Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours

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Artists are invited to submit work for exhibition alongside members of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours at the RI Exhibition 2024

The Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) seeks the best in contemporary watercolour and watermedia painting for the RI 212th Exhibition.

The show, in spring 2024, offers the opportunity to win prizes & awards worth over £5,000 and have your work seen by thousands of visitors to Mall Galleries. The exhibition is the largest of its kind in the world, featuring over 400 of the finest contemporary water-based media paintings from around the globe.

Since its founding in 1831, the RI has become universally recognised as one of the leading art institutes.

Submissions are now closed

Prizes & Awards

There are many prizes and awards available to win:

The Winsor & Newton Award: £3,000

The Winsor & Newton Product Prize: £1,000 worth of Winsor & Newton art materials

The RI Young Artist Award: £1,000 awarded to an artist aged between 18 and 25

The President’s Choice Award: An award of £750

The Anthony J Lester Art Critic Award: A certificate of commendation for an outstanding work chosen by the art critic and broadcaster Anthony J Lester

The Baohong Artists' Watercolour Paper Prizes: Two prizes of £250 worth of watercolour paper, awarded to a member and non-member for excellence

The Cass Art Prize: £200 of art supplies from Cass Art, awarded to a work demonstrating innovative use of colour

The Chaoshan Watercolour Award: £250 for the best classically inspired watercolour

The Debra Manifold RI Memorial Award: Presented by the Linda Blackstone Gallery, an award for the most innovative work in the exhibition

The Dry Red Press Award: The winning work will be published as a greeting card in the Dry Red Press 'Prize Winners' range, with royalties from the sale of the cards going to the artist

The Escoda Barcelona Award: A set of Escoda's finest brushes for an outstanding landscape painting

The Frank Herring Easel Award: An easel presented by Frank Herring & Sons for an outstanding work

The James Fletcher-Watson RI Award: £500 for the best use of watercolour in the exhibition

The John Purcell Paper Prize: Paper to the value of £100, awarded by John Purcell Paper

The Megan Fitzoliver Brush Award: A trophy, named The Pipe Fish, and bespoke brush awarded for a work that inspires a connection with the natural world

The Michael Harding Award: A varied selection of Michael Harding watercolour sets

The Richard Plincke RI Prize for Colour: An award of £250 for creative use of colour

The Schmincke Prize: A Horadam Aquarell Artists’ Watercolours set to an outstanding exhibitor

Subject to final confirmation

The RI continues to see the importance of an open exhibition where work by members and non-members can be shown together. We are especially proud to have almost a 50/50 split between them and are sure that this provides opportunity to artists, both emerging and established, as well as quality and variety to our visitors.

Chris Myers - President

Key Dates

Submissions open: Wednesday 8 November 2023, 12 noon

Submissions close: Friday 9 February 2024, 12 noon

Notification of selection: Friday 16 February, 12 noon

Receiving Day (if selected): Saturday 16 March, 10am to 5pm

Private View (invite only): Wednesday 27 March, 2pm to 8pm, official opening at 3pm

Exhibition opens: Thursday 28 March, 10am to 5pm daily

Exhibition closes: Saturday 13 April, 5pm

Collection of unsold work: Thursday 18 April, 10am to 5pm

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How to Submit

A single-stage online judging of all submitted works will take place, after which selected works should be delivered to Mall Galleries, London, for inclusion in the exhibition:

• Upload your work to our Open Exhibition Submission System (OESS) by 12 noon on Friday 9 February 2024

Images must be in JPEG or PNG format and under 5MB. The judges will make their decision based on these images, so please submit good quality photographs.

• Log in to the OESS from 12 noon on Friday 16 February to see if your work has been selected

• If selected, deliver your work on Saturday 16 March, 10am to 5pm, to Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD

Works should be delivered unwrapped with the relevant form and labels, which are downloadable upon notification of selection.

Important Information for Artists


Who may enter?

Any artist aged 18 or over may enter, from anywhere in the world. 

How many works may I enter?

Artists may enter a maximum of six works each, from which up to four works per artist may be selected. 

What type of work is eligible? 

Works must have been completed within the last two years and should not have been previously shown in London.

Works should not be larger than 240 cm high and 150 cm wide including the frame. The Selection Committee has the right to exclude paintings that are over this limit.

All works must be an original creation by the artist.

Acceptable media: 

Watercolour or water-soluble mediums including watercolour, acrylic, ink or gouache (excluding water-soluble oils) on any appropriate support.

Please specify the type of support (for example paper, board, wood, parchment, etc) as well as the medium.

Submission Fee

How much does it cost to enter?

There is a non-refundable submission fee of £20 per work, or £14 per work for artists aged 35 or under. 

The submission fee includes free admission to the exhibition (normally £5). 


How should I present my work?

All paintings must be well presented, and should be suitably framed (no metal or clips frames are permitted) and glazed with picture glass (except in special circumstances as below, or by prior arrangement with the RI).

Glazing in perspex and other similar transparent acrylic materials may be accepted, but only on works arriving from abroad or large works in frames exceeding 100 cm on the longest side.

All works submitted to the exhibition should be framed unless there is a genuine aesthetic reason for the work to remain unframed. If entering unframed work, please indicate it will be unframed in the artwork description. Artists entering unframed work do so at their own risk.

Frames or stretchers should be sufficiently substantial to withstand mirror plating with 12mm (size 6) screws.

Artists are advised to use plain, simple framing in a light or medium colour. 

Please remove all fittings and fixings from the back of frames, for example D-rings and picture wire. This is to prevent damage to other works, and because we will mirror-plate works for hanging. 

Delivery & Collection

Works should be delivered and collected on the specified receiving and collection days via the gallery's rear entrance at Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD. 

If you are unable to deliver or collect your work, you may send another person on your behalf – this may include an art courier (see below).

Artists are responsible for the costs of delivery and collection.


Works should be delivered unwrapped with the relevant form and labels, which are downloadable upon notification of selection.

All packaging must be taken away at the point of delivery. 


We are unable to wrap works or provide wrapping for works being returned. 

Any uncollected works will be removed from the gallery after the collection day and stored by an independent courier company at the artist's expense. 

If works are not collected within 12 months of the collection day, the gallery will be entitled to destroy, sell, or otherwise dispose of the works without consent, prior notification, or compensation to the artist. 

Art Couriers 

Below is a list of art couriers by region: 

• London, Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Bristol

Art Moves of Chelsea
020 7352 7492

• Scotland, the North of England and Birmingham 

Picture Post Art
07833 450788

Picture Post Art receive artwork for delivery to UK galleries: “handing in” unwrapped and storing packaging free of charge for reuse if required.

• Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset

3 Lanes Transport
01736 799298 / 07970 948324

• Leicester, Loughborough, Coventry, Birmingham and Nottingham

JD Art Transport
07825 339787

• Norfolk and Suffolk 

A S Elvin Transport Ltd
01502 677025

• Nationwide

Aardvark Art Services
01253 794673

• Wales

Mid Wales Freight
07866 731400 / 01974 282500

International Artists 

Many international artists use Picture Post Art to transport their work to and from Mall Galleries.

Picture Post Art arrange for the shipping of work from the artist's country to the UK, help artists to correctly fill out paperwork from customs, and store packaging for reuse if required. 

Picture Post Art
+ 44 7833 450788

Please note that we do not accept liability for the services of any art courier.


How are works selected for exhibition? 

The works for exhibition are selected by a committee formed of members of the Institute. 

If selected works arrive damaged, with unacceptable framing, size discrepancies from the original submission, not as shown online, or in the opinion of the Selection Committee as not being in the spirit of watercolour painting, then these will be withdrawn. All withdrawn artworks will need to be collected from Mall Galleries by the artist at their expense.

May I ask for feedback?

The decision of the Selection Committee is final and we are unable to offer feedback.

How are the prize winners selected?

The prize winning works are selected in time for the awards ceremony during the Private View, prior to the exhibition opening to the public. 


Does my work have to be for sale?

All work must be for sale.

Once work has been submitted, any sale made by the gallery before or during the course of the exhibition up to and including the collection day shall take precedence and supersede one made privately. Any private sale made in this period will incur the normal commission. 

How should I price my work?

There is a minimum price per work of £350.

Unless otherwise advised, the gallery will charge a commission on the total price paid for works, including commissioned works, before, during, or as a result of the exhibition. 

The price submitted should be the selling price, which should include commission, and is the price at which the work will be sold.

The price of works must include commission of 45% +VAT. If an artist is registered for VAT, then the VAT due on the selling price of works should be included in the price submitted. 

Mall Galleries reserves the right to query the price of works. 

May I change the price of my work once submitted?

The price of works may only be changed by written agreement between the artist and Mall Galleries. 

How will I know if my work has sold?

You will be notified by Mall Galleries if your work sells. 

I am an international artist, do I need to register for a UK VAT number to sell my work?

Artists who are not resident in the UK but are resident in the EU or elsewhere are welcome to submit work. If your work is selected for the exhibition, you have a responsibility to register and account for UK VAT with H.M. Revenue & Customs. 

Artists without a UK residence, known as 'NETPs' (non-established taxable persons) can find further details on 'NETP' status and how to register for VAT at (HM Revenues & Customs Reference: Notice 700/1, Mar 2014) under the heading 'Should I be registered for VAT?'

Please note: the registration process can take up to 4 weeks. Please address any questions you may have to the VAT Helpline on tel. no. 0300 200 3700 or Outside UK: +44 2920 501 261.

Personal Data

The gallery will hold personal data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). However, the gallery may provide third parties with an artist's contact details in the course of administering exhibitions, commissions and prizes.

The gallery has the right to reproduce works in connection with the exhibition. 

The copyright and all other intellectual property rights will remain with the artist. If any rights are owned by a third party, that third party will remain the owner. 

By submitting your contact details, you agree to be contacted about similar activities, such as artist opportunities and open calls organised by Mall Galleries / Federation of British Artists.


The gallery is not responsible for any loss of, or any damage to, works entrusted to them. All goods are at the artist owner's risk absolutely and the gallery and/or their agents exclude all liability to the maximum extent permitted by law. The galleries are used for various purposes and so artists are advised to insure their works against all risks. 

The gallery endeavours to take good care of works sent for exhibition, but in the event of a work sent being lost, destroyed or damaged, the gallery's liability (if any) shall not exceed the value of the work as stated at the time of submission (less 45% plus VAT) or any altered price subsequently. 

In the event of any dispute regarding loss or damage, the dispute shall be referred for final arbitration to an independent expert valuer to be chosen by agreement between the parties, provided that the arbitrator's award shall not exceed the gallery's maximum liability as above. 

Artists shall indemnify and keep indemnified the gallery against any actions between the artist and any third party.


If you require support with your application, please contact:

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