July 25, 2024


Art Shines Through

Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 211th Exhibition in 2023

Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 211th Exhibition in 2023

The OPEN Call for Entries for The Royal Institute of Water Colours (RI)
Annual Exhibition in 2023 has been published. 
It invites submissions from both International and British artists over 18 years of age. 

The RI’s annual exhibition has been described by Rosa Sepple, Former President of the RI

“the biggest exhibition of watercolour paintings in the world”

The deadline for entries for the 211th Exhibition of the Royal Institute
of Painters in Water Colours in early Spring 2023 is
Friday 6 January 2023, 12 noon

  • so three weeks earlier than last year! 
  • Something to focus your mind on
    over the Christmas Holidays – if not before!

I highly RECOMMEND this exhibition to ALL those who paint in
watercolour media – no matter what your subject or style.

I’m a big supporter of those art societies which try hard to recognise
that their annual exhibitions are

  • a major way of helping ’emerging artists’ with their careers –
  • finding good quality new members for the society in the

This exhibition offers:

  • several prizes and awards (see below)
  • the chance to have your work seen alongside artwork by RI members
  • the opportunity to exhibit at a prestigious gallery in the heart of London
  • have your work seen by very many visitors – some of whom regularly buy watercolour paintings

There are no images from the 2022 Annual Exhibition in this Call for Entries 

Call for Entries

The RI seeks the best in contemporary watercolour and water media painting.

You can READ the official details of the Call for Entries for the exhibition in 2022 in two places:

Below is a summary – but the rules you need to abide by are in the above links!

Who can submit

  • Any artist over 18 may submit
  • i.e. this open exhibition is open to international artists who live/work anywhere in the world. BUT – a word of caution from me
    • do make sure you understand what’s involved with international shipping, customs paperwork and VAT before you submit 
    • OR you may have a nasty surprise.

My page about Art Competitions & Juried Exhibitions provides some useful generic information for those who have never entered a juried exhibition before about

  • tips for entering juried exhibitions
  • outlines how artwork can make a good impression and get selected and
  • why artists typically fail to get selected.

What you can submit

  • Eligible media: Artwork in watercolour or water-soluble mediums including watercolour, acrylic, ink or gouache (BUT EXCLUDING water-soluble oils)
  • Acceptable Support: MUST be painted on paper or paper based support. I personally think they should also include vellum which is a very traditional support for watercolour painting. You could always try checking whether vellum is OK.
    • Work painted on Canvas or directly on to wood, glass or metal will not be accepted.
  • Number: You can submit a maximum of six works – of which a maximum of four works selected. Typically it’s candidates for membership who submit a large number of paintings. Note the metrics summarised above re the number likely to be chosen from those submitting via the open.
  • Size: Works must not be larger than 2.4m high and 1.5m wide. (NOTE: There is no minimum size!)
  • Age: Works must have been completed within the last two years
  • Previous Exhibitions: Works should NOT have been previously shown in London.
  • Price: The minimum price is £350 (to INCLUDE provision for deduction of the gallery’s commission @ 45% + VAT @20% on that commission).


Deduct 54% from the wall price to work out how much you’ll get – AFTER payment of VAT and BEFORE the costs of framing and transport – IF your artwork sells!

I’m gradually seeing some more sensible pricing of artworks – so I think some of you must have been reading and making notes what I’ve written before on this topic. If you are curious as to how artworks are priced – and what sells – I suggest you READ THIS.

Summary of Key Dates for Artists submitting an Open Entry

These are the key dates for all those wishing to submit work to this open exhibition. More details below.

  • Submission closes: Upload images of work at mallgalleries22.oess1.uk by Friday 6 January 2023, 12 noon [Note: Images must be in JPEG format and under 5MB]
  • Selection notification: Friday 13 January 2023, 12 noon [Log in to see if your work has been pre-selected]
  • Receiving Day: Saturday 11th March 2021, 10am – 5pm (NOTE: one day only for submission this year) – for those whose work has been selected via the virtual entry. That means you have two months to get your artwork framed, packed and shipped to the FBA Offices at Carlton House Terrace
  • Exhibition: 30th March – 8th April, 10am to 5pm

How to Submit

The process works as follows

  • READ the full terms and conditions
  • READ the specific entry requirements
  • REGISTER for digital submission – if you have never entered before
  • SUBMIT: ALL Selection is based on online entries and associated digital images. The selectors’ decisions are final and no feedback is offered.

TIP: The quality of the image of your artwork counts for a lot when selectors are looking for reasons not to select an artwork. How to photograph art – for artists (on my Art Business Info for Artists website) provides detailed information about how to produce a good quality digital image.

  • Login to the Open Exhibition Entry website
  • Complete the form
  • Pay the fee (£20 per artwork submitted or £14 per work for artists aged 35 or under).
  • Upload images of work [Note: Images must be in JPEG format and under 5MB]
  • Submit your entry ONLINE prior to the deadline (Friday 28 January 2022, 12 noon).

Prizes and Awards

There are many prizes and awards – open to both members and open entrants – including the following (subject to confirmation).

You can read the Mall Galleries’ blog post about a Q&A with last year’s prize winners HERE.

Cash Prizes

  • The Winsor & Newton Award: £3,000 awarded to an individual member or non-member
  • The Winsor & Newton Product Prize: £1,000 worth of Winsor & Newton art materials – awarded to an individual member or non-member
  • The Leathersellers’ Prize: £1,000 awarded by The Worshipful Company of Leathersellers to an artist aged between 18 and 30 years old
  • The President’s Choice Award: An award of £750 for the most deserving work in the exhibition, donated by a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) and judged by the President of the RI
  • The Baohong Artists’ Watercolour Paper Prizes: Two prizes of £250 each, awarded to a member and non-member for excellence
  • The Chaoshan Watercolour Award: £250 awarded by Chinese artist, Professor Li Xiaocheng, for the best classically inspired watercolour

Member Memorial Awards (Cash)

  • The James Fletcher-Watson RI Memorial Award: £500 for the best use of watercolour in the exhibition
  • The Matt Bruce RI Memorial Award: An award of £500 for what is considered the most outstanding use of light and colour in a watercolour
  • The Richard Plincke RI Prize for Colour: An award of £250 for creative use of colour

Art Publication Awards

  • 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

Art Materials Awards

  • The Cass Art Prize: A prize of £200 of art supplies from Cass Art, awarded to a work demonstrating the most innovative use of colour
  • The John Purcell Paper Prize: Paper to the value of £100 awarded to a work chosen by John Purcell
  • The Schmincke Prize: A Horadam Aquarell Artists’ Watercolours set to an outstanding exhibitor.
  • The Frank Herring Easel Award: An easel presented for an outstanding work in the exhibition by Frank Herring & Sons
  • The Escoda Barcelona Award: A set of Escoda’s finest brushes for an outstanding landscape painting

Other Awards

  • 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 Debra Manifold RI Memorial Award: Presented by the Linda Blackstone Gallery, an award for the most innovative work in the exhibition
  • The Megan Fitzoliver Brush Award: A trophy for a work that most inspires a connection with the natural world

International Entrants

Artists from outside the UK may need to register for VAT:

  • please check with HM Revenue and Customs: https://www.gov.uk
  • (Also see VAT for Artists on my Art Business Info website)
Artists sending work from abroad should use a picture carrier.

More about the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour

The RI started as a group, called the New Society of Painters in Water Colours, who broke away from the Royal Watercolour Society (RWS) in 1807. The latter had broken away from the Royal Academy of Arts due to its failure to consider watercolour painting as a serious medium.

The RI, under whatever name, has always shown the work of non-members alongside that of members. Which means that artwork to be hung alongside work by members needs to be a very good standard!

ARCHIVE: RI Annual Exhibition 2007-2021