In December the Annual Exhibition for the Royal Institute of Oil Painters returns to Mall Galleries. We spoke to Peter Graham ROI about his commision for Henly Royal Regatta.


An artlover with a special interest in the Henley Royal Regatta wanted to commission a series of paintings of the prestigious rowing event. 

Royal Institute of Oil Painters member Peter Graham was chosen for the project, as the client was familiar with his colourful style having seen several of his works over the years at various UK exhibitions.

The client loved Peter’s previous paintings of reflections and harbour subjects, and wanted to incorporate this feature into their commissioned piece. The general concept behind the project was to capture the excitement and energy of the Regatta more than the precise detail of the winning rowing team. 

Peter Graham ROI painting at the Henley Royal Regatta

On the day of the race, Peter worked on the banks of the River Thames, which allowed him to clearly see the pavilion and winning line, as well as all the observing boats. Knowing he would have to work very quickly, he selected watercolour for his medium in order to capture the fleeting moments at high speed. 

The Henley Regatta by Peter Graham ROI

The result was a dynamic and brilliantly colourful series of four watercolour paintings, which vividly depict the skimming of the boats in their team colours and surrounding spectators. Peter’s fluid and atmospheric style fulfilled the brief perfectly, and both sides of the commission process were very pleased with the outcome.

Winning Line at the Henley Regatta by Peter Graham ROI

So what’s next for Peter? He is currently working on a commissioned painting of the King’s Troop at the official entrance to St James’s Palace and Buckingham Palace in Whitehall. It was requested that he keeps to his own characteristic style and trademark colour scheme, so the artwork will be as colourful as the last.

In situ painting that inspired the next commission: Sandhurst Parade by Peter Graham ROI was made at Sandhurst Military Academy


By commissioning an artwork, you have the chance to capture a favourite event or place in a painting. Through the Mall Galleries commissions consultancy, you will be able to engage in direct conversation with the artist, personalising your experience – and, as a result, will be able to create something incredibly special.