The Royal Society of Portrait Painters awards several major prizes at its Annual Exhibition every year. This year’s recipients were announced at the Private View by President Robin-Lee Hall and represent the best of contemporary portraiture.

This year’s Annual Exhibition runs at Mall Galleries until 19 May 2017 and includes over 200 portraits by more than 100 artists.

Award Winners 2017


The Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture 

Shawn McGovern, James

The Ondaatje Prize is the Society’s major annual award to the painter of the most distinguished portrait of the year. The Prize takes the form of a £10,000 cheque in addition to the Society’s Gold Medal. 

The de Laszlo Foundation Award

Jamie Routley, Alex Liederman at 17

The de Laszlo Foundation Award – The de Laszlo Medal for Excellence, together with a cheque for £3,000 – is awarded to the artist aged thirty five or under, judged to have submitted the best portrait.

The Changing Faces Prize

Daphne Todd OBE PPRP, Professor Susan Smith, Mistress of Girton

The Changing Faces Prize is awarded to the artist whose portrait most powerfully conveys the energy of their subject, the directness of their gaze and an attitude that exudes openness and confidence. The Prize is a £2,000 commission to paint a portrait of a person who has a facial disfigurement for the Changing Faces Collection, which aims to ensure that people with unusual faces are well and fairly represented in modern-day portraiture.

The Prince of Wales's Award for Portrait Drawing

Bernadett Timko, Lucas 

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has lent his name to the Society’s prestigious award for portrait drawing for the last eighteen years. The Award – a framed certificate and cheque for £2,000 – highlights the importance of drawing within contemporary portraiture.

Burke's Peerage Foundation Award for Classically Inspired Portraiture

Andrew Festing RP, Portrait of Count Alexis Limburg-Stirum at Walzin 

The Burke’s Peerage Foundation Award for Classically Inspired Portraiture was instituted to celebrate the art of portraiture included in Burke’s Peerage since its foundation by John Burke in 1826. It is presented annually with a framed certificate and a cheque for £2,000.

The Smallwood Architects Prize for Contextual Portraiture

David Cobley RP NEAC, Made to Measure 

The Smallwood Architects Prize is an award for a portrait in which architectural or interior features play an important part in enhancing the human subject by creating energy and a sense of place, and giving insight into the subject’s life. 

Contemporary Arts Trust Alice Batkin Award

Vania Comoretti, Dual 

The Contemporary Arts Trust offers £1,000 to the most deserving artist in the exhibition. The Trust’s objective is to assist deserving artists who show promise … to encourage them to remain in the arts and continue on their creative journey.

The RP Non-Member's Prize

Daniel Shadbolt NEAC, Nicholas 

The RP Non-Member’s Prize is a gift of £2,500, donated by The Patron’s Fund, which supports charitable organisations across the UK and Commonwealth for which Her Majesty The Queen acts as a Patron. 

The Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition 2017 is open at Mall Galleries 4 to 19 May. 

Browse and Buy works from the exhibition now