Updates from Mall Galleries - the national focal point for contemporary figurative art, and home to the Federation of British Artists. Includes written content and photo essays from our Exhibitions, Call for Entries, Art Consultancy.

My Second Month at Mall Galleries


In August we introduced you to our new Digital Assistant, Sasha Enticknap, who is working at Mall Galleries for one year on an apprenticeship programe.

In this month's update Sasha reveals what she's learnt in her two week training course and experiences back at the Gallery with Society of Wildlife Artists exhibition online.

The end of October signifies the end of my second month of working at Mall Galleries. Over the past month I have been provided with the chance to use the skills that I have been developing and what I had learnt during September, both at work and at Step Forward.

In the middle of October I spent two weeks with Step Forward as part of block training for my course. During these two weeks I used what I had learnt in September to create a website for my own fictional social media marketing business. I learnt what preparation is involved in creating a website , how it needs to have a structure, a theme and a colour scheme.

I created all the graphics that would be used in the website. This involved creating professional looking graphics and making sure that the dimensions were exactly right so that they fitted onto the page.

I did have a few problems whilst creating the website, sometimes I couldn’t manage to get the image dimensions right and the table that I used for the structure of the website didn’t always place sections exactly how I wanted them but in the end I created a professional website I was proud of

When I have been at Mall Galleries I was given various different tasks, during the first week of October I helped upload part of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters upcoming exhibition onto the website.

Another task that I’ve been given whilst at work included taking photographs during the Society of Wildlife Artists private view, which tested my reaction timing and my judgement on when to take a photograph as I had very little time to take a picture of someone receiving an award.

I was able to sit in on Darren Rees’ SWLA talk about his trip in the Antarctic aboard the HMS Protector. During the talk I made notes and took photographs of Darren speaking and of people looking at his sketchbooks.. I also tweeted quotes and photos I had taken during the talk.

I did come across one problem due to lighting as the lights were turned off in order for people to see the slideshow, I tested out what a photo would look like and took a couple during the talk when I felt that it was as good of a shot as I could take however most of the photos that was taken during the event was after the talk when the lighting was more ideal.

Outside of my work and coursework I also encountered other challenges. During the past month I had to learn how to budget my money for the first time and make sure that I had enough money to pay for all of my expenses whilst also getting estimates of how much things would cost me.

Travel was another challenge to me, there has been an occasion where my normal route has disrupted my journey to work and has caused me to search for an alternate route into getting into work.

October has been a challenging yet interesting month for me and I have enjoyed it immensely. During November I hope to continue facing new challenges and have more opportunities to further develop my skills and knowledge.

I can’t wait.

Sasha Enticknap


Image credit

Darren Rees, King Colony (detail)

My First Month at Mall Galleries

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Last month we introduced you to our new Digital Assistant, Sasha Enticknap, who is working at Mall Galleries for one year on an apprenticeship programe.

In this post Sasha reveals what she's learnt in her first month, from social media skills and Photoshop, to publishing the forthcoming Society of Wildlife Artists exhibition online.

Now that September is over and October is starting, I have worked at Mall Galleries for a month. During this month I have learnt many new things about the role that social media plays in the business world as well as been challenged by the tasks that I have been set whilst working here.

From the lessons that I have taken at Step Forward, I have learnt how to use basic HTML, the theory of tribalism and how to use Photoshop to develop the basic skills that I will need for one of my modules which I will be studying over the next month whilst also providing me with basic skills that I would need whilst at work.

Whilst doing the many tasks I have had over the past month whilst working at Mall Galleries, I have had to apply my knowledge of basic HTML through uploading blog posts to the website and adding images to the body of the page.

On top of that, the tribalism theory that I have studied for the past month, has helped me with my research into different social media platforms and how we can target different ‘tribes’ of people and connect with them.

Lastly, during my lessons I have had time to use Photoshop and explore more complex ways of editing images. Although I have not applied the more complex ways of editing images, such as creating a ripple effect, in the workplace, I have still used skills that I have learnt before or from either my lessons or through Liam to edit images in Photoshop and make them ready for the website or for editing a video.

During my Personal Development sessions, I have worked with other associates on different pathways, as well as my own, and discussed scenarios that could possibly come up whilst at work as well as our own personal experiences that we have had, what has gone well, what hasn’t and our solutions.

However, I have done more than upload blog posts, research social media platforms and edit images on photoshop. Whilst at work I have learnt how to create an online exhibition for the website, the importance of the size of an image that you are uploading to the website, how to send bulk emails via MailChimp and how to create an interactive form from scratch to upload onto the website.

Some of these different tasks have been more challenging than others, whereas editing an image to make it’s size more appropriate to upload an image to the website was relatively easy to do, uploading an online catalogue for an upcoming exhibition challenged both my ability to focus and my time keeping ability.

But academia is not the only important thing that I have learnt whilst working at Mall Galleries, I have also had to learn how to adapt to a new environment. I have previously never worked in an office. I have had to see how others act and interact to understand the roles that each of my colleagues have as well as what is appropriate and what isn’t appropriate within the office.

One problem that I have faced whilst working here is where everything is and how to move between places. Within the first week I will admit I did get lost within the building whilst searching for the Main Gallery, however once I had used the route a couple of times it hasn’t been a problem since.

But, overall I have had a fantastic first month at Mall Galleries and have greatly enjoyed it. So far I have had no regrets on what I have done, and have worked to the best of my ability which I hope has been apparent through the work I’ve done so far as well as through my actions.

Over the next month I would like to successfully balance out both work and coursework, as I know that I will be starting a big module soon, as well as to continue to work to the best of my ability and face new challenges.

Bring on October!

Sasha Enticknap

Image credit

Alan Runagall RSMA, Home from the Race, River Orwell

October at Mall Galleries

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The Royal Society of Marine Artists and Society of Wildlife Artists return to Mall Galleries this month alongside two other popular exhibitions. There is also a busy month Call For Entries-wise with the deadline for submissions to The Columbia Threadneedle Prize fast approaching. 


Art for Youth

6 to 9 October

October begins with Art for Youth London exhibition which raises funds for the national charity, UK Youth, who support young people through a range of creative programmes to gain life-skills that build confidence, resilience and make them more employable.


Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers Exhibition 2015

13 to 25 October

Later in the month the UK’s foremost showcase for contemporary miniature art, the highly esteemed Royal Miniature Society’s (RMS) annual exhibition comprises around 700 works each within a size limit of 6 by 4 inches.

Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition

14 to 25 October

Margaret Heath RSMA, Sunrise at Tenby

Join the Royal Society of Marine Artists for their 70th Annual Exhibition celebrating the sea and the marine environment in all its variety. 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 exhibition opens on 16 October but you can preview the majority of the exhibition online now.

During the exhibition members will be tutoring practical painting workshops in the Learning Centre (bookable in advance) and giving free demonstrations in the gallery.

There will also be a special Commissioning Conversation evening. Part of a series of events exploring the possibilities of commissioning art, Geoff Hunt PPRMSA, Dolores de Sade and Jeff Stultiens RP discuss their most recent commissions connected to the sea. Tickets for this event are £5 or free to Friends of Mall Galleries.

More from the Royal Society of Marine Artists


The Natural Eye 2015

29 October to 8 November

Dafilia Scott SWLA, Swifts over the Fen

Our exhibitions come to an end in October with the Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Exhibition. The exhibition shows a range of contemporary work from both members and non-members which celebrates the wild whether it is close to home or further afield.

With the exhibition at the end of the month works from the exhibition are available to Browse & Buy online now.

There will be a number of events held during the exhibition including artist’s talks, portfolio day and printmaking workshops with Robert Greenhalf, Max Angus, and Kim Atkinson among others.

Admission to the exhibition is £3 (£2.50 concessions) or free to Friends of Mall Galleries.

More from the Society of Wildlife Artists


Call for Entries

The Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours

Open for Submisssions: 12 Noon, Monday 5 October

The RI seeks the best in contemporary watercolour and watermedia painting. Since its foundation in 1831, the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) has promoted the essentially English art of watercolour. The RI was formed to exhibit the best watercolours and to show non-members’ works alongside that of members, a policy still followed today.

If you are thinking of submitting work to the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours exhibition then you can browse the 2015 exhibition now or if you wish to see which works caught caught the Prize Givers' eyes in 2015 you can see these works here

The Columbia Threadneedle Prize

Deadline to submit work: 12 Noon, Thursday 16 October

October sees the deadline to submit to one of the most valuable art prizes in the UK, awarded for figurative and representational art. Artists living or working in the UK and Europe are encouraged to submit fresh and topical paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, 3D works or reliefs that will excite our international panel of selectors. 

The overall winner of The Columbia Threadneedle Prize will receive £20,000 plus a solo exhibition in the Threadneedle Space at Mall Galleries. Five shortlisted artists each receive £1,000. The Visitors’ Choice Award, voted by visitors to the exhibition in London, is £10,000. 

In an unprecedented exchange, many of the works selected for the Columbia Threadneedle Prize exhibition at Mall Galleries, London in February 2016 will be invited to go on tour to Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, the city’s largest temporary exhibition space, for a special four-week exhibition opening in June 2016.

The Pastel Society

Deadline to submit work: 12 Noon, Friday 6 November

Though not in October itself, the deadline for submissions to the Pastel Society is early in November so warrants a mention in this round-up of events at Mall Galleries during October. 

The Pastel Society seeks the best in contemporary dry media, combining traditional skills with creative originality. If you are interested in submitting work to the Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2016 then Look Again at the 2015 exhibition to see the style of work that was on show there. Alternatively, take a look at the Prize Winners from the 2015 Exhibition.

Submit now to our Open Exhibitions via the Online Exhibition Submission System

Image credit

Dafilia Scott SWLA, Swifts over the Fen (detail)

The Federaton of British Artists takes a Step Forward

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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

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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 charlottejohnsonwahl.com 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 bwpawards.org 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 passionforfreedom.co.uk 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)

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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: “...an 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

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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


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


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, 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.