BPPortrait International Portrait Painting Award 2017


January 26, 2017


Opportunity Cover Image - BPPortrait International Portrait Painting Award 2017

About the award

The BP Portrait Award is the most prestigious portrait painting competition in the world and represents the very best in contemporary portrait painting. With a first prize of £30,000, and a total prize fund of £61,000, the Award is aimed at encouraging artists to focus upon and develop portraiture in their work.

The competition is open to everyone aged 18 and over.

The BP Portrait Award 2017 exhibition will run at the National Portrait Gallery from 22 June to 24 September 2017. It is in its thirty-eighth year at the National Portrait Gallery and twenty-eighth year of sponsorship by BP and continues to be an unmissable highlight of the annual art calendar.

Call for Entries closing date: 26 January 2017


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: 
Third Prize: £8,000
BP Young Artist Award:
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.
BP Travel Award 2017
: £6,000

Judging and the Exhibition

To enter the BP Portrait Award 2017 artists should upload a digital image of their work for a first round of judging. All images will be viewed by a panel of judges and the entrants who are successful in this round will be invited to deliver their work to a venue in London for the final round of judging and the exhibition selection, including Award-winners.

Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery (Chair)
Sarah Howgate, Contemporary Curator, National Portrait Gallery
Michael Landy, Artist
Kirsty Wark, Broadcaster and journalist
Camilla Hampshire, Museums Manager & Cultural Lead, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter
Des Violaris, Director, UK Arts & Culture, BP

The BP Portrait Award 2016 received 2,557 entries from 80 countries. Judged anonymously, 53 portraits were selected for the exhibition.

Many artists who have had their work exhibited have gained commissions as a result of the considerable interest in the BP Portrait Awardand the resulting exhibition. Recent commissions by BP Portrait Award artists include Dame Sally Davies by Daphne Todd (BP Portrait Award 2010 winner).


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


  • The competition is open to all artists from around the world.
  • Artists must be aged 18 years or over as of 1 January 2017.
  • A non-refundable fee of £40.00 is charged to enter. This fee covers administration costs and can be paid on the Gallery’s website only.
  • To be eligible for the BP Young Artist Award, artists must be 30 years of age or under as of 1 January 2017.
  • The competition is limited to one entry per artist. The work must have been completed after 1 January 2016.
  • No work previously submitted for the competition is eligible for resubmission.
  • On receipt of the registration and entry fee, a confirmation email will be sent to the artist.
  • Entry forms and payment of entry fees must be completed by 23.59 on Thursday 26 January 2017.
  • All correspondence with artists will be via email unless specifically requested otherwise.
  • All entrants will be notified if their work has been selected for the second round of judging by 16 February 2017. If the artist is selected they will be required to send their physical work to the judging venue between the 6 and 10 March 2017.
  • Those artists who were selected for the second round of judging will be notified if their work is selected, or not, for exhibition by 16 March 2017. Artists who have not been selected should make arrangements for the collection of their work. It is the artist’s responsibility to contact the National Portrait Gallery if s/he has not received notification by that date.
  • The exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery will be open to the public from 22 June to 24 September 2017. Those shortlisted for prizes must attend the Awards Ceremony and dinner on the evening of Tuesday 20 June 2017 and are also expected to attend the Press View on the morning of Wednesday 21 June 2017.
  • All exhibiting artists will be invited to the Private View on the evening of Wednesday 21 June 2017.
  • Works selected for exhibition cannot be removed before the end of the exhibition tour. All exhibited works will be available for collection in London at the end of the tour.
  • The copyright for all works exhibited in the BP Portrait Award and Travel Award will remain the property of the artist, but it is a condition of entry that the artist or their representatives agree unconditionally that the National Portrait Gallery may reproduce any exhibited works, free of charge, for the purposes of marketing, promotion, merchandise, discussion and education in direct connection with the BP Portrait Award and Travel Award exhibition and tour, in all media worldwide including the exhibition catalogue and subsequent publications, posters, prints, postcards, the internet and within television documentaries, and may license these specific, limited rights to others only for the same purposes. The Gallery also reserves the right to reproduce selected images free of charge for core non-commercial purposes, for example in the Past Exhibitions page of the Gallery website, indefinitely, as a public record.
  • It is also a condition on entering the competition that the artist agrees that visitors to the Gallery are permitted to take photographs of their work for personal, non-commercial use during the run of the exhibition. The Gallery will install notices indicating that photography is permitted provided it is for personal, non-commercial use but will not be responsible if any images of the work taken are exploited commercially. The responsibility for damage or loss, however caused, is the responsibility of the artist. Artists are therefore advised to arrange adequate insurance cover against such risks. The sponsor, the carriers, the judging venue, the touring venues, any other subcontractor or the National Portrait Gallery shall not be liable for any loss or damage, whether or not caused by their negligence. In accordance with the Data Protection Act, 1998, the National Portrait Gallery will hold all personal data securely. It will only be used in the process of administering the Portrait Award, and will not be transferred to any third party. At the close of the Award, it will be retained permanently for historical research purposes in the Gallery’s Archive (in accordance with Part IV, 33 of the Act).
  • Those not eligible for entry are employees of the National Portrait Gallery, BP, and their agents, the winner of the Travel Award 2016 and previous first prize-winners of the Portrait Award since 1980.
  • The judges reserve the right not to award the commission to the winning artist.
  • If awarded, the commissioned painting will be submitted to the Gallery’s Trustees for approval of its inclusion in the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent Collection.
  • The winning artist will be required to assign the copyright in the commissioned portrait to the National Portrait Gallery.
  • The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence can be entered into. Artists should be aware that all works are judged on an equal and anonymous basis and that there is no segregated judging by region or country.
  • The National Portrait Gallery reserves the right to disqualify any piece of work if the artist has not adhered to the rules, even if the work has been selected for exhibition.

How to enter

To register your entry for the BP Portrait Award 2017 and upload your image pleas visit the official website. 

We are no longer accepting postal entries for the competition. All submissions must be made online via the website.

Contact us

For all further enquiries please contact:

BP Portrait Award 2017
National Portrait Gallery
St Martin’s Place
London WC2H 0HE
020 7321 6699


Office hours are 9.00 – 17.00, Monday – Friday.

For more information click " Further official information" below.

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:


Eligible Countries
Event Type
Publish Date
November 28, 2016