Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2023 + TIPS!
The Call for Entries for the 124th Annual Exhibition of
The Pastel Society has been published.

The 124th Annual Exhibition of the Pastel Society

  • Artists are invited to submit work for exhibition alongside members of the
    Pastel Society
  • Dates: 24th May – 3rd June 2023
    Mall Galleries, The Mall, London 

  • DEADLINE for entries – for a digital image, application form and fee
    – is 
    noon on Friday 24th March 2023

The Pastel Society seeks the best in contemporary pastel and dry
media, combining traditional skills with creative originality for
their 124th Annual Exhibition.

If selected for the exhibition your artwork will be 

  • seen by visitors to the Mall Galleries – and it gets a lot of visitors), 
  • viewed online via the Mall Galleries website and that of the Pastel Society 
  • eligible for a number of prizes & awards. 

READ ON If you work in pastels, oil pastels, charcoal, pencil, conte,
sanguine, or any other dry media and would like to achieve a higher profile for your artwork – and maybe a sale or a prize!

Note: All quotes come from the official Call for Entries.


Pastel by Felicity House PS

SUMMARY of Call for Entries

Below you can find MY version of the Call for Entries. Note that:

  • it includes TIPS and additional comments which those who have not entered
    before may find useful.
  • Some of those who have entered before and been unsuccessful might also
    like to have a read.

Submission: key dates and points to note

ALL artworks must be submitted online. It means that the quality of
your digital image is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL this year.

REQUIRED READING: On the Mall Galleries website you can

TIP: If you don’t read all the
relevant information
, do NOT be surprised or irritated if your entry is not selected.

Below is a summary of the stages of entry.

1. ELIGIBLE ARTISTS: Who can enter?

This is an OPEN exhibition and is not limited to work by members

This exhibition also has works exhibited by people who live outside
the UK.

  • Any artist over 18 may submit.
  • There is no restriction of where you live. It’s open to artists in
    the UK, EU, and outside the EU

2.  HOW TO ENTER (SUMMARY): Digital submission ONLY

  • Submission opened: Friday 20 January 2023, 12 noon

  • Submission DEADLINE
    : You must complete the registration form,
    pay your fee and upload your digital image (see below) no later than Friday 24 March, 12 noon
  • Upload entries and pay fees via
  • Check from 12 noon on Thursday 6 April to see if your work has
    been pre-selected
  • More details below

3. ELIGIBLE MEDIA: What can you use for your artwork?

The Society promotes the use of all types of pastel, chalk or
crayon whether in stick or pan form, made from pure pigment
mixed with a binder including soft pastels, hard pastels, oil
pastels, ink pastels, water-based pastels, Conté crayons or
sticks and sanguine and other dry mediums that are similar in
their application including charcoal and pencil. All of these
are regarded as having no boundaries, whether on their own or in
combination with other media. However,
pastel or the other dry media mentioned should be the primary
medium in the finished mixed media work
. (my bold)


  • Acceptable media: All types of pastel including soft pastels, hard pastels, oil pastels, ink pastels, water-based pastels, Conté crayons or sticks and sanguine and other dry mediums that are similar in their application including charcoal and pencil.
  • All artwork must be glazed
  • All artworks must be exhibition-ready i.e. presented ready for hanging. Works should be sufficient to withstand mirror plating for hanging purposes.

4. Inadmissible artwork (i.e. WHAT NOT TO DO)

  • No hooks are required 
  • No projections whatsoever from the back of the works.
  • Metal frames and clip frames are inadmissible. 
  • Glazed works with unprotected glass edges are inadmissible. 
  • Diffused picture glass is unacceptable. 

In addition, frames and mounts of an unusual colour, size or design may prejudice the chance of selection.

TIP: It’s very silly to get selected and then not have your artwork hung because you didn’t comply with the technical requirements for hanging!

5.  TECHNICAL: What it costs (excluding framing and delivery)

  • All work must be for sale. Minimum price: £300.
  • Fee: The submission fee is £20 per work for standard entries and £14 per work for artists aged 35 or under.
  • The price of works must include 45% commission + VAT 
  • If you are a non-Vat registered artist i.e. on an artwork priced at the minimum price of £300 the commission 
    • if this sells then commission will be £135
    • VAT @ the standard rate of 20% is charged on the commission ONLY by the Mall Galleries – this will be £27
    • Total deductions for a non-registered artist will be £162
    • What the artist is paid by the gallery is £138 – which must cover direct expenses of art materials, framing and delivery before contributing to 
  • If you are a VAT registered artist, then VAT is applicable to the total sale price i.e. VAT is £60 BUT you can reclaim this against VAT you have paid on business expenses
  • If you are an international artist: you MUST be registered for VAT in the UK and VAT will be charged on the total price of the work 
  • See also my Art Business Info Page – VAT for Artists for more information 

TIP: Work out the costs of entry before entering

  • READ How to calculate the cost of entering a juried art exhibition
  • Higher priced artwork helps offset the costs – however affordable art sells better (see more tips on pricing at the end)
  • It’s generally a very good idea to see entries to the annual exhibitions of national art societies as a MARKETING activity rather than a selling activity – because of what can be significant additional costs compared to selling direct to customers or locally.

5.  TECHNICAL: What to submit (artwork)

  • Images must be in JPEG format and under 5MB
  • Work must have been completed during the twelve months prior to the exhibition and not have been exhibited elsewhere.
  • Works should not be larger than 2.4m along the longest dimension.
  • Maximum of 6 works must be submitted online at 
  • BUT…..Maximum of four works selected.
    • Four is exceptional. The average number of paintings per
      non-member artist selected is less than two and nearer 1those
      having more than one work selected are candidates for members
    • serious candidates typically showed 2-3 works
    • hence in reality the majority of exhibiting non-members only
      have 1 artwork selected and the average in 2021 was 1.3 overall

TIP: The cost of your submission therefore depends

  • how good your work is;
  • how discriminating you are at submitting works with a good
    chance of being exhibited –
    and if you have not seen the exhibition in person I
    recommend you check out my posts at the end about past
  • how much you want to become a member of this society
  • Whether you’ve done your homework on costs of entry

6. Selection / Feedback

A single-stage virtual judging of all submitted works will take place, after which selected works should be delivered to Mall Galleries, London, for inclusion in the exhibition so long as they are fit for hanging (my underlining)

The Selection Committee is formed of artist members of the Society and is rotated annually.

Check from 12 noon on Thursday 6 April to see if your work has been selected.

There’s no feedback for those not selected – but I find visiting the exhibition provides a LOT of information for the aspiring pastel artist about the kind of pastel artwork that does get selected.

TIP: You can also get feedback in advance of submitting an entry by looking back at my reviews of past exhibitions and seeing what sort of artwork gets selected (see end of this post)

7. Delivery of Artwork (pre-selected artists ONLY)

If selected, you must arrange for your framed work framed prior to
delivery to Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y

  • Works should be delivered unwrapped with forms and labels (i.e. packaging cannot be accepted or stored)
  • Artists sending work from abroad should use a picture carrier.
  • Packaging from delivered works cannot be retained by the Gallery.
  • ALL packaging must be taken away at the point of delivery. 
  • RECEIVING DAY: Deliver your work on Saturday 13 May, 10am to 5pm

8. Exhibition Dates / Hours

  • Exhibition opens: Wednesday 24 May- opening hours are 10am – 5pm
  • Exhibition closes: Saturday 3 June, 5pm

9. Collection of unsold artwork after the exhibition 

  • COLLECT all unsold work: Thursday 8 June between 10am and 5pm (an arrangement which is far from
    ideal for all those not living in London – unless you pay an
    art courier!)
  • The Gallery also does NOT wrap works or provide wrapping materials for any works being returned. 
  • Any work uncollected on the specified collection date/s will be
    stored at a separate location and the artist will be charged a
    storage fee.
  • International artists should use a picture
  • Mall Galleries provides details re art couriers in the Terms and Conditions
  • See also my Art Business Info for Artists website which provides details of ​UK Art Movers & Couriers & Fine Art Transport

Prizes & Awards (subject to final confirmation)

There are a number of prizes and awards available to win,

Cash prizes:

  • The Yoshimoto Prize: A prize of £1,000 for an outstanding work, in
    any dry medium, by a non-member
  • The Pastel Society Young Artist Award: £200
  • The Anthony J. Lester Art Critic Award: A certificate and cheque for

Product prizes:

  • Caran d’Ache Award
  • Derwent Award
  • Frank Herring Award
  • Henri Roche Award
  • Mamut Award
  • Schmincke Award
  • Unison Member Award: Set of 72 pastels
  • Unison Non-member Award: Set of 72 pastels
  • Unison Young Artist Award: Pastels up to £500 for the year plus
    mentorship for 1 year by Tricia Taylor
  • West Design Award

Publication prizes:

  • The Artist Magazine Award: A feature article in The Artist magazine
  • Artists & Illustrators Award: A feature article in the magazine
  • The Pastel Society Catalogue Award, First Prize: The winning work
    featured in the exhibition catalogue
  • The Pastel Society Catalogue Award, Second Prize: The winning work
    featured in the exhibition catalogue

FINAL TIPS for potential entrants

ESSENTIAL Read the FULL terms and conditions for entry on the Mall Galleries website carefully

Application process

  • Don’t leave registration and uploading your image to the last minute.
  • Measure your work precisely
  • Make sure the framed size does not render the work ineligible.


  • Inexperienced artists who are ignorant of market prices often overprice.
  • Affordable art is more likely to sell:
    • Most non-members’ paintings sell for less than £1,000
    • Smaller works priced around £500 or sell more easily (i.e. impulse buy)
  • Few non-oil paintings sell for more than £3,000 at the Mall Galleries – UNLESS you already have a VERY strong following and/or create excellent large pastels

Non UK artist

If you live outside the UK and your work is sold at the exhibition you have a LEGAL responsibility to register and account for UK VAT with H.M. Revenue & Customs at (HM Revenue & Customs Reference: Notice 700/1)

  • Make sure you read the conditions about VAT very carefully and
  • don’t think you can get away with skipping registration if it applies to you! This is both law and tax and this condition is NOT flexible!
  • if you use a picture carrier – make sure framed work can be submitted UNWRAPPED.

More posts about Pastel Society Exhibitions

You can review previous posts about Pastel Society exhibitions –
from my archives. 

As you can see I’ve reviewed this exhibition
every year since 2006!

Leave a Reply