2021 is special for us, marking 50 years since Mall Galleries opened and the 60th anniversary of the Federation of British Artists.

The Federation of British Artists at Mall Galleries is the national focal point for contemporary figurative art.

We believe in figurative art's power to tease the mind, provoke the eye, demand attention, offer new perspectives, intrigue, and trigger the imagination.

The Federation comprises several leading national art societies; each society is regarded as a flagship for the art forms they champion, and all host their annual exhibitions at Mall Galleries. 

The art societies are:

Between them, the nine societies that make up the Federation of British Artists exhibit around 3,000 works of art on our walls every year.

Figurative Art Now

To celebrate its 60th anniversary, the Federation of British Artists is launching a new online figurative art prize and exhibition – Figurative Art Now.

At a time when representational and figurative painting is enjoying a welcome return to popularity, and as society re-emerges into the light after the global pandemic, this exhibition will lift the spirits and allow the public to appreciate and buy new works in a wide range of mediums.

An eminent panel of judges will select the work and allocate the prizes.  The judges are:

  • Jo Baring, Director of the Ingram Collection
  • Andrew Gifford, Artist
  • Clare O’Brien, CEO Federation of British Artists
  • Barbara Walker, Artist
  • Jonathan Watkins, Director of the ICON Gallery

Prizes include a solo exhibition at Mall Galleries and a £5,000 cash prize. 

Figurative Art Now will be exhibited at www.mallgalleries.org.uk from 5 July to 15 September.  

All works will be for sale.

Submit your work now

The Establishment of the Federation of British Artists

The history of how the Federation of British Artists was founded is a history of changes in the arts. Many of the Societies that make up the Federation were originally founded as alternatives to the Royal Academy when the Academy dominated the UK art market – if your work wasn’t accepted to be shown at the Royal Academy, there wasn’t really anywhere else to show it. Groups like the Royal Society of British Artists (founded 1823) and the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (founded 1831) offered artists an alternative venue to show their work and spend time with like-minded artists.

By the middle of the 20th century, the art gallery scene in London and the UK was very different. There were many galleries and spaces where artists could exhibit and sell their works, which meant that these Societies maintaining their own galleries and premises became much less important.

In 1961, many of these Societies joined forces and pooled their resources to create the Federation of British Artists. By this time, art itself had changed, with abstraction and conceptual pieces being the style in favour. The Societies making up the Federation focus on figurative and representational art, so the function has changed somewhat from being one of only a few places to exhibit to specialising in exhibiting representational work. 

More on the History of the Federation of British Artists