Drawing on the expertise of the Royal Society of Marine Artists, Mall Galleries Art Consultancy commissions portraits of families by the sea. In this article, we take you through the process of commissioning this rich memento of time spent with loved ones on holiday. 

Summer is coming to an end, the kids are back to school, life is getting busier again. While the summer holiday might seem an age away now, your memories of it don’t have to fade just yet.

If you head to the coast for your holiday, one beautiful way of imagining yourself beside the sea again is to commission a painting of the time your family spent there. Just like holiday snaps, they remind you of the good times, except in rich, painterly colour- something just a little bit special.  

Mall Galleries draws on the wealth of experience and breadth of styles employed by the Royal Society of Marine Artists to commission portraits of your family by the sea. Our artists specialise in painting coastal subjects and many of them are based by saltwater. Indeed, we have an extensive network of artists living in Cornwall and other popular holiday destinations, making them accessible for family holiday commissions, and knowledgeable about the UK coastline.

The place to start with a commission of this kind is with Mall Galleries’ art consultants. They know their artists inside out: which part of the country they're based in, how they respond to commissions, and how their style might suit your brief. They will provide you with a portfolio of artists to choose from based on your comments, and oversee the contracts that ensure each party knows what to expect.

Your chosen artist will work one of two ways; they will either be happy to work from your photographs, or they'll prefer to take their own in addition to sketching from life. Let us know in advance if you're happy to meet an artist at site or prefer to provide photographs. Even if the artist uses photographic references for the figures, they still may want to visit the landscape itself to make studies of its character. As a general rule of thumb, the more ‘real life’ references the artist can gather the better.  

Have a look at the below examples to see how commissioning a portrait of your holiday in a coastal setting can work


Talk to our art consultants about commissioning your own coastal scene


Bantham Beach by Duncan Palmar

Duncan Palmar’s majestic landscape take centre stage, with the commissioner’s family ‘discoverable’ within the painting. To the left middle-ground you can make out the client’s red windsurf sail and his children play in the foreground. The painting was produced with real attention to the landscape as Duncan knew Bantham Beach well and had a significant amount of reference material of the area. The figures themselves were worked in from photographs of the children provided by the client. They are dwarfed by the landscape, and it is only on closer inspection that any viewer familiar to the family will recognise them, lending a touch of surprise.


By the Sea by Raymond Leech RSMA

This painting was created exclusively from photographs as a Christmas present to the mother of the three children in the photograph. The photographs the client provided were of good enough quality to work from, and Raymond was even able to brighten up the weather, adding a touch of sun to what was an overcast day.  If only we could do this in real life!


Daymer Bay by Nicholas St John Rosse RSMA

Nicholas’ commissions are usually based in the West Country, and Cornwall in particular, where the artist lives and works. His paintings begin onsite, with the artists and sitters meeting on a favourite beach so that both parties can collaboratively work on the composition and Nicholas can take high-resolution photographs to work with in the studio. This large family group with Mum at the centre is no different, and it is this collaboration with the sitters that makes the painting feel so natural.


Talk to our art consultants about commissioning your own coastal scene