Final Selection for Holburne Portrait Prize

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Final Selection for Holburne Portrait Prize

September 13, 2010

The Holburne Portrait Prize Exhibition
18 September to 12 October 2010
Chapel Row Gallery

The Holburne’s fifth portrait competition for artists in the south west opens Saturday 18 September at Chapel Row Gallery, Bath

The Holburne Museum has selected thirty three artists to display their work as part of this year’s Holburne Portrait Prize exhibition at Chapel Row Gallery. Sixty five artists entered the competition and the number of works on show is greater than ever before because of the very high standard of the paintings submitted.

To qualify for the competition artists had to be based in the south west. Those who have been selected range from established artists to new talent and the exhibition as a whole demonstrates the range of techniques being used by contemporary portrait artists from photo realism to the painterly.

Xa Sturgis, Director of the Holburne, says: “The Holburne’s collection is renowned for its eighteenth-century portraiture. It is wonderful, while the Museum is closed, to be able to show contemporary works that clearly demonstrate that the art of portrait painting is still flourishing.”

There is enormous variety in the works that will be on show. The smallest painting is by Sarah Godsill and measures just 10cm x12cm and the largest is by Ben Hughes and is 150cm square. By a strange coincidence the sitter in Ben Hughes’ portrait, David Lawrence, is also the subject of Malcolm Ashman’s painting. Almost half of those showing have never been selected for the Prize before while only two, David Cobley and Paul Brason, have been chosen to exhibit in all five of the Holburne Portrait prize exhibitions since 2002.

Amina Wright, Curator of Fine Art, notes: “The standard this year has been higher than ever. We have been very impressed not only by established artists but also by the talent which is emerging from the south west, as well as by the work of young art school graduates. Some of the best work has come from artists who have discovered painting later in life or returned to art after successful careers in another field.”

There are two prizes awarded during the exhibition. The first is a £5,000 commission to paint a portrait which will become part of the Holburne’s art collection. The second is the People’s Prize, a nominal title awarded by visitors who can vote for their favourite painting in the gallery or online at the Bath Chronicle’s website. The winners will be announced at an Award Evening at Chapel Row Gallery on Friday 8 October.

Andrew Cronan says: “Savills is delighted to be sponsoring the Holburne Portrait Prize for a second time. The Portrait Prize exhibition never fails to surprise us with the depth of quality and skill shown by the portrait painters. Savills takes pride in being part of the community by supporting cultural events, artistic talent and local charities.

The Holburne Museum is one of the cultural organisations we always look forward to working with. They offer us real business benefits from opportunities to associate ourselves with the highest quality exhibitions to fantastic events for our clients to attend. We look forward to seeing who will win the Holburne Portrait Prize 2010.”

The Holburne Portrait Prize Exhibition
18 September to 12 October
Chapel Row Gallery, 6 Chapel Row, Off Queen Square, Bath BA1 1HN
Open Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm / Sunday 12noon to 4pm
Admission FREE

The Portrait Prize is sponsored by Savills and supported by the Friends of the Holburne Museum, and Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution.

For further information please contact:
Katie Jenkins, The Holburne Museum, Great Pulteney Street, Bath, BA2 4DB
Tel 01225 820818 or email


Alexander Sturgis in conversation with Karen Wallis
The Holburne’s Director discusses the challenges of capturing the spirit of the Museum’s progress, the building and the people, with Karen who has been the Holburne’s artist in residence since 2008.
Thursday 23 September, doors open 6pm for 6.30pm start, tickets £5 in advance from Tel 01225 820829 on the door at Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution, Queen Square, Bath.

FREE family drop-in celebrating the Portrait Prize exhibition.
Join us in the gallery to create your own moving image in a flick book, inspired by the portraits on show, with artist Neil Bousfield.
Saturday 9 October 11am to 4pm, Chapel Row Gallery, off Queen Square, Bath
Tel 01225 820829

Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud by Martin Gayford.
Lucian Freud, perhaps the world’s leading portrait painter, spent seven months painting the art critic Martin Gayford. His book describes the process and vividly conveys what it is like to be on the inside of the process of creating a painting by a great artist. Bookshop talk by Martin Gayford with an introduction by Alexander Sturgis, Director of the Holburne Museum.
Thursday 14 October, 7.45pm reception for 8pm talk, Topping & Company, The Paragon, Bath, BA1 5LS Tel 01225 428111
Tickets £7 by telephone / £6 from the shop, including book voucher.



The Holburne Museum is currently closed for a development project of restoration and extension. Our Grade I listed home is being lovingly restored while a striking extension designed by Eric Parry faces Sydney Gardens behind the Museum. Our project is supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund and many other trusts, foundations and donors. We have £2.18million left to raise before we re-open our doors, free of charge, to the public in May 2011.

When we re-open the Holburne will house a collection of fine and decorative arts, built around the exquisite art collection of Sir William Holburne – assembled in 19th-century Bath. We hold a nationally significant collection of paintings, Renaissance bronzes and maiolica, silver, sculpture, furniture and porcelain, including important and popular works by Brueghel, Gainsborough and Stubbs. In recent years we have also established a national reputation for imaginative, scholarly and popular exhibitions.

The Holburne’s project transforms what we are able to offer all our visitors. It will make us fully accessible to all visitors for the first time, allow more of our collection to be displayed than ever before and enable us to stage far more ambitious exhibitions, offer a garden café, creative learning opportunities for all ages and a family friendly environment.

Published on: 13/09/2010