Exhibition updates

Discover more about the exhibitions held at Mall Galleries through interviews with artists, photo essays, prize winners lists and video and audio content. Mall Galleries publish content from all Federation of British Artists Art Society Exhibitions.

Society of Wildlife Artists Call for Entries

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There is under a week left to submit to the Society of Wildlife Artists' Open Exhibition. Work for this year's exhibition must be submitted online by 12 Noon, 7 August

Pre-selection from online entries will take place, after which successful artists will be invited to deliver their work to Mall Galleries, London, for final selection.

The Society of Wildlife Artists seeks submissions of work that depicts wildlife subjects and evoke the spirit of the natural world.

If you are thinking of submitting work to this year's SWLA Open Annual Exhibition then the Prize Winners from the 2014 exhibition, listed below, may help you decide what to submit this year.

RSPB Award

Federico Gemma SWLA, Whinchat, Giglio Island, Tuscany

The Dry Red Press Award

Max Angus SWLA, Woodcock pilots (Goldcrest) - North Norfolk

The Langford Press Award

Nicholas Pain, Flight of Manta Rays

The Langford Press Field Sketches Award

Szabolcs Kokay SWLA

image: Brown Sicklebill


The Hawk and Owl Trust's Roger Clarke Award

Adam Binder SWLA, Sparrowhawk


Birdscpaes Gallery Special Conservation Award

Carry Akroyd SWLA

image: Granite, Gannet, Annet

Image credit

Adam Binder SWLA, Sparrow Hawk

The New English Art Club: In Their Own Words Part Two


Michael Fairclough NEAC

At Sea - Dusk IX

It was the last of one sequence of 9 paintings, part of several series which were provoked by a Channel crossing. Other series in a similar vein are Sea Passage and Dog-Watch, each developing the theme of the fading of light until the final Dog-Watch paintings are virtually black and very simple - except that they are actually deeply colourful and full of texture!

Richard Pikesley

Edge of the Sea, Lyme Regis

For years I’ve painted on this beach, not just in summer but in foul winter weather too, but I hadn’t found this view until I saw it when returning from a swim. Painting whilst up to my knees in seawater brings some obvious practical difficulties but over the last two summers I had made many little watercolours whilst paddling at this spot. A little tin of colours and a single sheet of paper clipped to the lid of a cigar box makes a decent portable studio and the splashes from passing bathers don’t do too much damage. The oils of this subject are in part developed from these tiny watercolours though some of the smaller ones were painted on the spot from the end of a timber breakwater.

Peter Clossick NEAC

Juilet Yardley Mills

Widely known as JYM she was one of Frank Auerbach’s favourite models, who sat for me for many years. We became close and as a “muse” she was inspirational, I owe her a lot. The painting was done over many hours and sessions, through many stages, with JYM always there in front of me, looking determined and regal.

Susan Ryder NEAC RP

The Buffalo Chair

I love this view 'looking through' in my daughter's house, and managed to find time to paint it while looking after a sick grandson who lay on a sofa watching me and the television!

Diana Calvert NEAC

Gooseberries in the Irish Pot

I love painting gooseberries as I find them very beautiful and they are all different, the Irish Pot is just that, a very lovely pot that I bought in a craft shop in Connemara.

New English Art Club Prizes & Awards

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Scarborough-based Janine Baldwin has been announced the winner of the first ever £4,000 Haworth Prize for landscape painting and drawing for her charcoal drawing, Cropton Forest I.

The Prize, sponsored by The Haworth Trust is for young artists (aged 35 years and under) living and working in the North of England, creating work inspired by their surroundings.

Janine, 35, says of her winning work:

“There are so many beautiful landscapes in Yorkshire I love but, Cropton Forest in North Yorkshire is one of my favourites. It offers a beguiling mix of intense darkness between the trees and patches of sunlight dappling the forest floor, and there are multiple layers within this landscape – tall linear tree forms, overgrown scrubland and deeply entrenched paths. To depict these layers in my work, as well as convey life and movement, I have made grooves in the surface of the paper and layered with charcoal, graphite and pastel. Marks on the paper have also been erased in order to create a transient effect, reflecting the changing shape of the forest. Above all I hope to capture the essence of Cropton Forest, and the sense of peace and tranquillity it evokes."

Richard Pikesley, President of the New English Art Club, was on the selection panel: “We chose Cropton Forest I as the winning piece because of its strength and immediacy, the observational quality of its drawing and for the haunting atmosphere it creates looking through the woodland.”

The Prize builds on the New English Art Club’s tradition of painting and drawing from observation and of supporting emerging artists.

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Other Prizes & Awards

The Zsuzsi Roboz Prize

The Zsuzsi Roboz Prize of £5,000 is awarded by The Alfred Teddy Smith and Zsuzsi Roboz Art Trust, to a work of excellence in the New English Art Club Annual Exhibition.

Arthur Neal NEAC

Corner of the Studio II

"Arthur Neal could be conveniently described as a "painter's painter" - in other words a painter that other artists would like to emulate in his use of paint and structure. Tonal values hold the construction of this abstract portrayal of the studio interior, but there are other works by the artist on show here in both oil and pastel. A good painter wanting to be discovered." - David Messum

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The Doreen McIntosh Prize (£5,000)

James Bland NEAC

Woman at a Table

Woman at a Table, one of James’ recent studio paintings. Painted from life, the sitter is positioned next to the 2 dimensional cardboard prop of the table and objects, which James makes himself, allowing accurate yet distorted perspective of the space and objects around the figure, creating a dreamlike sensation.

Commission James Bland NEAC to create a work just for you

The Arts Club Charitable Trust Award (£1,000)

Sarah Jane Moon

Studio II


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The Winsor & Newton Award (£500)

Michael Weller

Late January Pears

The NEAC Critics' Prize (£250)

Tom Hughes

Clifton Suspension Bridge, Contre Jour, January

Commission Tom Hughes to create a work just for you

The Prize of the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers (£200)

Michael Whittlesea

Self 2015

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The Dry Red Press Award

June Berry NEAC

A Walk Across the Fields

Commission June Berry to create a work just for you


Call for Entries

The NEAC seeks work which demonstrates excellence in both concept and draughtsmanship. The Call for Entries is currently open, submit your artwork before Friday 4 March 2016.

For more information please click here.

The New English Art Club Annual Open Exhibition is open from 18 - 27 June. 

Image credit

Tom Hughes, Clifton Suspension Bridge, Contre Jour, January (detail)

The New English Art Club: In Their Own Words Part One


Melissa Scott-Miller NEAC RP

Bloomsbury Back Gardens

I painted this from the bathroom window of my friend Comfort’s flat in Percy Circus.

It was quite difficult, I had to balance the canvas on the edge of the washbasin, but I wanted to get as much in as I could. The children are Comfort’s five children, the little boy on the bike is actually 16 now, my son’s best friend but I painted him as I knew him when we first met, and as I remember the many lovely children's parties that happened in that garden. The same cat appears three times in the painting, he always seemed to be there, through the month it took to paint.

Jenny Wheatley NEAC

View of the Islands

This painting was inspired by regular visits to the isles of Scilly and is a composite of drawings that have come together to try to create the domestic French-inspired interior with the tranquil view over the islands that I love so much.

Jenny Wheatley NEAC

The Black Friar

Origami papers, Victorian scraps and painted torn papers come together here to try to convey both the decorative nature of the Black Friar pub on the north side of Blackfriars Bridge and the timeless nature of the elaborate façade that has stood firm when most of the buildings around it have disappeared.

Julian Bailey NEAC

Windy Pear, Weymouth

The gouaches I do are painted in my studio, usually based on pencil sketches that I make on the spot out in the open. They are completed with many layers of paint, and constant revisions, until things fall into place in a way that I feel makes for a good resolution. Gouache is endlessly malleable so long as you let the paint dry fully between layers, and the colour is an absolute joy to use.

Pamela Kay NEAC RBA

Two Tea Bowls of Primroses

Every year I look forward to the first flowers of spring and the early primroses. These delicate, almost ghostly flowers are deceptively subtle to paint. 'Much more difficult than you think' John Ward once said to me and he was right. Each year, it is important to see them as if for the first time, and collecting a range of pots, jars and bowls to put them in, gives a fresh set of 'props'

The two Chinese tea bowls are old friends that I found, chipped and dusty in the shop at the Museum in Singapore years ago. I recently returned to the Museum but it had been greatly enlarged from the old colonial building it used to be and the shop, no longer a treasure house of local antiques, but an expensive boutique.

Buy it when you see it is the best advice to any still life painter!

Michael Fairclough NEAC

At Sea - Dusk IX

It was the last of one sequence of 9 paintings, part of several series which were provoked by a Channel crossing. Other series in a similar vein are SEA PASSAGE and DOG-WATCH, each developing the theme of the fading of light until the final DOG-WATCH paintings are virtually black and very simple - except that they are actually deeply colourful and full of texture!

Part Two of this series, including NEAC President Richard Pikesley, will be posted later this week.

The NEAC Annual Open Exhibition opens to the public on 18 June. See the works online now

Six unmissable works at the New English Art Club Annual Open Exhibition

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Lewis McNaught, Director of Mall Galleries, selects six of the best at the New English Art Club Annual Open Exhibition

Exhibition open from 18-27 June, 2015

View works from the exhibition online now

Louise Balaam NEAC

Light on the Clouds, Ullapool

Oil, 51 x 51 cm

Balaam’s expressionistic landscapes reveal her passion for form, colour and mark making. You don’t need scale to convey the essence of a landscape when the brush can do the work for you. This is one of five powerful oil on panel works by Balaam in this year’s exhibition.

James Bland NEAC


Oil, 30 x 26 cm

It’s good to see such high quality work from new members of the NEAC. Bland made a strong impact at the 2014 Threadneedle Prize with a work entitled Ghost. This still life is a departure from the figure studies where he is making such an impact, but the palette and brushwork are equally vigorous and accomplished.

Peter Brown NEAC PS ROI RP Hon RBA

Notre Dame from Quai des Grands Augustins

Oil on canvas, 63.5 x 76 cm

‘Pete the Street’ is best known for his street views around London and Bath (where he lives). But recently he’s been venturing across the Channel, creating some wonderful impressionistic, plein air views of Paris and other cities. This is an especially vibrant view that recalls happy memories for many of us….

Michael Cooper NEAC

Evening Landscape

Oil, 28 x 65 cm

I love Cooper’s treatment of this wide-open space, depicted sparingly using a simple but striking colour palette. The textural qualities of the finish encourage you to linger over the surface and enjoy the finished view, imposing your own thoughts about the red shape in the hillscape.

Tom Harforth

Behind Preston

Silkscreen on Washi paper & map, 39 x 26 cm

This year’s exhibition includes a new prize, awarded to a young artist from the North of England who’s created a work inspired by their surroundings. Talent abounds, although the winner has yet to be announced. It’s not hard to imagine why this exquisite but gritty, urban street view by Harforth has been selected.

Melissa Scott-Miller NEAC RP

Bloomsbury Square

Oil on canvas, 66 x 97 cm

Nobody paints London bricks as well as Melissa! Like ‘Pete the Street’ Melissa can often be spied around North London and the West End capturing the rugged hues and tones of London’s terraced architecture. In this view, she’s included a portrait of herself at Bloomsbury Square in bloom.

Six Unmissable Works at The Art of a Nation


Director of Mall Galleries, Lewis McNaught has selected six unmissable works from The Art of a Nation exhibition

More about the exhibition:

The selection on show is a marvellous profile of Irish visual art since the turn of the 20th century - The Financial Times

The first major show of Irish art in London for over 30 years – taken from a collection assembled by a bank then made available to the nation after the financial crisis – reveals a century’s worth of poetry and protest on canvas - Guardian

Letitia Hamilton, Clew Bay

This jewel of a little landscape, muted in its palette but with brushwork quivering with energy, demonstrates just how much Irish artists who travelled to France absorbed from the Post-Impressionists. Hamilton painted this work on her return to County Mayo. Using a palette knife and large brushstrokes, she has captured the energy and ruggedness of Clew Bay, part of the stunning coastline that runs along the west of Ireland.

Séan Keating, On the Run, War of Independence

There are no works by Keating in any major UK public collection. This work underlines why this is a serious omission. Keating lived through turbulent times and as a commentator on Irish political history his paintings, like this one painted in 1921 depicting freedom fighters during Ireland’s war of independence, take on an historical and artistic significance beyond the attraction of their mood and composition.

Mainie Jellett, Composition with 3 Elements

The strong, lyrical quality that runs through the Irish visual arts is perfectly captured in this wonderful poetic composition by Mainie Jellett. The influence of Modernism, and Cubism in particular, pervades this canvas. But unlike the Cubist works of Gris, Braque and Picasso there is no aggression, objection or statement to unsettle. The form and colours of this work, painted c.1935, melt into a lyrical composition that is utterly poetic.

Hughie O’Donoghue, On our Knees

Narrative runs wide and deep through Irish painting and sculpture. The great famine and exodus to North America in the middle of the 19th century continues to haunt contemporary Irish artists. O’Donoghue’s crouching figure alludes to the suffering and grinding poverty his family experienced in a remote corner of northwest Mayo. Every mark captures his emotion; every brushstroke is a wound still to heal.

Willie Doherty, Border Road (1994)

This monumental study of the barriers and roadblocks that formed the subject of his Border Road series are as important as historical documents as they are powerful photographic images. Doherty didn’t shy from producing dramatic, unsettling images during the period known as ‘the Troubles’. But the beauty of the Irish landscape pervades, overpowering the transitory nature of the barricades. There’s hope as well as unease in this image.

Shane Blount, It’s a Blue Giraffe

More narrative and more deep-rooted emotion. When Shane Blount’s brother Joseph died he chose to paint this portrait of his other brother David. Composed amidst the imagery and memories of their youths, this portrait goes beyond the exterior image of a teenage youth and captures the sorrow and loss of a sibling. It’s an outstanding painting by a self-taught artist with so much to say to the world through his art.

The Art of a Nation

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This specially commissioned essay is reproduced from The Art of a Nation Exhibition Catalogue. Purchase the catalogue online now. 


By Lewis McNaught, Director, Mall Galleries

In recent years, we have had too few opportunities in this country to explore and evaluate the merits of Irish Art. Apart from a few commercial galleries that provide exhibition space for living, Irish-born painters, sculptors and photographers, it may surprise you to learn there has been no wide-ranging survey or other single exhibition in London providing an historical dimension to Irish Art of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries for more than 30 years.    

In 1980 three important touring exhibitions visited London as part of A Sense of Ireland, the London Festival of Irish Arts, mounted by The Arts Councils in Ireland. Each gave a different, personal perspective on Irish Art in the Seventies. One of these, The Delighted Eye, was curated by Frances Ruane, who became Art Advisor to the Allied Irish Banks Collection in 1980 and who has written about the formation of their Collection for this catalogue. Strongholds (1991) and Elective Affinities (1993), both at Tate Gallery Liverpool, concentrated on new art from Ireland; representative Irish works in the permanent collections of Tate, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the National Portrait Gallery are few in number, although Sir William Orpen’s wartime paintings are well represented in London’s Imperial War Museum. On the whole, London and the UK have been starved of exposure to great Irish Art.      

Sean Keating, On the Run, War of Independence

We are confident this selection will introduce you to works of enduring quality and may encourage you to cross the waters to discover more.

This is one of the reasons why Mall Galleries is proud to stage this selection of important Irish works collected by Allied Irish Banks plc. Drawn from a portfolio comprising more than 3,000 paintings, photographs and sculptures, astutely collected since the 1980s, the collection is surely one of the most important representative collections of Modern Irish Art, certainly broader in its historical range and quality than other corporate collections formed in Ireland. Tours of the works within the Republic are continuous and some of the more significant works are on permanent view at the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork. But The Art of a Nation is the first time these works have left the shores of Ireland. This exhibition is therefore the first opportunity for London gallery visitors to discover the diversity and character of works produced by artists in the Republic of Ireland from c1900 to the present day.    

But there is a further reason for staging this exhibition at Mall Galleries, home to the Federation of British Artists. Each year, these Galleries play host to the annual exhibitions of eight of the UK’s leading art societies. Several of the artists represented in The Art of a Nation were members or exhibited with these societies that for over fifty years have held their annual exhibitions at Mall Galleries. For example, Aloysius O’Kelly exhibited with the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA), the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI); Roderic O’Conor, William Leech, Thomas Carr and Sir William Orpen all exhibited with the New English Art Club (NEAC); Letitia Hamilton and F E McWilliam both exhibited with the RBA, and Yeats with the ROI. Sir John Lavery was a member of the NEAC and showed an impressive 140 works with the Royal Society of Portrait Painters (RP).    

Letitia Hamilton, Clew Bay

As well as exhibition opportunities, the London art world has provided Irish artists with valued support and a livelihood. This vital connection has continued into recent times with William Crozier and Hughie O’Donoghue RA both playing leading roles in the British art scene; Willie Doherty and Sean Scully have both been shortlisted twice for the Turner Prize. All these artists now enjoy a worldwide reputation and feature in this exhibition with important works.   The selection of works made by the exhibition’s curators, Anthony Lester and Nicholas Usherwood, will provide you with just a small insight into the range and quality of works in the AIB Collection. We are confident this selection will introduce you to works of enduring quality and may encourage you to cross the waters to discover more.

Art of a Nation opens 13 May to 31 May

Buy the Exhibition Catalogue online now

Portrait Painters' Studios


About the project:

Behind the Scenes with Portrait Painters’ provides a unique insight into the working lives of contemporary professional artists who are engaged in what is essentially a very human endeavour; the portrayal of the other. Portraiture is an art that crosses distances between ourselves and others and seeks to undo our own subjectivity. It is illustrative of an attempt to perceive and to know another human being and therefore a fundamental activity in our increasingly individualist oriented society. To know and have an understanding of others has never been so important as our societies fracture along religious, cultural and ethical divides. We need to be able to empathise in order to not only tolerate but embrace the infinite ways there are to be human.

These stills were taken by Christa Holka as part of the Portrait Painters’ Studios Project run by Christa and Sarah Jane Moon. The two artists are engaged in a process of visiting, interviewing and photographing selected members of The Royal Society of Portrait Painters in order to gain insight into their individual working processes. They are working towards presenting their research in book form later this year.

Portrait painting in and of itself is also a largely mysterious profession and one that lies outside industry. Each and every painter will have a unique way of painting and negotiating the process of painting others.The commissioning process is also one that is highly individual. It is hoped that this volume will demystify these processes and give the reader a greater understanding of what is involved in commissioning a portrait and how works of art are made. By doing so we aim to encourage and promote the endurance of portraiture as an art form of both cultural and political significance.


Christa Holka:

Photographer Christa Holka is an American artist who lives and works in London documenting and archiving the communities in which she exists. She often makes photographic portraits herself of artists and performers exploring personal narrative, memory, identity, self-representation and art practice and as such is sympathetic to the challenges of portraying others. Working with a forensic eye for detail she is able to offer a unique glimpse into the life of a studio as well as capturing the artist at ease. Christa has exhibited her work in galleries in the U.S., London, Berlin and Athens.


Sarah Jane Moon spoke to Art Magazine Studio International at the opening of her joint exhibition in the Mall Galleries Learning Centre.

Interview by Anna McNay

Filmed by Martin Kennedy

Royal Society of Portrait Painters Prize Winners


The 124th Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Open Exhibition opened on Wednesday 15 April.

The 124th Annual Open Exhibition is Robin-Lee Hall's first as President of the RP. Writing in the exhibition catalogue Robin-Lee says 'my ambition for the Society as President, is to continue to build on our history and strong reputation for high quality commissioned portraiture and share our knowledge and experience through education.'

Robin-Lee also thanked the generosity of the RP's sponsors support and belief in the Society's remit. The Prizes that are donated are valuable to the recipients, many of whom establish higher profiles from being showcased in this way.

The 2015 exhibition sees an expansion of the RP's relationship with Seven Investment Management and their generous £15,000 Conversations Prize. It is thanks to the sponsorship from Seven Investment Management the RP are able to offer workshops during the exhibition in the excellent Learning Centre at Mall Galleries. 

The Seven Investment Management £15,000 'Conversations' Prize was awarded to John Wonnacott CBE Hon. RP. The 'Conversations Prize is awarded for the best work interpreting the theme of a conversation piece, including two or more figures.

Commission John Wonnacott CBE Hon. RP to create a work just for you


The Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture

£10,000 plus the Society’s Gold Medal awarded for the most distinguished painting in the Society’s annual exhibition

Brian Morris

Upp åt Bäcken (Up the Creek)

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The de Laszlo Foundation Prize

£3,000 plus a Silver Medal for the most outstanding portrait by an artist aged 35 years or under

Lorna May Wadsworth

They Have Lunch Every Tuesday

Commission Lorna May Wadsworth to create a work just for you

The Prince of Wales Award for Portrait Drawing

£2,000 and framed certificate for a portrait in any recognised drawing medium

Jason Bowyer RP PPNEAC PS

Sammy G

Commission Jason Bowyer RP PPNEAC PS to create a work just for you

Changing Faces Commissions Prize

£2,000 commission to produce a portrait of a person with a disfigurement for the Changing Faces collection

Hero Johnson


The Burke’s Peerage Foundation Award

£2,000 and framed certificate for the most classically inspired portrait in the exhibition.

Miriam Escofet


Commission Miriam Escofet to create a work just for you

The Arts Club Charitable Trust Award in association in with The Arts Club

£1,000 to the most deserving artist in the exhibition, as judged by a representative from the Charitable Trust.

Awarded jointly to Emma Hopkins and Claire Anscomb

Claire Anscomb



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Emma Hopkins

Geri Morgan

Commission Emma Hopkins to create a work just for you

Smallwood Architects Prize for contextual portraiture

£1,000 prize is for a portrait in which architectural or interior features play an important part.

Tom Hughes

Living Room with Lamps

Commission Tom Hughes to create a work just for you


Call for Entries

The RP seeks submissions of new and traditional interpretations of portraiture. The Call for Entries is currently open, submit your artwork before Friday 29 January 2016.

For more information please click here.

Photography by Alick Cotterill

Inside Portraits - Works by Sarah Jane Moon

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This exhibition showcases the most recent work of Sarah Jane Moon, recipient of the 2013 Bulldog Bursary. Sarah Jane is a committed painter who has a background in arts theory and history as well as having trained in figurative painting at The Heatherley School of Fine Art. She is originally from New Zealand and has worked, taught and lived internationally, spending significant periods of time in Japan, Malaysia and Australia.

Sarah Jane’s work is on an ambitious scale and captures her peers and contemporaries, many of whom are creatives and entrepreneurs themselves. She is drawn to personalities who are uniquely and authentically themselves and who pursue creative endeavours that reflect that.

From writers and performers to entrepreneurs and fashionistas, her sitters are often forging their own creative paths with flare, commitment and passion. Subjects in the portraits on display include writer and lecturer Dr Laura Bridgeman, designer and furniture maker Emma Leslie, performance artist and lecturer Dr Brian Lobel and entrepreneur and events manager Stav B among others.

Sarah Jane has a keen eye for detail and symbolism and as such her portraits often incorporate objects and paraphernalia specific to the sitter’s profession and identity. Her work also reflects an abiding interest in the individual’s presentation of the self, the artist’s perception of the subject and the gap that forever persists between. What is the relationship between the socially constructed persona and the self? Who are we in the presence of ourselves and others? Where is identity located and how is it performed?

Many of her subjects are from non-heteronormative backgrounds and it is hoped that her portraits will form part of a wider narrative of celebrating the vast pool of talent, creativity and drive that flourishes in these milieux.