Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition 2022

I’ve summarised key points below.

The Exhibition

The RSMA always holds its Annual Exhibition every Autumn at the Mall Galleries in central London. This year the exhibition dates are Thursday 22nd September to Saturday 1st October 2022

Four good reasons to enter

The Annual Exhibition by the Royal Society of Marine Artists

  1. People who like boats are often wealthy – meaning they’re more likely to have funds to spare to buy artwork!  This is important within the context of an economy where lots of people are being careful about their spending, t
  2. This exhibition ALWAYS attracts a lot of people interested in buying marine artwork. This exhibition has typically had very good sales in the past.
  3. It ALWAYS has a LOT of decent prizes. You can find out more about them here.
  4. Prizes awarded in the past have been dominated by strong work by non-members – which is always good to see for those who submit work via the open entry. 

However, in order to do well, you MUST have and demonstrate a genuine interest in marine art

That’s because expert and enthusiastic customers also mean those who can spot errors in artwork painted by those new to the subject and/or painting from photographs with no other observational prep. undertaken. I well remember being taken round the exhibition once by somebody who pointed out all the “made-up” paintings – it was a revelation!

This was my Review: Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition 2020 – which also shows you the range, type and quality of artwork on display.

Call for Entries

Royal Society Marine Artists Call for Entries 2022

This is an OPEN EXHIBITION which tends to display paintings, drawings, sculpture and prints.

Below you can find

  • a summary of how to enter the next annual exhibition.
  • a list of prizes (see end)
  • an archive of posts about past exhibitions – which contain a lot of images of the type of artwork that gets selected for exhibition.

What sort of artwork can you submit?

SUBJECT: The RSMA seeks submissions of art inspired by the sea and marine environment. 


It makes two statements about the scope – as follows

The RSMA seeks submissions of painting and sculpture that involve the sea and the marine environment, including harbours and shorelines, traditional craft and contemporary shipping, creeks, beaches, wildlife – in short anything that involves tidal water. (Mall Galleries – Call for Entries)


Subject matter must be essentially marine in nature, relating in some way to tidal waters of the world; topographical, historical, still life, and figure painting are all welcomed. Works relating to non-tidal rivers, inland lakes and waterways etc are not permissible.(RSMA website – Exhibition Page AND OESS website)

You can see the artwork in the 2021 Exhibition online  – which also allows you to see what sort of artwork sold and for what sort of price range.

(I didn’t get to see last year’s exhibition as I was deep in my preparation for surgery – which took ages – so all photos are from the 2020 exhibition!)

RSMA Annual Exhibition 2020 – East Gallery

RSMA Annual Exhibition 2020: West Gallery

MEDIA & SIZE & NUMBER & PRESENTATION: In terms of media and size and number of works:

  • Acceptable media
    • Oil, acrylic, watercolour, original prints of any media, mixed media, drawings, pastels, or sculpture. 
    • Fine art prints must be from a limited edition not exceeding fifty.
  • Paintings MUST be dry: All paintings should be completely DRY at the time of delivery / handling (that’s code for “they won’t get hung or even make it out of the basement if they are not”)
  • Size constraint: artwork must not be larger than 2.4m along longest dimension
  • Maximum number of works: 6 (submitted); 4 (hung) i.e. if you enter more than 4 you’ll have a lot of journeys for certain!
  • Framing: Frames or stretchers should be sufficiently substantial to withstand mirror plating with 12mm size 6 screws. 

The Society advises the use of plain, simple framing in a light or medium colour. Frames and mounts of an unusual colour, size or design may prejudice the chance of acceptance.

RSMA Annual Exhibition 2020: North Gallery


Who can submit work?

Entry is open to both International and British artists over 18 years of age.

Both members of the RSMA and those submitting via the open entry are invited to submit artwork for consideration.

Money: Prices, fees and commission

Submission fee:

  • Submission fees are non-refundable.
  • £20 per work (or £14 per work for artists aged 35 or under)
  • This includes Free Admission to the exhibition (normally £5).

Selling Price / VAT:

  • All work must be for sale.
    • Minimum price for non-prints: £300
    • Minimum price for prints – unframed £120, framed £200.
  • How to deal with VAT
    • If YOU are NOT registered for VAT: All prices must include commission of 45% + VAT @20% (i.e. 54% is deducted from from wall price before the balance is passed to the artist – and YOU need to allow for this when pricing)
    • If you are VAT registered: All prices must include VAT on the total selling price including the commission.
  • International Artists (i.e. not domiciled in the UK)
    • MUST register for VAT before they submit an entry if they want to exhibit their work as they must account to H.M. Revenue & Customs for UK VAT received if the work is sold. 
    • Note: the registration process can take up to 4 weeks – so any international artists reading this you’re too late for this year unless already registered.
  • Sculpture only: where applicable, foundry fees are deducted before commission is calculated

Pricing example: a £500 price if sold generates £210 for the artist 

  • AFTER (1) commission of £225 (2) VAT on commission of £45 (3) entry fee of £20
  • BEFORE travelling/courier costs are also netted off.


I have written endlessly about the need for ALL artists to price their work realistically for those who buy from the Mall Galleries – notwithstanding these people vary by exhibition and art society.

PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO SALES! That way more people will sell their art!
You can see the prices paid for artwork sold in 2021 on this page.

  • The vast majority of sales (80-85%?) are artworks priced at less than £1,000. 
  • There are a LOT of buyers for small artwork priced at less than £500.

I could find two artworks (by David Curtis) which sold for more than £3.5k

A few sold between £1-3.5k

RSMA Annual Exhibition 2020: North Gallery

How to submit an entry


  • Register to enter – if not previously registered 
  • Stage 1 Submission: ALL work must be submitted online (digital images only) 
    • Upload images of work at by 12 noon on Friday 8th July 2022.
    • Images must be in JPEG format and under 5MB

[NOTE: If you need help preparing digital images see my two new pages:

Selectors and Selection Process

The Selection Committee is formed of artist members of the Society and is rotated annually. Selectors’ decisions are final and the RSMA are unable to offer feedback.

The Selection Process has 3 stages:

  • Stage 1: Pre-selection from online entries – notification available Friday 15th July 2022.
  • Stage 2 – Receiving Day for pre-selected works: Artists who pass Stage 1 are invited to deliver their artwork to The Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD on Saturday 15th August, 10am to 5pm. If you live outside London or cannot deliver there are regional collections. See this link for information on regional handing-in points. Please contact the companies for cost, collection times etc.
  • Stage 3: Final Selection of artwork for exhibition in front of a selection panel of RSMA members. Results will be announced online on at 12 noon on Tuesday 16th August 2022.
  • Collection of unaccepted work (from pre-selection): Thursday 18th August, 10am to 5pm. Collection is only on this day

You have to check the Mall Galleries website to see if you work got pre-selected and then selected for the exhibition. 

You can find full details of:


This year’s RSMA Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries – assuming all is well – will open to the public between Thursday 22nd September (10am to 5pm) and closes on 6th October.


The Private View – Invitation only will be on Wednesday 21st September, 12pm to 8pm, Opening and Awards at 4.30pm.


Collection of unsold work: Thursday 6th October, 10am to 5pm. Note that collection is ONLY on this day.  


Prizewinners last year – it’s not only boats which win prizes!



Prizes & Awards 

The Society’s Annual Exhibition offers several prizes and awards

You can see which artists and artworks won awards last year in my post last October – Review: 73rd Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Marine Artists

The Awards presentation this year will be on Wednesday 29th September – with presentation starting at 4.30pm

Cash Prizes

  • The Baltic Exchange Award (£2000) – For an outstanding work related to the maritime industry, selected by the Society’s President and the Chairman of the Baltic Exchange. Including works related to trade (ports, cargo vessels, etc), ship building, safety at sea / the crew, the RNLI or NCI. The Baltic is an historic membership organisation at the heart of the international shipping industry, providing services relied upon by shipping markets worldwide.
  • The Murray’s Commercial Fishing Award (£500) For a work in any medium depicting commercial fishing
  • The Charles Pears Award (£500) – For an outstanding work, in any medium, by a non-member. To be judged by the RSMA Selection Committee.
  • The Kenneth Denton Award (£500) – For a work on the theme ‘The Sea in all its Moods’. Made possible by the generosity of long-standing member Kenneth Denton.
  • The RSMA Award for the Best Small Painting (£300) – For a work in any medium measuring no more than 30cms (12″) along its longest length (excluding frame). Made possible by the generosity of a member.
  • The RSMA New Generation Award (£250 and a dedicated page in the catalogue featuring the winning work and a short biography) – Open to all artists aged 35 or under at the close of submissions.
  • The Topbond Marine Award (£250) – For works depicting marine engineering or construction activities in harbours, estuaries or marine waters within the UK.

Publicity / Publication Awards

  • The Artist Magazine Award (Feature article in The Artist magazine) – For the most deserving work, as judged by the Magazine. The winner will be interviewed for a feature in The Artist magazine, print and digital edition.

Media Awards

  • The Winsor and Newton Oil Prize ( £250 worth of Winsor & Newton materials to be chosen by the winner) – For a notable oil painting.


  • The Classic Boat Prize – The winner will take home a handsome, hand-crafted sculpture by Astins Sailing Sculptures, given for the most atmospheric depiction of a classic boat.

I made this point last year and it’s worth making again.

I’m disappointed RSMA has stopped having a PROPER Page on its website for links to their sponsors – with external links to their websites Facebook Page and Twitter account! I’m always bemused by art societies who bemoan the fact they struggle to get sponsors and then fail to give them a proper ‘payback’ via their website and a profile in terms of announcements re prizes. 

Archive of posts about past annual exhibitions