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.

Why enter?

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

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

Prizes & Awards

There are many prizes and awards available to win, including:

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: A prize of £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 for an outstanding work in the exhibition by Frank Herring & Sons

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 to a work chosen by John Purcell

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

How to Submit

A single-stage virtual 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

Note: Images must be in JPEG or PNG format and under 5MB. The judges will make their decision based on these images, therefore 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 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

Conditions of Entry


  • Any artist over 18 may submit, in the UK, EU, and outside the EU.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Works must have been completed within the last two years and should not have been previously shown in London.
  • A maximum of six works may be submitted, from which a maximum of four works may be selected.

Entry Fee

  • There is a non-refundable submission fee of £20 per work for standard entries and £14 per work for artists aged 35 or under. The entry fee includes free admission to the exhibition, normally £5.

Presentation, Delivery & Collection

  • Frames must be robust enough to withstand mirror plating with 12mm size 6 screws for hanging purposes.
  • No hooks are required and there should be no projections whatsoever from the back of frames. This is to prevent damage to other works.
  • Metal frames and clip frames are inadmissible. Frames and mounts of an unusual colour, size or design may prejudice the chance of selection.
  • Packaging from delivered works cannot be retained and must be taken away at the point of delivery. We are unable to wrap works or provide wrapping materials for any works being returned.
  • Any uncollected works may 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.
  • Artists are responsible for the full costs of delivery and collection.
  • Artists sending work from abroad should use a picture carrier. Many artists use Picture Post Art as they offer a packing and delivery service for our exhibitions (we do not accept any liability for their services). Picture Post Art - Tel: 07833 450788 / Email:


  • The Selection Committee is formed of artist members of the Institute.
  • Selectors' decisions are final and we are unable to offer feedback.
  • 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 rejected. All rejected artworks will need to be collected from Mall Galleries by the artist at their expense.


  • All work must be for sale. Minimum price: £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 of works must include commission of 45%+VAT. If an artist is registered for VAT, then the VAT due on the selling price of the works should be included in the price submitted.
  • Once work has been submitted, any sale made by the gallery before or during the course of the exhibition shall take precedence and supersede one made privately. Any private sale will incur the normal commission.
  • The price provided is the selling price and is the price that the work must be sold at. This price can only be changed by prior written agreement between the gallery and the artist of the relevant work. The gallery reserves the right to query the price of works.
  • International Artists: 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 sold at 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 Revenue & 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.

Intellectual Property Rights

  • All works must be an original creation by the artist.
  • 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.
  • The gallery has the right to reproduce works in connection with the exhibition.

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. 

Liability & Indemnity

  • The gallery is not responsible for any loss of, or any damage to, works entrusted to them. All goods are at 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.

Art Couriers

Mainland UK

If you are unable to deliver or collect your work in person, the following art couriers may be able to do so on your behalf:


Art Moves of Chelsea

London, Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Bristol


Tel: 020 7352 7492 

Art Moves of Chelsea will be collecting artworks for the RI 212th Exhibition from Bristol on Friday 8 March, 12 noon to 2pm.


Picture Post Art

Scotland, the North of England and Birmingham


Tel: 07833 450788


3 Lanes Transport

Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset


Tel: 01736 799298 / 07970 948324


JD Art Transport

Leicester, Loughborough, Coventry, Birmingham and Nottingham


Tel: +447825339787


Mid Wales Freight



Tel: 07866 731400 / 01974 282500


A S Elvin Transport Ltd



Tel: 01502 677025


Aardvark Art Services


Tel: 01253 794673


Artists with Transit Van



Artists sending work from abroad should use a picture carrier. Many artists use Picture Post Art as they offer a packing and delivery service for our exhibitions:


Picture Post Art



Tel: 07833 450788


We do not accept any liability for their services

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