About the Scottish Portrait Awards 

The 2019 Scottish Portrait Awards are open to anyone born, living or studying in Scotland who will be over 16 by 1 October 2019.  

Entries are open from 2 April 2019 and close at midnight on Saturday 30 June 2019.

The SPA Judges are seeking diverse and well-executed works that inspire, excite, raise questions, entertain, deliver an emotional punch, and/or force us to look at ourselves and others differently. Read more about the judges

The SPA Fine Art Judges: John Byrne, Imogen Gibbon, Guy Peploe, Jennifer McRae, Gordon Mitchell

The SPA Photography Judges: Ben Harman, Malcolm Dickson, Robin Gillanders, Siobhan Coward

The SPA in Fine Art with £5,000 first prize, £1,000 second prize and £500 third prize, is open for works in any 2D or 3D medium. Artists may submit paintings, sculptures, fine art photography in colour, collage, multi-media and works in any other medium provided they fit the size constraints and other rules. The £500 SPA Young Fine Artist Award is open to entrants aged over 16 and under 25 years on 1 October 2019.

The Richard Coward SPA in Photography with £3,000 first prize, £500 second prize and £100 third prize, is only open to works in black and white. The £500 SPA Young Photographer Award is open to entrants aged over 16 and under 25 years on 1 October 2019.

Entrants for the youth awards will be automatically considered for the main awards in both categories.

Key facts about the SPAs

  • Artists may choose to enter either or both of the fine art and the photography competitions. Each artist may enter no more than six entries in each of the competitions.

  • An entry fee per artwork of £10 is payable to the Scottish Arts Club Charitable Trust. All proceeds are used to support the Scottish Portrait Awards.

  • All works entered for the competition should be the artist’s own work and the subject must be known to the artist. All portraits submitted should have been created from life in the first instance and completed after 1 January 2015.

  • All works submitted for the youth award are also eligible for the major SPA awards.

  • Entries for the Scottish Portrait Award in Fine Art may be in any medium and in 2D or 3D formats. For Fine Art we welcome portraits in oil, water colour, pencil, collage, tapestry, photography and 3-D works in any material including digital works as long as these meet the size criteria. Why do we allow photography into the SPA in Fine Art when there is a separate SPA in Photography? Read here.

  • Although the work should begin from life, portraits that are more conceptual or contemporary in their approach are as welcome as more traditional portraiture.

  • The concept of ‘portrait’ may be interpreted in the widest possible sense. The subject may involve one or more people and self-portraits are also permitted. Portraits may include animals but only when these are secondary to the human subject.

  • Works submitted for the Scottish Portrait Awards should not have been previously exhibited in Scotland. This means the work should not have been shown in any public venue such as a gallery, shop, theatre, restaurant or any other place where the public can see the work. Exceptions are works that have been exhibited as part of a degree show or other educational purpose or for a charitable purpose.

  • Entries for the Richard Coward Scottish Portrait Award in Photography must be in black and white.

Read all the rules

Cover photo credit: Mark Mulholland, Portrait of Tony Singh MBE (detail)