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BP Portrait Award 2014 competition opens as BP shows its support for 25th Year

Release date:
3 December 2013

The National Portrait Gallery has announced that it is now accepting entries for the thirty-fifth Portrait Award, the world’s most prestigious competition for portrait painting. The Portrait Award in 2014 will celebrate twenty-five years of support by BP.


The First Prize winner will receive a £30,000 cash prize along with, at the Gallery’s discretion, a commission worth £5,000 (to be agreed between the National Portrait Gallery and the artist). The Second Prize winner will receive £10,000 and a Third Prize of £8,000 will also be awarded. The BP Young Artist Award with a prize of £7,000 will also go to one selected artist aged between eighteen and thirty-five.


Entry forms are now available at www.npg.org.uk/bp - This link opens in a new window and the closing date for entries is Monday 3 February 2014.


The BP Portrait Award is an annual event aimed at encouraging artists to focus upon and develop portraiture in their work. The BP Portrait Award 2014 exhibition will run at the National Portrait Gallery from 26 June to 21 September 2014 and will tour to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens thereafter.


The BP Portrait Award is open to all artists over the age of 18, and provides an important platform for portrait painters. In 2013, there were 1,969 entries submitted from 77 different countries and the exhibition was seen by over a quarter of a million people.


Recent National Portrait Gallery commissions by BP Portrait Award first-prize-winning artists include Julia Donaldson by Peter Monkman (BP Portrait Award 2009 winner), Dame Kelly Holmes by Craig Wylie (BP Portrait Award 2008 winner), novelist V S Naipaul by Paul Emsley (BP Portrait Award 2007 winner), and Kids Company founder Dame Camila Batmanghelidjh by Dean Marsh (BP Portrait Award 2005 winner). Many artists who have had their work exhibited have gained commissions as a result of the considerable interest in the BP Portrait Award and the resulting exhibition.


The prize winners and exhibition will be selected by a judging panel chaired by Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery. The full panel will include: Sarah Howgate, Contemporary Curator, National Portrait Gallery; Dr Alexander Sturgis, Director of the Holburne Museum, Bath; Joanna Trollope, Author; Des Violaris, Director, UK Arts and Culture, BP; Jonathan Yeo, Artist.


All 2014 exhibitors will be eligible to submit a proposal for the BP Travel Award 2014. 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 winner will receive £6,000.


Des Violaris, Director, UK Arts and Culture, BP, says: ‘Every year I am astounded by the quality and diversity of entries for the BP Portrait Award and I am delighted that the exhibition in 2014 will celebrate twenty-five years of support by BP. The international reach of the competition is remarkable and, once again, I am very much looking forward to seeing the entries for 2014.’




An 80-page catalogue featuring all the selected artists, including an essay by a leading author, will accompany the exhibition.

Notes to editors


BP support for UK Arts & Culture:

In the UK, BP is a major supporter of the arts with a programme that spans over 35 years, during which time millions of people have engaged with BP sponsored activities. BP’s investment of almost £10 million in extending its long term partnerships with the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Opera House, and Tate Britain until 2017, represent one of the most significant long-term corporate investments in UK arts and culture. In 2014 BP will celebrate its 25 year partnership with the National Portrait Gallery and in particular its support for the BP Portrait Award.

  • 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 competition is judged, on an equal and anonymous basis, from original paintings. An exhibition is then created from a selection of the entries.
  • The best way to register your entry for the BP Portrait Award 2014 is online at www.npg.org.uk/bp
  • To request a postal entry form please call 020 7321 6699 or write to:BP Portrait AwardNational Portrait GallerySt Martin’s PlaceLondon WC2H 0HE. You can also download a postal entry form from the website.
  • Full competition rules, collection/delivery points and details of the exhibition tour can be found online at www.npg.org.uk/bp
  • Closing date for registration: Monday 3 February 2014
  • 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 2013: £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.