200th Anniversary Exhibition of the Royal Society of British Artists


2023 marks the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Society of British ArtistsYou have just over a month left to organise a submission to their Exhibition in 2023. 

 This is a very special call for entries for a very special year.

President Mick Davies alongside a portrait of JM Whistler
– a previous President of the RBA.

What’s different about this RBA Exhibition

RBA have decided to 

  • hang 200 artworks from artists who are NOT members of the
    – which is a very generous gesture!
  • reproduce the artwork hung in this important exhibition in a special catalogue.

2023 Marks the 200th Anniversary of the Royal Society of British Artists.
To celebrate this momentous milestone, we will be including 200 artworks
by invited non-member artists in our annual exhibition.

The RBA accepts 

  • all types of subject matter for artwork 
  • in various media – paintings, drawings, fine art prints, sculpture, ceramics

This post is about 

their Call for Entries for 2023

their exhibition in March 2023 at the Mall Galleries


  • an extensive range of cash prizes and other awards
  • other reasons to enter

Call for Entries

Any artist over 18 may submit artwork. 

Most are British but international artists can also submit their artwork. 

If submitting artwork from another country, you need to understand how to get your artwork through Customs and what else you need to do. You should:

What can you submit?

The Society welcomes works in any medium including painting, drawings, sculpture and original fine art prints.

  • Acceptable media: Any medium including sculpture and original prints.
  • Age of artwork: no requirement
  • No. of artworks: up to six – of which up to four will be selected
  • Previous exhibitions: Work must not have been exhibited previously IN LONDON. Note that they’ve tightened up the criteria – that means not exhibited at ANY exhibition in London i.e. not limited to the RBA Exhibitions. I’m a big fan of art societies who refuse to allow people to exhibit work they have previously exhibited elsewhere – it makes for a better exhibition of work which is fresh to the eye.
  • Dry: Paintings should be completely dry at the time of delivery (or they won’t be hung)
  • Wrapping: The Gallery does not keep wrapping. Nor does it wrap artwork for return to the artist. So you need to deliver and collect yourself or employ a courier to do this for you. (An exception is made for foundry costs)
  • Size: Works should not be larger than 2.4m along the longest dimension.
  • For Sale: All work must be for sale (and the price must include commission @ 45%+VAT. For the uninitiated, that means 
    • if you price your painting @ £500 
    • then commission of £225 will be deducted 
    • plus a further £45 for VAT on commission charged. 
    • So you get £230, the Mall Galleries gets £225 and Customs and Excise gets £45.
  • Price: The minimum price is £300 (framed prints: £180, unframed prints: £120).

You can see the range of artwork submitted in my reviews of previous exhibitions – listed at the end of this blog post. (Unfortunately, I was on one leg following my surgery when the last exhibition was held and didn’t see it)

TIPS In relation to pricing…..

TIP: Do NOT be silly or over ambitious about prices especially if you are unfamiliar with sales at this venue.

  • small works priced between £300 and £500 typically sell well (i.e. a much high percentage in this price bracket will sell compared to others – because they are more affordable)
  • most works sell below £1,000
  • members sell well between £500 and £1,500
  • if you are pricing above £2,000 you are:
    • either a well known artist with some years experience and a credible track record of sales above this price point
    • or you have a very big ego and/or opinion of your own work and/or lack experience in exhibiting/selling your work
  • never ever price just above the big price point breaks (£500, £1000, £1,500) – always just below!

I don’t think I can make it plainer than that!

How to enter and submit your artwork

  • Digital Entries ONLY: All entries are online – using digital images. 
    • Digital image of an artwork must be in JPEG format and under 5MB (i.e. You cannot bring your artwork to London to enter)
    • Upload images of work at mallgalleries.oess1.uk before 12 noon on Friday 2nd December 2022.
    • pay fees online (see below)
  • Entry fee per artwork: payable at the time of submitting / includes free entry for the artist to the exhibition (normally £4).
    • Artists aged over 35: £20
    • Younger Artists aged 35 or under: £14
  • Receiving Day: If selected for the exhibition, deliver your work on Saturday 4 February 2023, 10am to 5pm, to Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD
  • For full terms and conditions, click here

How is work selected?

There is a single stage selection process for the 2023 exhibition. All artworks will be judged virtually after submissions close.

Note that all artwork will be selected online on the basis of the digital image – making it absolutely crucial this year that you submit an excellent and accurate image.

Work is selected by a small group of RBA members who are responsible for curating and hanging the exhibition. These are not necessarily the same people each year – although some people like getting involved with exhibitions and some do not!

Notification of selection

If selected you will be notified after 12 noon on Friday 9 December 2022. The receiving day is not until Saturday 4 February 2023, 10am to 5pm so plenty of time to get your artwork framed if selected!

Note that selectors’ decisions are final and no feedback is made available for those who were not successful.

TIP: If not selected, do not do what I’ve seen some artists do in the past – and sound off on social media about the selection process. It’s not impressive, does get noted and hardly helps your case in future years!

The Exhibition, Prizes and Awards

200th Anniversary Exhibition

The exhibition 

  • opens on Thursday 2 March, 10am at the Mall Galleries and 
  • closes on Saturday 11 March, 5pm.  
  • The Private View is on Wednesday 1 March, 6pm to 9pm.

Unsold work MUST be collected on Saturday 18 March 2023, 10am to 5pm or you’ll be paying charges for storage.

Prize and Awards

One of the distinguished features of the RBA Exhibition is that it has an extensive variety of Prizes and Awards are on offer. The total prize pot is worth over £5,000
These include (subject to final confirmation):

Cash Prizes (in order of descending value)

  • Rome Scholarship – worth £4,000
  • The de Laszlo Foundation Prize: The de Laszlo Medal for Excellence and £1,500 will be awarded for the best artwork from life by an artist aged 35 or under
  • Whistler Medal £500
  • The John Lynn Commemorative Award for a Young Artist: £500
  • The Surgeon’s Prize: £500
  • The Arts Society Star Students Award £500
  • The Peter Kelly Commemorative Prize: £300
  • The Ronald Morgan Memorial Award: £250
  • The Gordon Hulson Memorial Prize: £250 for draughtsmanship, variety & exploration
  • The Stuart Southall Print Prize: £250
  • The Presidents Award: £200
  • Nathan David Award for Sculpture: £150
  • The Geoffrey Vivis Memorial Award: £100

Publication Awards

  • The Artist Magazine Award: The winner will be interviewed in The Artist magazine, print and digital editions
  • The Dry Red Press Award: The winning work will be published as a greeting card in the Dry Red Press ‘Prize Winners’ range, with royalties from the sale of the cards going to the artist

Art Materials & Other Awards

  • The Winsor & Newton Painting Award: Art materials to the value of £500
  • The Michael Harding Awards: 
    • Two awards of £500 worth of Michael Harding art materials, and
    • 10 painting starter sets
  • Hahnemuhle Fine Art UK Award: A prize of artist paper, worth £250
  • Frinton Frames Award: £200 of picture framing at Frinton Frames bespoke handfinished picture frame makers

About the Royal Society of British Artists


A group of painters met at Lincoln’s Inn Fields on May 21st 1823, to form the ‘Society of British Artists’, whose manifesto stated, ‘This organisation was not formed to rival existing societies but that every Member was to be at liberty to assist and support any other society.’

The Royal Society of British Artists used to have a gallery at 6 ½ Suffolk Street, Pall Mall East, London – a picture of which can be seen in a book titled Metropolitan improvements; or, London in the nineteenth century: displayed in a series of engravings of the new buildings, improvement, etc.” – see below.

The house and spacious galleries of the Society of British Artists
in 6 1/2 Suffolk Street, Pall Mall East

the house with a projecting Roman Doric portico, elevated on three semi-circular arches is the house and spacious galleries of the Society of British Artists, the portico of which was designed by Mr Nash, and the suite of six octagonal galleries, all on one floor, and lighted from above, were designed by and erected under the directions of your humble servant

You can read more about the history of the RBA on their website.

How to become a member of the Royal Society of British Artists

The membership procedure is competitive; candidates will normally be expected to have previously exhibited several times with the Society after which they may apply for election to the RBA. The election of new members takes place at the AGM, where candidates are able to show their work and, as a result of a ‘blind’ vote, one or more candidates may be elected to the Society. (my bold)

To become a member you must pay and annual subscription and contribute to the work of the Society in some way. In return you get to be able to put RBA after your name and exhibit your artwork at the annual exhibition.


Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibitions

These are my previous reviews of the annual exhibition

The online catalogue of the Annual Exhibition 2020 of the Royal Society of British Artists promises that it might be a good exhibition. I viewed it today and the actual exhibition more than lives up to what’s online

APPENDIX: International Artists – Information about VAT and delivery/storage

HMRC define you as an overseas seller if you sell goods stored in the UK to UK consumers and do not have a business establishment in the UK.

  • In this instance the Mall Galleries acts as your agent.
  • Those submitting from outside the UK must decide 
    • whether they need to register for VAT in advance (see Overseas business and VAT)
    • engage an art carrier to deliver their work
    • do they know about the Customs processes and paperwork required to get their artwork into the UK – and then back again if it does not sell – without incurring additional costs.

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