Virtual Talent

Here’s a ‘first’ l am sure this particular Bath-based body wishes it didn’t have to experience – but it’s a novel undertaking that at least enables people to put their talents in front of the general public.

For the first time ever, the Bath Society of Artists Annual Exhibition will be displayed online. The exhibition is usually held at the Victoria Art Gallery, which is currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions and will reopen on 29 March 2021.

Art enthusiasts will be able to browse and buy a selection of fabulous works by mainly local artists, at prices to suit every pocket. The virtual exhibition will be online from Monday 2 November 2020 to Sunday 3 January 2021 at  

Now in its 115th year, this hugely popular exhibition showcases the best of the region’s artistic talent. Any artist aged 18 or over can submit work for possible selection, and all of the artworks are for sale. The exhibits include paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints and mixed media.

Councillor Paul Crossley, cabinet member for Community Services at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “While it’s a shame that this popular exhibition can’t go ahead in its usual format this year, it’s great that we will be able to make works by our most talented local artists available to view and buy online. We have received a high number of entries and look forward to seeing the best of them on show in the virtual exhibition.”

Andrew Lansley, Chair of Bath Society of Artists, said: “We are pleased to be able to continue the long tradition of the exhibition, in the face of the current adversity. We have had nearly 700 entries, which is as many as we have on the traditional hand in days. The best work is extremely accomplished, in line with the quality you would expect from our distinguished alumni.”

Last year 219 works were selected to appear in the show, alongside 163 by Bath Society of Artists members. More than 100 works were sold at both the 2018 and 2019 exhibitions.

This year’s selection will be made by a panel of guests and Bath Society members. The prize judges will be David Simon of David Simon Contemporary and Jessica Lloyd-Smith of Modern Art Buyer.

The prizes on offer include:

  • Bath Society of Artists Prize of £1,500
  • Runner-up prize of £750
  • Prize for a 3D work of £250
  • Young Artist Prize of £250
  • Painting Prize of £250
  • Drawing Prize of £250
  • Print Prize of £250
  • Meltone Gallery Framing Prize of £100 Gift Voucher
  • Pegasus Art Prize of £100 Gift Voucher
  • St Cuthbert’s Mill Watercolour Prize of 25 sheets of watercolour paper
  • Minerva Art Supplies £50 voucher

Bath Society of Artists was founded in 1904 with 26 members. It has grown over the years to a membership of about 120 diverse artists. Many distinguished 20th-century painters have exhibited with the Society including Walter Sickert, John Singer Sargent, Philip Wilson Steer, Gilbert Spencer, Patrick Heron, Mary Fedden, William Scott and Howard Hodgkin.