Upcoming Annual Exhibition by The Royal Society of Marine Artists

Marvel at some of Europe’s very best art depicting tidal waters and the marine environment at the upcoming Annual Exhibition by The Royal Society of Marine Artists.

The Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA), Europe’s foremost society of artists dedicated to depicting tidal waters and the marine environment, has announced the dates of its Annual Exhibition at Mall Galleries in London. The exhibition opens 10am Thursday 21 September and will run until 5pm Saturday 30 September. An Online Preview will also go live on the Mall Galleries website on 31 August 2023 for all those who can’t travel to the exhibition.

The Annual Exhibition will show figurative paintings, hand-crafted prints, sculpture, ceramics and textiles from both RSMA members and carefully selected work from an Open Submission. Marine artists worldwide are invited to submit work which will be curated according to the society’s foremost measure of excellence in representing tidal waters and subject matter connected to the sea and the marine environment. 

“The UK has long been Europe’s leader, and a constant inspiration, when it comes to the discipline of marine art,” said John Scott Martin, the RSMA’s President. “Being an island, the coast and sea is an integral part of our national identity. Artists have never been too far from it and many of us are drawn to the sea and to artwork depicting it. 

“Since the Royal Society of Marine Artists’ inception in 1939, it has been focused on promoting the finest in figurative marine work. There is no other comparable society in the whole of Europe and, with its aim to bring together the year’s best tidal and coastal artwork, our Annual Exhibition attracts both artists and buyers from across the world.”

A long and prestigious history

The RSMA has a long and prestigious history. Originally called ‘The Society of Marine Artists’, the RSMA’s inaugural exhibition was postponed by the start of the Second World War, and it wasn’t until November 1946 that the long-awaited exhibition took place. In 1966 Her Majesty the Queen granted the Society the title ‘Royal Society of Marine Artists’. 

The Society is firmly committed to the promotion of marine art in its many forms and guises, with the subject matter gradually broadening to encompass not only sea-going vessels, but yachts and dinghies, the coast and sea-shore, harbours, estuaries and tidal rivers – indeed anything that is essentially marine related. 

At this year’s Annual Exhibition, there will be around 400 works for sale, including a selection from the RSMA’s current 60-strong members. Last year work ranged in price from £500 to £15,000, with £1,600 being the average.

Several prizes and awards are on offer to exhibiting artists worth £10,000, including the £5,000 BAE Systems Award for the best work capturing the story of British Shipbuilding: People, Ships and Shipyards and the £2,000 Baltic Exchange Award for an outstanding work related to the maritime industry.

The Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition will take place 21-30 September 2023 at Mall Galleries, London.

Artworks (from main, top): “Morning Swim” by Jenny Aitkin ARSMA – 30 x 24 cm, £675. “Low Water “Contre Jour” by Geoffrey Huband VPRSMA – 40 x 30 cm, £4,500; “Oystercatchers” by Jenny Aitken 30 x 24cm.

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Jo is the Gear Editor for Outdoor Swimmer and also writes news and features for the website. A keen open water swimmer and long-distance walker, she loves seeking out lakes and lidos close to her home in the Mendip Hills, Somerset. She is the author of The Slow Traveller, editor and founder of independent magazine, Ernest, and has previously tested outdoor clothing and kit for BBC Countryfile Magazine, BBC Focus and Ernest Journal.