Royal Society of Portrait Painters




The Royal Society of Portrait Painters invites artists from all over the world to submit portraits for its Annual Exhibition in 2024. Selected artists will have their work exhibited in a prestigious showcase at Mall Galleries, London, at which a number of works will sell and a number of commissions will be placed.


The total prize fund is £40,000, including The William Lock Portrait Prize (£20,000) and The Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture (£10,000).

The Society welcomes paintings, drawings and original prints including digital/ipad prints from artists over 18, from the UK and internationally.

“The Society’s Annual Exhibition is probably the largest and most significant celebration of contemporary portrait painting in Europe. The show is always selected by a jury of practising portrait painters, no critics, no journalists, no celebrities – just painters.” – Anthony Connolly, President

Submissions are NOW CLOSED… Good Luck.

We recommend that artists submit well in advance of the deadline to allow time for assistance with their application if required.

Saied Dai, ‘Charlotte’, Carles Belda Roman ‘Study for Something Never Ends’, Phoebe-Louise Stewart Carter, ‘Self Portrait in the Winter’ & Toby Wiggins, ‘Winter’s Work; Russell Woodham at rest while laying a hazel hedge in the Dorset Style’

How to Submit

All work must be submitted online. Pre-selection from online entries will take place, after which pre-selected works should be delivered to Mall Galleries, London, for final selection:

– Upload your work to our Open Exhibition Submission System (OESS) before 5pm on Monday 29 January 2024 [Note: Images must be in JPEG or PNG format and under 5MB]

– Log in to the OESS from 12 noon on Wednesday 7 February to see if your work has been pre-selected

– If pre-selected, deliver your work for final selection on Saturday 2 March, 10am to 5pm, to Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD

– Check this page from 12 noon on Tuesday 5 March to see if your work has been selected

– If unaccepted, collect your work on Thursday 7 March, 10am to 5pm

Important Dates

Submissions open: Friday 27 October 2023, 12 noon

Submissions close: Monday 29 January 2024

Notification of pre-selection: Wednesday 7 February, 12 noon

Receiving Day (if pre-selected): Saturday 2 March, 10am to 5pm

Notification of final selection: Tuesday 5 March, 12 noon

Collection of unaccepted work: Thursday 7 March, 10am to 5pm

Private View (invite only): Wednesday 8 May, 11am to 8pm, official opening at 12 noon

Exhibition opens: Thursday 9 May, 10am to 5pm daily

Late night opening, until 7pm, on Thursday 9 May and Thursday 16 May

Exhibition closes: Saturday 18 May, 5pm

Collection of unsold work: Thursday 23 May, 10am to 5pm

Conditions of Entry


  • Any artist over 18 may submit, in the UK, EU, and outside the EU.
  • The Society welcomes paintings, drawings and original prints – including digital/iPad prints. Sculpture and photography are not admissible.
  • Works should be based on a sitting or study of the human figure from life. We understand that artists may use photographs for assistance but the primary source should be from life.
  • Work must have been completed in the last three years and not been exhibited in London previously.
  • A maximum of 4 works may be submitted. A maximum of 3 works will be selected.
  • Works should not be larger than 2.4m along the longest dimension.
  • Artists accepted for exhibition will be invited to advertise portrait commissions through our Commissions service, on which a commission will be payable.

Entry Fee

  • There is a non-refundable submission fee of £20 per work for standard entries and £14 per work for artists aged 35 or under. The entry fee includes free admission to the exhibition, normally £5.


  • The Selection Committee is formed of artist members of the Society and is rotated annually.
  • Selectors’ decisions are final and we are unable to offer feedback.
  • International Artists: All international submissions will be selected ONLINE ONLY, therefore selected international artists will need to ship their work to the gallery on a date to be announced. Please note that if selected international works arrive damaged, with unacceptable framing, or not as illustrated, they may be rejected.

Presentation, Delivery & Collection

  • Frames or stretchers should be sufficiently substantial to withstand mirror plating with 12mm size 6 screws.
  • No hooks are required and there should be no projections whatsoever from the back of the works. This is to prevent damage to other works.
  • Metal frames, clip frames, and diffused picture glass are inadmissible. Frames and mounts of an unusual colour, size or design may prejudice the chance of selection.
  • Packaging from delivered works cannot be retained and must be taken away at the point of delivery. We are unable to wrap works or provide wrapping materials for any works being returned.
  • Any uncollected works may be removed from the gallery after the collection day and stored by an independent courier company at the artist’s expense.
  • If works are not collected within 12 months of the collection day, the gallery will be entitled to destroy, sell, or otherwise dispose of the works without consent, prior notification, or compensation to the artist.
  • Artists are responsible for the full costs of delivery and collection.
  • Artists sending work from abroad should use a picture carrier. Many artists use Picture Post Art as they offer a packing and delivery service for our exhibitions (we do not accept any liability for their services). Picture Post Art – Tel: 07833 450788 / Email: [email protected]


  • Although the exhibition is an excellent opportunity to sell work, works may be listed as not for sale.
  • If for sale, works must have a minimum sale price of £300 (framed prints: £180, unframed prints: £120 – buyers will not be charged for postage and packaging of unframed prints, so please ensure the price of unframed prints allows for this).
  • Unless otherwise advised, the gallery will charge a commission on the total price paid for works, including commissioned works, before, during, or as a result of the exhibition.
  • The price of works must include commission of 45%+VAT. If an artist is registered for VAT, then the VAT due on the selling price of the works should be included in the price submitted.
  • Once work has been submitted, any sale made by the gallery before or during the course of the exhibition shall take precedence and supersede one made privately. Any private sale will incur the normal commission.
  • The price provided is the selling price and is the price that the work must be sold at. This price can only be changed by prior written agreement between the gallery and the artist of the relevant work. The gallery reserves the right to query the price of works.
  • International Artists: Artists who are not resident in the UK but are resident in the EU or elsewhere are welcome to submit work. If your work is sold at the exhibition you have a responsibility to register and account for UK VAT with H.M. Revenue & Customs. Artists without a UK residence (known as ‘NETPs’ – non-established taxable persons) can find further details on ‘NETP’ status and how to register for VAT at (HM Revenue & Customs Reference: Notice 700/1, Mar 2014) under the heading ‘Should I be registered for VAT?’ Please note: the registration process can take up to 4 weeks. Please address any questions you may have to the VAT Helpline on tel. no. 0300 200 3700 or Outside UK: +44 2920 501 261.

Intellectual Property Rights

  • All works must be an original creation by the artist.
  • The copyright and all other intellectual property rights will remain with the artist. If any rights are owned by a third party, that third party will remain the owner.
  • The gallery has the right to reproduce works in connection with the exhibition.

Personal Data

  • The gallery will hold personal data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). However the gallery may provide third parties with an artist’s contact details in the course of administering exhibitions, commissions and prizes.

Liability & Indemnity

  • The gallery is not responsible for any loss of, or any damage to, works entrusted to them. All goods are at artist owner’s risk absolutely and the gallery and/or their agents exclude all liability to the maximum extent permitted by law. The galleries are used for various purposes and so artists are advised to insure their works against all risks.
  • The gallery endeavours to take good care of works sent for exhibition, but in the event of a work sent being lost, destroyed or damaged the gallery’s liability (if any) shall not exceed the value of the work as stated at the time of submission (less 45% plus VAT) or any altered price subsequently.
  • In the event of any dispute regarding loss or damage, the dispute shall be referred for final arbitration to an independent expert valuer to be chosen by agreement between the parties, provided that the arbitrator’s award shall not exceed the gallery’s maximum liability as above.
  • Artists shall indemnify and keep indemnified the gallery against any actions between the artist and any third party.

Art Couriers

If you are unable to deliver or collect your work in person, the following art couriers may be able to do so on your behalf:

Art Moves of Chelsea (London, Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Bristol) – [email protected] / 020 7352 7492

Picture Post Art (Scotland, the North of England and Birmingham) – [email protected] / 07833 450788

For a full list of Art Couriers, click here.

Prizes & Awards (subject to final confirmation)

The William Lock Portrait Prize: £20,000 for the most timeless portrait with a real feeling for paint and its aesthetic potential.

The Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture: £10,000 plus the Society’s Gold Medal awarded for the most distinguished portrait in the Society’s annual exhibition.

The de Laszlo Foundation Award: £3,000 for the most outstanding portrait by an artist aged 35 years or under, plus four Highly Commended awards of £500 each.

The RP Prize for the Best Small Portrait: A prize of £2,000 for the best small portrait in the exhibition, measuring not more than 38 x 30.5 cm (15 x 12 inches) unframed.

The Raw Umber Studios Prize: Raw Umber Studios believes that the most exciting contemporary portraiture lies at the intersection of technical excellence and creative expression. Their annual prize, inaugurated in 2023, encourages and rewards such work. Value £2,000.

The Smallwood Architects Prize for Contextual Portraiture: £1,000 for a portrait in which architectural or interior features play an important part.

Mark Sepple, Install shot, 2023 exhibition

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