Mall Galleries news

The Federaton of British Artists takes a Step Forward

Meet the newest member of the Mall Galleries team: our Digital Assistant, Sasha.  

In this digital and social media age, the need for Mall Galleries / Federation of British Artists to have a stronger presence on the internet and a complete digital strategy has become a necessity. Hence the past few years have seen new websites launched for the Mall Galleries, Royal Society of Marine Artists and Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, and increasing interaction with social media across the art societies for whom Mall Galleries is home (seven out of the eight national art societies within the Federation are now on Twitter and Facebook, while Mall Galleries has a popular presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube, not forgetting Google+).

Crucially, the upgraded Mall Galleries website has enabled society exhibitions to be published and archived online, so that their Annual Exhibitions are available to view year round, from near or far, in the comfort of one's home, or 'on the move' via mobile phone or iPad even. 

Marrying the growing demands of the digital world and our commitment to education, we have partnered with Step Forward, a fully-supported London employment programme for ambitious school leavers and forward-thinking employers, to employ a school leaver as an apprentice to learn and contribute digital skills in a professional environment whilst also training for a qualification. 

Liam Kilby, Digital Manager

Through a new apprenticeship programme known as Step Forward, I have joined Mall Galleries as a Digital Assistant for the next twelve months.

Step Forward is a new apprenticeship programme that started in 2014, it is a one year programme that is designed to help 18-year-old school leavers in London create their own network in the working world. The programme is 12 months long and during these months the associates spend 4 days working for a company and 1 day training with their chosen pathway whilst receiving training for personal development.

During training days, associates train with experienced tutors from their selected pathway to obtain a BTEC Level 3 Diploma specific to their programme.

The Personal Development training has been designed to help them learn the unwritten rules of the workplace as well as to develop general workplace skills and working with different groups of people.

My chosen pathway is Social Media and Digital Marketing and throughout the next 12 months I will be learning:

  • How to use HTML
  • How to use Imaging Software
  • The importance of Keyword Optimisation
  • The importance of Social Media
  • How to create and maintain websites

The Step Forward programme began a few weeks ago and I have had one training session so far. During this session I have learnt the basics of HTML. This includes creating an HTML document, how to add text and images as well as how to change the colour of the text and background of the website.

As part of the Step Forward program, I will be working within Mall Galleries four days a week, where I will be applying the theory I have learnt during the training sessions. So far I have worked for the gallery for three days, during which I have sent emails, added myself to the team on the website, added referral and redirect links, created twitter cards and scheduled tweets on the twitter account for the gallery.

I hope to achieve my BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Social Media in Business whilst gaining new digital skills in a professional environment. I also hope that I will have no regrets and that I have done all of my tasks to the best of my abilities as well as to do many challenging projects during the year.

Sasha Enticknap, Digital Assistant


September at Mall Galleries

Self Portrait 1976, Charlotte Johnson Wahl

Summer comes to a close at Mall Galleries with seven diverse and excellent exhibitions.

Online Exhibition

The Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition is not open until October 14 but the majority of the exhibition is now available to Browse & Buy online. On show are 260 works from the exhibition by some of the most celebrated marine artists at work today. Relive those treasured memories of a picnic on the beach or a walk on a cliff-top path, of dinghy sailing or sailing the high seas as you cruised to warmer climes.



The month began with Mall Galleries welcoming back for a second year Tribal Art London who invited a select group of 18 respected dealers and experts to display quality ethnographic art from Africa, Oceania and the Americas in the form of an Art Fair. If you would like to find out more about the exhibition Tribal Art London have published the exhibition catalogue on Issuu.


Minding Too Much: A Charlotte Johnson Wahl Retrospective.

Between 7 to 12 September Mall Galleries host a retrospective of Charlotte Johnson Wahl's work. Boldly provocative, wildly original, raw and compelling - this exhibition showcases the work of Charlotte Johnson Wahl. For too long Johnson Wahl has been eclipsed by her talented children: Mayor Boris Johnson MP, writer Rachel Johnson, environmentalist Leo Johnson and Number 10 Policy Maker, Jo Johnson MP.  This retrospective aims to redress the balance.

Charlotte Johnson Wahl, Maudsley (detail), 1974

On September 9 there is a talk on Art and Mental Health by Bethlem Gallery Director, Beth Elliott and colleague Victoria Northwood, Head of Archives at Bethlem Gallery. Tickets for the talk cost £5 or are free to Mall Galleries Friends. To book your place call 020 7930 6844. 

To see a small preview of the works in the exhibition visit now.

Charlotte Johnson Wahl's daughter, Rachel, has written a wonderful article on The Times website about her mother. 

14 September to 19 September sees three exhibitions open at the same time.

 The What Is The Point? exhibition, now in its third year, will be a group show of 35 artists living and working in both the UK and abroad. Each artist is creating a new artwork especially for the exhibition, drawing inspiration from, and attempting to answer the question, ‘What Is The Point?’ The works will be in a variety of 2D media.

In the Main Gallery The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition, one of the largest and most prestigious prizes for contemporary watercolour painting in the UK, returns to Mall Galleries. 

Judging the Prize Winners from Parker Harris on Vimeo.

The judges discuss the reasons behind their selection of the 2015 Sunday Times Watercolour Competition prize winners.

In the North Gallery there is the British Wildlife Photography AwardsThe exhibition seeks to encourage discovery, exploration, conservation and enjoyment of our natural heritage and raise awareness about British biodiversity, species and habitats. To see the award categories visit now. 

Admission is free to all three exhibitions.

Passion for Freedom 

The annual PASSION FOR FREEDOM Art Festival is a rare collection of international works of "courageous artists" who have answered three pivotal questions:

What is freedom?

How easy is it to lose it?

How hard is it to get it back?

Passion for Freedom is at Mall Galleries between 21 - 26 September. For more information on the artists and work on show visit now. 

September finishes with an exhibition of wildlife sculpture from Bruce LittleSelf-taught and instinctual, Bruce Little sculpts to capture the spirit of the wild African creatures he has observed and guarded for most of his life as a Ranger and Conservationist in the game reserves of Londolozi and Singita in South Africa.



Call for Entries

The Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition is open for submissions from Monday 7 September at noon. The RBA seeks submissions of work displaying the highest standards of skill, expression and concept of draughtsmanship. For more information about how to submit your work visit the RBA's Call for Entries page now.

Submissions for the Columbia Threadneedle Prize continue throughout September.  The Columbia Threadneedle Prize is one of the UK's most valuable art prizes with a First Prize of £20,000 plus your own exhibition at Mall Galleries. 

Submission also continue to be received for the Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2016. The Pastel Society seeks the best in contemporary dry media, combining traditional skills with creative originality. 

Work for these Open Exhibitions must be submitted online using the Mall Galleries Open Exhibition Submission Website

For those artists who have been pre-selected for the Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Exhibition 2015 the receiving day for works is 13 September between 10am - 5pm with the Final Selection on Monday 14 and Selection Notification published on Tuesday 15 September from 2pm


Image credit

Self Portrait 1976, Charlotte Johnson Wahl

Juliette Palmer RBA (1930 – 2015)

It is with sadness that we report the passing of the artist Juliette Palmer, member of the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA).

Palmer exhibited very regularly at Mall Galleries throughout her career, for twenty-five years with the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, fifteen years with the New English Art Club, and twenty years with the Royal Society of British Artists, of which Juliette was a loyal member.

Juliette Palmer RBA, Duomo Palermo Stupendo

Palmer will be well remembered for her watercolours, which she painted with simple and straightforward tools – just a sable brush, artist’s watercolour tubes, a B pencil (or thereabouts) and a soft eraser on watercolour paper – which gave, in Juliette’s own words: “ evocation of place that will rekindle the viewer’s own fugitive experience.” Palmer was especially pleased whenever her work conveyed the impact of a newly discovered place, grasping its essence by the use of some particular colours, or some slightly quirky focus or viewpoint.

Juilette Palmer RBA, Under the Pembrokeshire Sky

Palmer studied at the East Essex School of Art from 1946 to 1950, the Institute of Education, London, from 1950 to 1951, before working as an art and craft teacher in secondary schools during the 1950s. As an artist, Juliette exhibited her paintings at galleries nationwide, for which she won many awards and prizes, including the 1996 Laing Landscape Competition and the St. Cuthbert’s Mill Prize at the Royal West of England Academy in 2000. Particularly close to Palmer’s heart was her work as author, illustrator and designer of her own children’s books.

Juilette Palmer, Fonduk Marrakesh

Image credit

Juliette Palmer RBA, Fonduk Marrakesh (detail)

August at Mall Galleries

Tom Coates Mall Galleries

No slowing down for Summer at Mall Galleries during August with three exhibitions, a variety of Summer Masterclasses, and an Open Exhibition Submission Deadline early in the month. Plus news on Pastel Society's 2016 Annual Open Exhibition. 


August begins with 'Light and Land on The Mall', a landscape photography exhibition showcasing work from around the world. After the success of the exhibition in 2014 Light and Land have opened it to a wider audience - this year there will be up to 100 exhibitors selected from open submission.

During the exhibition, visitors and exhibitors will have the opportunity to attend a series of talks by leading photographers, and to have their images critiqued by some of our expert leaders. Visit the Light and Land website for more information.

The video below gives an idea of what an exhibition of this type is all about - and why you might like to attend.

Read The Independent and The Telegraph's preview of the exhibition.



Light and Land on The Mall

2 to 10 August

Admission Free


At the end of the month 122 new works by Rosa Sepple, member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and the Society of Women Artists will be on display in the Main Gallery. All of the works are featured in Rosa’s new book 'Out of the Blue' which will be launched at Mall Galleries on August 24

All the works are available to browse and buy online now at Adrian Hill Fine Art

Rosa Sepple RI SWA Out of the Blue

24 to 29 August

Admission Free


August is also a busy month for the Hesketh Hubbard Art Society.

Between 17 to 22 August there is a rare chance to join the Hesketh Hubbard Art Society for a series of life drawing classes. The classes are untutored, but mutual support and critique among participants is encouraged. Membership of The Hesketh Hubbard is highly sought after, so this is a great opportunity to take part in the Society, which has held weekly life drawing classes since 1930.

The classes for one day of life drawing are priced at £35 full price, £25 concession and £20 Mall Galleries Friends

To book your day of life drawing, call 020 7930 6844

Luigi Vanzan, Persephone

After a week of life drawing classes the Hesketh Hubbard Art Society are holding their Annual Exhibition in the North Gallery at Mall Galleries. The Annual Exhibition showcases the variety of styles and media in figure studies and portraits produced by the members throughout the year. A range of imaginative and traditional compositions will be on display.

Throughout August Hesketh Hubbard are also due to meet four times for their usual untutored Life Drawing sessions. 

The Hesketh Hubbard Art Society Annual Exhibition

24 to 29 August

Admission Free


Call for Entries

The Society of Wildlife Artists Call for Entries closes at Noon Friday August 7 so those wishing to exhibit their wildlife art with some of the most talented wildlife artists in the UK must submit their work online before this date. 

Members of the Society of Wildlife Artists will be spending that weekend poring over the images that have been submitted online. Artists will need to log in to the Online Exhibition Submission Site after Noon on Friday August 14. 

Further SWLA reading


The Pastel Society Call for Entries for their Annual Exhibition in 2016 opens on Monday 3 August at 12 Noon. Artists have three months to submit their work. To get an idea of the kind of work the Pastel Society are encouraging to artists to submit Look Again at the Prize Winners at the 2015 Annual Exhibition

The Natural Eye Art Book One


Summer Masterclasses

August also sees the return of the Summer Masterclasses at Mall Galleries led by members of the Federation of British Artists. Due to popular demand many of the workshops are already booked up but there are still two classes available to book on to. 

Robin-Lee Hall, President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters for a day long Masterclass in portrait sketching in oils. Visit the event page for further information on how to book

Also join RBA Member Carole Griffin for a masterclass using only black and white chalks, find out how to create space, depth, shape, texture and light.

Both of these Masterclasses are priced at £80 Full Price, £75 Concession, £65 Friends of Mall Galleries

Book your place by phoning us on 020 7930 6844 with your credit, debit or Friends card to hand.

Image credit

Tom Coates, Early Beachcomers, Algarve

The Natural Eye - Art Book One

Society of Wildlife Artists Art Book One

For the first time in its 50 year history the Society has produced its very own book of members' work.

This stunning new book celebrates contemporary art inspired by nature. It showcases the breadth of talent, creativity and the very high standard of contemporary British artists working in the field of wildlife art today. With almost 60 works included, every page is illustrated with a commentary by each artist on how and why their art was made. This gives a vivid insight into their many artistic journeys and styles, including sculpture, hand-made prints and paintings in a variety of mediums. 

  • Introduction by naturalist and broadcaster Chris Packham,
  • Founder and past President Robert Gillmor gives an insight into the history of the Society,
  • Current President Harriet Mead writes about the Society as it reaches its 50th year,
  • Former President, Bruce Pearson looks to the future and how funds raised through this book could help emerging artists and conservation.

The book was inspired by the annual original artwork draw of donated work by Society members to help fund their organisation. This is the first time the Society has published members' work in one volume. The Natural Eye Art Book One is the first in a series to be published biennially, to appeal to collectors, naturalists and art enthusiasts alike.

Buy The Natural Eye Art Book One Now

Robert Gillmor MBE

Robert Gillmor MBE

Founding Member of the Society of Wildlife Artists, Robert Gillmor has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Current President of the SWLA Harriett Mead congratulated Robert saying:

'The SWLA is thrilled that Robert Gillmor has received this honour. His energy and enthusiasm led to the founding of this Society and he has been integral to its success throughout our 52 year history. President for 10 years, secretary for more, catalogue designer, exhibition hanger - his contribution to the Society is too long to list and he continues to be an active and key part of the charity. It is testament to his immense talent that he has been a prolific and sought after artist since a teenager. He has helped and inspired countless individuals and supported conservation charities throughout his career. The MBE is a richly deserved acknowledgement of his humble generosity and far reaching inspiration.'

In October 2013 we visited Robert at his home and studio to discuss his career, founding the Society Of Wildlife Artists and how the Society became a Member of the Federation of British Artists

Everyone at the Federation of British Artists and the Society of Wildlife Artists would like to offer their congratulations to Robert Gillmor MBE PPSWLA.

If you would like to exhibit your Wildlife Art alongside Robert Gillmor MBE PPSWLA you can submit to the Society of Wildlife Artists Open Exhibition. The closing date for submissions is 7 August. All work must be submitted online

John Deston: Thirty Years at Mall Galleries

John Deston Mall Galleries

John, our wonderful Gallery & Events Manager has been looking after Mall Galleries for over 30 years. We chat to him about his experiences over the years, his love of working here and he reveals a few of his memorable moments.

This interview first appeared in the Friends' Quarterly Newsletter. If you would like to recieve these emails sign up as Friend of Mall Galleries today.

What’s it been like working at Mall Galleries for 30 years?

Honestly? I would say exhausting! But the most amazing fun, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of my time here.

It’s a full on role, very stimulating and exciting as everything changes so often and so quickly – but that’s what makes it always interesting to be here.

I love all the people that visit the gallery. Our Friends are wonderful, I’ve gotten to know so many of them personally over the years. I’ve also become great friends with many of the member artists. It’s wonderful to be able to see artists' styles and careers develop over the years.

How many people can say they get paid to do a job they love? Chatting to people they really like and organizing amazing events. I feel very privileged to have done this job.


How did you manage to get to work here and be promoted to Gallery and Events Manager …and what did you do before you started?

I originally worked in engineering and then for a technical publications business (nowhere near as inspiring as working at Mall Galleries!).

My first introduction to Mall Galleries was roughly in 1983 when I started occasionally helping a friend out when it was busy here, just as a favour – he was working as the Weekend Manager, so I would help out on the gallery desk, welcoming visitors and selling paintings.

After several years of helping out on an ad hoc basis, I distinctly remember the date and time: it was 9.50am on 20th February 1985, and Oliver Warman (the then CEO and an RBA member) and I had been chatting about the future of the FBA (there were 16 member societies then) and he was so impressed with my knowledge of what went on here that he offered me the role of full time Gallery Manager, on the spot!

Then in 1996, the Events Manager left and I took on that role as well and I’ve done both ever since.


Can you tell us about any memorable moments here?

There have been so many, but perhaps one of the great ones was the centenary show from the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, curated by the wonderful Daphne Todd PPRP. Her Majesty, the Queen opened the show …that was quite a moment!

I’ve also enjoyed working on some of the major prize shows such as the Threadneedle Prize and the Discerning Eye, they are always incredibly fun to organize.


Any memorable ones for the ‘wrong’ reason?

Ah, yes, there was another RP show where the Prince of Wales was visiting and due to make a speech.

Just hours before he arrived, we were checking the PA system, for the umpteenth time …and it literally blew up! Total panic!

Luckily, we managed to find a very helpful company who put a temporary one in and it started working just as Prince Charles arrived. It was definitely one where I was on tenterhooks until I knew for sure it would all be sorted.


Any final comments?

Only that with constant improvements to the galleries and benefits to our Friends, Artists and Clients, I feel Mall Galleries has a great future.

I still feel privileged to work with such a small team of similarly enthusiastic members of staff.

Royal Society of Marine Artists Call for Entries

The Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition is open for submission from 6 April, 12 Noon. 

The RSMA seeks submissions of painting and sculpture that involve the sea and the marine environment, including harbours and shorelines, traditional craft and contemporary shipping, creeks, beaches, wildlife - in short anything that involves tidal water. 

If you are thinking of submitting work to this years RSMA Open Annual Exhibition then the Prize Winners from the 2014 exhibition, listed below, may help you decide what to submit this year. Of the eight prizes awarded last year five were awarded to non-member artists who came through the pre-selection process. 

For more information about how to submit to the Royal Society of Marine Artists visit the Call for Entries page. 

The Artists Magazine Award

Douglas Gray RSMA - Cromer Point

The Charles Pears Award

Jamal Akib - Pull

The Classic Boat Prize

Brian Jones - Lulworth, Mariquita and Moonbeam

The R K Burt Canson And Arches Award

John Lines RSMA - River Tree Departure

The Russell & Chapple Prize

Keith Noble RSMA - Sunset, Rye Harbour

The Sea Pictures Gallery Award

Brian A Collins - Sea Trials II

The Derek Gardner 'Sea and Sky' Award

Robert Grimson - The Kathleen & May in Mounts Bay

The Irish Ambassador hosts Press Conference to launch first exhibition of Irish Art in UK for over 30 years

Art of a Nation Michael Portilo

Our major forthcoming loan exhibition, ‘The Art of a Nation: Irish Works from the Allied Irish Banks and Crawford Art Gallery Collections’, was announced on Monday at a special press conference held in the Irish Embassy.  Ireland’s Ambassador, Mr Daniel Mulhall, was joined for the occasion by AIB chairman Richard Pym and Mall Galleries’ chairman Michael Portillo.  

The exhibition, which opens at Mall Galleries on 13 May 2015, offers gallery visitors in London and across the UK with their first opportunity in over thirty years to view an outstanding collection of Irish painting, sculpture and photography covering the period 1900 to the present day. 

During the twentieth century, many Irish artists studied or practised in England before returning to put the ‘Irishness’ into Irish art.  Some of these artists exhibited with the same art societies that still exhibit at Mall Galleries each year: Aloysius O’Kelly exhibited with the ROI, the RI and the RBA; Roderic O’Conor, Sir William Orpen and Sir John Lavery all exhibited with the NEAC; Letitia Hamilton and F.E. McWilliam both exhibited with the RBA.  Director Lewis McNaught speaking at the conference drew attention to these strong historic links that exist between the art societies that exhibit at Mall Galleries today and those many Irish artists who exhibited with these same societies in the past.

Some of the artists in ‘The Art of a Nation’ will be familiar to UK gallery visitors, like Jack B Yeats, Sir William Orpen, William Scott, Willie Doherty and Sean Scully.  Others will be less familiar, but they contributed no less to Ireland’s rich culture and heritage. As yesterday’s column in The Irish Times noted, ‘it’s especially valuable that the work of such higher profile figures will be seen in its immediate context, historically and communally’.

Make sure you check our Events pages for full details of special events during the exhibition, open daily 10am-5pm from May 13-31.



1) Mall Galleries chairman Michael Portillo, AIB chairman Richard Pym and the Irish Ambassador Daniel Mulhall

2) A selection of paintings from the exhibition was available to demonstrate the range and quality of the collection

3) Anthony J Lester, co-curator of the exhibition, discusses ‘Corpus Christi Procession’ (1880) by Aloysius O’Kelly


Photo credits: Andy Barnham ( 

ArtStart Project with Eastside Educational Trust

A fun video with ArtStart project participants from London Fields Primary School, created by our friends at Eastside. The group visited the 2014 Threadneedle Prize and spent a day exploring the exhibition and discovering what goes on behind the scenes at Mall Galleries.