The Royal Society of Portrait Painters invites artists from all over the world to submit portraits for our Annual Exhibition in 2021.

The final exhibition is selected by leading portrait painters and being selected is a mark of distinction. Selected artists will have their work exhibited in a prestigious showcase at The Mall Galleries in Central London at which a number of works will sell and a number of commissions will be placed. There is also the chance to win a number of prizes and awards totalling over £43,000.

The Society welcomes paintings, drawings and original prints including digital/ipad prints from artists over 18, from the UK and internationally to be shown alongside members of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters at their Annual Exhibition.

Please click here to view a list of the works selected for the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition 2021. Congratulations to all the selected artists and thank you to everyone applied to the 2021 exhibition!


The deadline for submissions via this online portal is 25 January 2021, 12 noon.

Please ensure you have read the Terms & Conditions before entering to ensure your work is eligible for submission.


Due to the current Covid19 pandemic, the Royal Society of Portrait Painters reserves the right to select the exhibition from a digital submission only.


Entry to the Royal Society of Portrait Painters are subject to the following:

  • Any artist over 18 may submit.
  • All mediums aside from sculpture and photography are acceptable.
  • Work must have been completed in the last three years and not been exhibited in London previously.
  • Works must have a minimum sale price of £300. Works may be listed as not for sale – if your work is not for sale, please input the price as ‘NFS’ when prompted.
  • The price of works for sale must include 45% + VAT commission.
  • A maximum of three works can submitted for selected. It is possible for all three entries to be selected
  • Works should not be larger than 2.4m along the longest dimension.
  • Note that artists accepted for exhibition will be invited to advertise portrait commissions through our Commissions department on which a commission will be payable.


The submission fee is £20 per work for standard entries and £14 per work for artists aged 35 or under. This includes free admission to the exhibition (normally £4).


  • William Lock Portrait Prize -£20,000 for the most timeless portrait with a real feeling for paint and its aesthetic potential
  • The Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture – £10,000 plus the Society’s Gold Medal awarded for the most distinguished portrait in the Society’s annual exhibition.
  • The RP Award – £2,000 will be awarded to the artist whose work best represents this year’s chosen theme – Childhood. The judges will be looking for the most interesting and engaging interpretation of the idea of ‘chilhood’ within the parameters of portraiture. Please note that works submitted to the annual exhibition do not need to depict the theme of Childhood but only works that fit within that theme will be considered for the RP Award.
  • The RP Prize for the Best Small Portrait – A prize of £2,000 for the best small portrait in the exhibition, measuring not more than 38 x 30.5 cm (15 x 12 inches) framed
  • The de Laszlo Foundation Award – £3,000 plus a Silver Medal for the most outstanding portrait by an artist aged 35 years or under
  • The Prince of Wales’s Award for Portrait Drawing – £2,000 and framed certificate for a portrait in any recognised drawing medium
  • The Burke’s Peerage Foundation Award – The Burke’s Peerage Foundation Award, established by its co-founders Mark Ayre and William Bortrick in 2015, is presented for Classically Inspired Portraiture in the RP Annual Exhibition. It is presented each year with a certificate and a cheque for £2,000.
  • The Smallwood Architects Prize – £1,000 for a portrait in which architectural or interior features play an important part.


The exhibition will be shown at the Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1Y 5BD in May 2021.


The exhibition is selected by a committee of elected members of the society – all leading and currently practising portrait painters.

Please note that selectors’ decisions are final and we are unable to offer feedback.

Following the Submission Deadline on 25 January 2021, the committee will review all the entries submitted. Artists will be notified of the results of pre-selection on 15 February 2021. Shortlisted works will then go through a second round of selection. Those artists will be notified of the final results on 9 March 2021.


Artworks selected for delivery to the Federation of British Artists, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1 must adhere to the following:

  • 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.
  • Paintings should be completely dry at the time of delivery.
  • Any work uncollected on the specified collection date/s will be stored at a separate location and the artist will be charged a storage fee.

Selected works are to be handed in to the Federation of British Artists, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1 on Friday 23 April only.

International artists may send their works by post to Federation of British Artists, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1.


Artists from outside the UK may need to register for VAT, please check with HM Revenue and Customs:

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: 0044 (0)1302 711011 / Mobile: 07833 450788 /  Email:


SUBMISSION DEADLINEMonday 25 January 2021, 12pm
EXHIBITION OPENS AT THE MALL GALLERIES, THE MALL, LONDON SW1Thursday 6 - Saturday 15 May 2021, 11am to 4pm
COLLECTION OF UNSOLD WORKThursday 20 May and Friday 21 May, 10am to 5pm

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