make a significant contribution to the ongoing tradition of portraiture in Britain today.  The Society vigorously looks to uphold the values and practices of its long and distinguished history, but at the same time, it seeks to explore and develop new artistic models and perspectives in this endlessly fascinating and relevant discipline.

ACTIVITIES

PATRONS, OFFICERS & FRIENDS

PATRON

H.M. The Queen

PRESIDENT

Richard Foster

VICE PRESIDENT

Simon Davis

HONORARY TREASURER

Andrew James

HONORARY SECRETARY

Anthony Connolly

HONORARY ARCHIVIST

Alastair Adams

ADVISORY BOARD

Anne Beckwith-Smith LVO
Dame Elizabeth Esteve-Coll DBE
Damon de Laszlo
The Hon. Sandra de Laszlo
Lord Fellowes
Anupam Ganguli
Sir Christopher Ondaatje OC CBE
Mark Stephens CBE
Daphne J Todd OBE PPRP NEAC HON HON SWA
Philip Mould

COUNCIL

Richard Foster (President)
Simon Davis (Vice President)
Andrew James (Treasurer)
Anthony Connolly (Secretary)
Paul Brason
Emma Hopkins
Emma Wesley
Sam Dalby
Brendan Kelly
Mark Roscoe

HANGING COMMITTEE

Anthony Connolly
Mark Roscoe
Paul Brason
Sam Dalby
Keith Breeden
Simon Davis

MALL GALLERIES

COMMISSIONS CONSULTANTS

Annabel Elton
Anna Bromwich

EXHIBITIONS OFFICER

Alistair Redgrift

GALLERY MANAGER

Amy Jobling

PR OFFICER

Liberty Rowley

OUR HISTORY

Detail of Lord Elphinstone by Philip de Laszlo Member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters

Detail of Lord Elphinstone by Philip de Laszlo Member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters

The Royal Society of Portrait Painters was founded in 1891 by 24 artists who were dissatisfied with the selection policies of the Royal Academy for its annual exhibition in London.

Jeff Stultiens showing his portrait of The Queen at an early stage

Jeff Stultiens with his portrait of The Queen at an early stage

They formed themselves into a new body concerned solely with portrait painting, the ‘Society of Portrait Painters’. The Society was formed of members elected on the basis of the quality of their work.

The first exhibition of the Society was held in 1891. The catalogue of that exhibition shows that its committee then consisted of Archibald Stuart-Wortley (Chairman), Hon. John Collier, Arthur Hacker, G. P. Jacomb-Hood, S.J. Solomon, James Jebusa Shannon and Hubert Vos. The other members listed were Percy Bigland, C. A. Furse, Glazebrook, John McLure Hamilton, Heywood Hardy, Hubert von Herkomer, Henry J. Hudson, Louise Jopling, T. B. Kennington, W. Llewellyn, W. M. Loudan, Arthur Melville, Anna Lea Merritt, F. M. Skipworth, Mrs Annie Swynnerton, W. R. Symonds, Mary Waller, Edwin A. Ward, Leslie Ward (better known as “Spy”), and T. Blake Wirgman.

Other early members included Sir John Everett Millais, George Frederick Watts, John Singer Sargent, Augustus John and James McNeill Whistler. Women were eligible for membership from the start.

At the Coronation Exhibition of 1911, which marked its 20th anniversary, it was announced that King George V had conferred on the Society the status of a Royal Society, and it has been known as the Royal Society of Portrait Painters since then.

Download a pdf Royal Society of Portrait Painters Members since 1891

More about British portraiture an article by Philip Mould