I love this competitive exhibition held every year at The National Portrait gallery.

Over the last forty years when emphasis in art schools has been on experimentation in many forms, but not so much on representational drawing and painting, I wonder where all these portrait artists come from. The work and style is extremely varied and the standard throughout is very high. So how do they choose a winner? For a start you choose very good judges, who this year included artist Jenny Saville and writer Alan Hollinghurst.

The winner of the £30,000 prize was a portrait called Girl in a Liberty Dress  by Clara Drummond  a 38 year old Cambridge based artist.

The judges were impressed by the artist’s skillful execution and the painting’s subtle and enigmatic qualities.

by Clara Drummond

Girl in a Liberty Dress

Each year as well as the first, second and third prizes there is also a BP Young Artist Award. This year the winner is Jamie Coreth,26. He wins for a portrait of his sculpture father, Mark Coreth.

Coreth says :’My father has influenced me greatly in my work and given that it is a relatively strange thing for a sculptor to raise a painter, I thought it could be an interesting father -son project to make portraits of one another at the same time.

The judges comments- Dad Sculpting Me.

‘ We were drawn to the timeless quality of the painting and its treatment of a father and son relationship through art. It is a generational painting of the artist’s father sculpting a portrait of the artist.’

Dad Sculpting me by Jamie Coreth

There is a Travel Award given, the sketchbooks and images of the artists concerned are often the most exciting in the show. The winner of the 2015 award is Magali Cazo who proposed to travel to a community of bronze-smelters in Bobo-Dioulasso in West Africa . There she lived with artists, apprentices and labourer’s whose lives revolve around the foundry.


Sketch book 9f

Having just finished reading James Rhodes harrowing autobiography Instrumental  a memoir of madness medication and Music, it was interesting to see his portrait in this show. If you get a chance this show is well worth a visit.

James Rhodes


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