Wednesday 23 November 2016

As broadcaster Kirsty Wark and artist Michael Landy are announced as judges, the National Portrait Gallery invites entries for the BP Portrait Award 2017.

To enter, artists are invited to upload a photograph of their finished painting to the BP Portrait Award website, which will be considered by the judges in the first round of the competition. The entrants who are successful in this round will then be invited to hand-deliver or courier their work to a venue in London for the second round of judging and final exhibition selection.

Artists can enter at between now and Thursday 26 January 2017. Full competition rules and guidance for digital submission can be found online. The BP Portrait Award 2017 exhibition will run at the National Portrait Gallery from Thursday 22 June to Sunday 24 September 2017.

The prize winners and exhibition will be selected by a judging panel chaired by Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director, and National Portrait Gallery. The full panel will include Camilla Hampshire, Museums Manager and Cultural Lead, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter; Michael Landy, artist; Kirsty Wark, broadcaster; Sarah Howgate, Senior Curator, Contemporary Collections, National Portrait Gallery; and Des Violaris, Director, UK Arts & Culture, BP.

2017 will mark the Portrait Award's38th year at the National Portrait Gallery and 28th year of sponsorship by BP. This highly successful annual event is aimed at encouraging artists over the age of eighteen to focus upon, and develop, the theme of portraiture in their work. The increasingly popular competition has a huge international reach, with the BP Portrait Award 2016 receiving 2,557 entries from 80 countries. The exhibition, which featured 53 paintings, was seen by 187,347 people at the National Portrait Gallery.

The BP Portrait Award, one of the most important platforms for portrait painters, has a first prize of £30,000, making it one of the largest for any global arts competition. The winner also receives, at the Gallery's discretion, a commission worth £5,000 (agreed between the National Portrait Gallery and the artist). The second prize winner receives £10,000 and a third prize of £8,000 is also awarded. The BP Young Artist Award, with a prize of £7,000, goes to one selected artist aged between 18 and 30.

All 2017 exhibitors will be eligible to submit a proposal for the BP Travel Award 2017. The aim of the award is to provide the opportunity for an artist to experience working in a different environment, in Britain or abroad, on a project related to portraits. The artist chosen as the winner of the travel award will receive £6,000.

The current BP Portrait Award 2016 exhibition tours to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, from 26 November 2016 until 26 March 2017 and First site Gallery, Colchester, from 7 April until 17 June 2017.

The first prize was awarded to 38-year-old Cambridgeshire-based artistClara Drummond,for Girl in a Liberty Dress, a striking portrait of her friend and fellow artist Kirsty Buchanan. The second prize of £10,000 went to Chinese artist Bo Wang,34,for Silence,a portraitdepicting his grandmother lying on her hospital bed a month before she died.

The third prize of £8,000 went to artist Benjamin Sullivan,39,for Hugo, a portraitof the poet Hugo Williams painted in the study of his Islington home. The BP Young Artist Award of £7,000 for the work of a selected entrant aged between 18 and 30 has been won by British artist Jamie Corethfor Dad Sculpting Me.


Entrants can order a special edition of the 2017 exhibition catalogue, featuring all the selected artists, and a note of thanks from the Director of the National Portrait Gallery. The special edition is only available to entrants and will not be available through the Gallery shops or online.


BP support for UK Arts & Culture: In the UK, BP is a major supporter of the arts with a programme that spans some 50 years. In that time over 50 million people have engaged and connected with cultural experiences supported by the company.  BP's investment in long term partnerships with the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Opera House, and Tate Britain represent one of the most significant long-term corporate investments in UK arts and culture

• This international competition is open to everyone aged 18 and over in recognition of the outstanding and innovative work currently being produced by artists of all ages working in portraiture.

• The best way to register your entry for the BP Portrait Award 2016 is online at

• Full competition rules, collection/delivery points and details of the exhibition tour can be found online at

• Closing date for registration: Thursday 26 January 2016

•  First Prize: A cash award of £30,000, plus, at the judges' discretion, a commission worth £5,000, to be agreed between the National Portrait Gallery and the artist.
Second Prize: £10,000
Third Prize: £8,000
BP Young Artist Award: £7,000
BP Travel Award 2014: £6,000

All entrants aged between 18 and 30 will automatically be considered for both the BP Young Artist Award and the BP Portrait Award, but an individual cannot win both.

The entry fee is £40.

For further Press information and image requests please contact: Neil Evans, Press Office, National Portrait Gallery Tel: 020 7312 2452 (not for publication) Email: [email protected]

To download Press images:

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE. Opening hours Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday: 10am - 6pm (Gallery closure commences at 5.50pm) Late Opening: Thursday, Friday: 10am - 9pm  (Gallery closure commences at 8.50pm) Nearest Underground: Leicester Square/Charing Cross Recorded information: 020 7312 2463  General information: 020 7306 0055  Website: