Experience and Buy Europe’s Finest Portrait Paintings

9 May 2024 to 18 May 2024 Mall Galleries

A fantastic figurative exhibition on London’s The Mall

If you are interested in the painted portrait, there is one, annual portrait painting exhibition which is a must visit. The Royal Society of Portrait Painters’ Annual Exhibition is now in its 133rd year and is held at the prestigious Mall Galleries on London’s The Mall, home to the Federation of British Artists, a visual arts charity supporting artists since 1961. The exhibition is unique in that its collection of painted and drawn portraits, from a national and international submission, is selected not by the art establishment, by celebrities or media moguls, but by world-renowned professional portrait painters. With peer-reviewed paintings chosen through the discerning eye and instinctive sensitivity of other artists, the exhibition arguably showcases the very best painted portraits in Europe – both by established portraiture artists and by the most exciting up-and-coming talent. It is one of the world’s greatest forums for portraiture featuring a broad collection of stylistic and intellectual approaches.

In terms of famous faces/ people of note…this year’s show includes the following:

  • A posthumous portrait of Russian lawyer Alexei Navalny
  • Saied Dai’s portrait of the Rt Hon Theresa May
  • A new portrait of cricketer Sir Alastair Cook CBE
  • A portrait of Benedict Cumberbatch as Henry Sugar
  • A portrait of Holocaust survivor Susan Pollack OBE
  • A portrait of Sir Christopher Hampton (CBE FRSL)
  • A portrait of author Musa Okwonga 
  • A portrait of one of the last surviving veterans of the Gloucestershire Regiment who fought at the famous Battle of Imjin River
  • A portrait of actor Adam Pearson
  • A portrait of Paul O’Brien CBE, Chemist
  • A portrait of Sir Neil Mortensen MD FRCSEng
  • A portrait of Dr Adrian James, President, Royal College of Psychiatrists

The Royal Society of Portrait Painters’ Annual Exhibition is a prestigious and historic show (the first being held in 1891,) which is the largest and most significant celebration of contemporary portrait painting in Europe. The exhibition features around 230 beautiful painted portraits which have been expertly curated by artist members of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters (RP). The Society 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. Selection for the RP’s Annual Exhibition is highly prized (exhibiting artists are in the running for awards worth £40,000,) with artists submitting portraits from across the world.

The Society presents the following prizes and awards annually:

  • The William Lock Portrait Prize – one artist will win £20,000 for the most timeless portrait with a real feeling for paint and its aesthetic potential.
  • The Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture
  • The de Laszlo Foundation Award
  • The RP Prize for the Best Small Portrait
  • -The Raw Umber Studios Prize
  • -The Smallwood Architects Prize for Contextual Portraiture

This year, the awards shortlist will be announced on Thursday 9th May 2024 (the opening day of the show,) with winners announced on Thursday 16th May 2024. With much of the work shown available for sale, and with exhibiting portrait painters available for commission through the society’s Portrait Commission service, the show also presents an opportunity to buy portrait masterpieces of the future.

Further Information: The Royal Society of Portrait Painters (therp.co.uk)