Each year at the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours exhibition at Mall Galleries, a £1,000 art prize is awarded by The Worshipful Company of Leathersellers to an artist aged between 18 and 30 years old. 

Below, Jean Noble RI explains the importance of the prize and what it means for the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours. 

The Leathersellers Prize aims to encourage young artists between the ages of 18 and 30 to think of submitting work to our open exhibition. Winning can make an enormous difference. Not just receiving the money, but galleries take a look at artists being thought worthy of such awards. 

George Butler Demolition 

Kate Morgan won the prize four years ago. Since, she has become a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and had a very successful solo show at Panter & Hall. Her work, which lends itself to pattern making, was taken up by H&M Childrenswear in 2019. A summer range of clothes was made from her jungle designs for boys and girls. 

In 2019, the prize was won by Junwei Dai, who says:

"The Leathersellers’ Prize is absolutely a big encouragement for me to keep exploring the possibilities of watercolour! I really appreciate this prize, especially for young artists. I feel young artists can’t get recognised fairly in many countries where social networking speaks rather than the artworks. That is the motivation for me to join international exhibitions like the RI, Royal Watercolour Society, American Watercolour Society and National Watercolour Society."

I 'stalk' the internet constantly looking for new talent to encourage. I visit studio and gallery spaces where young artists are showing their work. It is so important that we give a platform for these young people to show their work. And, as importantly, we must get young people interested in art societies for the future of every Society.

In the 2020 exhibition, we have 44 pieces being hung from young, emerging artists.

Over the last 6 years, The Leathersellers' Prize has been won by a variety of artists. Winning in itself can mean, amongst other things:

  • Experimenting with new materials
  • Getting their work shown in a new venue
  • More framing opportunities 

Suzon Lagarde Siblings

Winning a prize and being able to tell galleries of an award can increase their standing within the art world. Encouragement in the arts is so important in this digital world.

It is so important that if art societies are to exist, that we encourage the young and emerging artists who do not always choose watercolour as their medium of choice! 

This year, the prize was won by Suzon Lagarde for her work Suzy

For your chance to exhibit alongside members of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, please visit our Call for Entries or subscribe to our newsletter below.

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Discover the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 208th Exhibition