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The Historic Houses Summer Art Competition 2021

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Britain’s Historic Houses have been the source of inspiration for artists, writers, poets and musicians for centuries; from George Eliot to William Gilpin and, more recently, contemporary artists such as Ai WeiWei and Edmund de Waal. This summer we’re inviting you to join these astute ranks of creative talent by responding to Historic Houses member places through visual art.

Until the end of September, we’re asking you to respond in whichever way you wish to a Historic Houses member house or garden through a two-dimensional piece of artwork. This can be depicting directly the subject you choose, or indirectly, choosing perhaps an architectural detail, an object or story from the house’s past. This is your chance to get familiar with our member houses and reveal them through your own creative interpretation.

Which Historic Houses place inspires you most?

We're keen to see a variety of entries, whether you wish to adopt a traditional painting or drawing style or wish to enter something more idiosyncratic.

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What is the competition and how do I enter?

Marchmont House - Chairmakers Richard Platt and Sam Cooper - Colin Hattersley Photography
What are Historic Houses looking for?

Subject

We’re looking for you to make an artwork depicting, about, or simply inspired by an aspect of one of our member houses or gardens. The house or garden in question must be listed on our website here.

You can also find other houses under our Tours page, Stays page, Weddings page and Exclusive use pages.

Medium

The artwork should be made in a two-dimensional form, including painting, pencil, pen, ink, charcoal, printing or photography, allowing it to be easily photographed, entered and viewed by our judging panel. Photographic artworks will be considered but entrants should bear in mind that this is an art, not a photography, competition, and the criteria will be applied accordingly.

Date

We’re looking for new responses to these historic houses and gardens, so are asking that artworks must have been made no earlier than 1 January 2021.

Who can enter?

The competition is open to anyone, including Historic Houses members and anyone with a creative flair.

Marchmont House - Sculptor Charlie Poulsen and Hugo Burge - Colin Hattersley Photography
Who will be judging the award?

We are delighted to have a panel of representatives from our member houses. The judges so far include:

Hugo Burge, owner | Marchmont House, Berwickshire

Marchmont House is an imposing ‘Grade A’ listed Palladian mansion built in 1750 by Hugh Hume-Campbell, 3rd Earl of Marchmont. Long thought to have been designed by William Adam, it is possibly the work of the celebrated architect James Gibbs, and enacted by Thomas Gibson.

Marchmont seeks to inspire and celebrate creativity, supporting artists, hosting events including Open Studios, and offering studios and residencies. Proposals are invited from practitioners from all creative disciplines including those who have applied for previous Marchmont residencies. Find out more about their residencies programme.

Lucinda MacPherson, Heritage & Arts Communications Consultant | Turner’s House, London

In 1807 J.M.W. Turner, England’s greatest landscape painter, bought himself a large plot of land between Twickenham and Richmond Bridge. He once declared that “if he could have his life again, he would have been an architect”, and in building Sandycombe Lodge he was able to indulge that wish.

Today, Turner’s House is an independent registered charity which relies on visitors admission, grants and donations to remain open at all. Find out more about them here.

Eleanor Wang, Co-Director | Van Gogh’s House, London

In August 1873, Van Gogh took lodgings at 87 Hackford Road, aged just twenty. It was here that Van Gogh fell in love for the first time and though this love was unrequited, Van Gogh’s time at Hackford Road is said to be some of the happiest of his life. Visitors to the house can see the original materials, traditional techniques and finest craftsmanship that have been used throughout the project, particularly in the ‘Van Gogh’ room, where Vincent lodged.

Angus Forbes, Artist & Exhibition Programmes Manager | Doddington Hall, Lincolnshire

Angus Forbes’ practice stems solely from a painting background to now incorporate elements of installation, projection, video and sound. These elements of his work were realised during his Fine Art degree at the University of Lincoln. Whilst he would describe his practice as multidisciplinary, it still remains heavily weighted towards abstract and semi-abstract painting.

Find out more about his work here.

Alison Hand, Artist | Alumni of the Royal College of Art, London

Alison Hand is an artist who graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Painting. Hand’s painting and drawing practice explores the representation of architecture and landscape, and her research interests include site specific painting; regeneration and the politics of place; and illusion, materiality, and fragmentation in painting, drawing, and architecture. Hand’s work has won numerous awards, including the Basil Alkazzi Scholarship Award; the Gordon Luton Award from the Painters’ and Stainers’ Guild; and the Stevenson Harwood Award.

Currently, Hand lectures in fine art and is BA Programme Leader at The Art Academy, London.

Hand is a published art writer, and previously was a board director for Cumbrian arts and research organisation Artgene, who specialise in landscape and regeneration projects. www.art-gene.co.uk. Hand has also undertaken doctoral research into relationships between art and architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

Find out more about Alison’s work here.

Marchmont House - Jo Crossland Stone Artist - Colin Hattersley Photography
What are the key dates to remember?

Friday 9 July 2021: Competition opens

Thursday 30 September: Competition closes

Wednesday 10 November: Winners announced

The summer competition prizes

First prize

RAG Club 2021 Amy Murrell 2021-42
Rag Weekend Pass for Two People

The Rag was established in 1837 as a military club and nearly 200 years later it is still a leading London club with a military tradition and ethos and one that offers so much more, to not only members from a military background but also to those who have never served in the Services but who find the Rag conveniently located and a special place to meet friends, family and colleagues. Discover more about them here.

The offer includes:

  • Two-night stay in a Premier Double Room for two guests with continental breakfast (available Friday and Saturday night only)
  • Complimentary Club Champagne on arrival
  • Three-course Club Menu dinner for two with a bottle of Club Wine served in The Coffee Room on Friday evening
  • Saturday morning “Secrets of St James’s Walking Tour” with a professional guide followed by a two-course lunch for two at The Ribbon Bar & Terrace (excludes alcohol)
Barradas Books at Cheeseburn
£50 gift voucher for Search Press

Award-winning publisher Search Press is the leading art and craft publisher in the UK, specialising in producing beautiful and practical books on painting and drawing, knitting, sewing, crocheting, needlecraft, textiles and general crafts for people of all skill levels. Discover more about them here.

A £50 voucher will be given to the winner to be used on Search Press’s extensive collection of craft and arts books.

Penshurst Place tour photo by Layton Thompson
£20 voucher for an Invitation to View tour

Invitation to View is your opportunity to explore Historic Houses places behind closed doors. Visit our tours page to see which tours are coming up. Discover forthcoming tours.

We are offering a £20 voucher to be used on any Historic Houses Invitation to View tour. The voucher is non-transferable and the winner must let Historic Houses know which tour(s) they would like to join in advance.

Win a Stay at The Rag – Army & Navy Club

Highly commended prize

Light on the books at Cheeseburn
£50 gift voucher for Search Press

Award-winning publisher Search Press is the leading art and craft publisher in the UK, specialising in producing beautiful and practical books on painting and drawing, knitting, sewing, crocheting, needlecraft, textiles and general crafts for people of all skill levels. Discover more about them here.

A £50 voucher will be given to the highly commended prize winner to be used on Search Press’s extensive collection of craft and arts books.

Looking to make something a little different?

We'd love you to explore some of the more unusual features of our member houses. Historic houses and gardens are home to a wealth of fascinating stories and objects. Why not explore some of these in your work?

Marchmont House - Artist Julia Alexandra Mee - Colin Hattersley Photography

Terms and conditions of the competition

Sudeley Castle The Bohun Book of Hours
Read the terms of entering here
  1. The competition is open to anyone, including Historic Houses members, and to people of all age groups and locations.
  2. Artworks are to be submitted as image files via the image upload on the competition entry page only. Images must be submitted as JPEG or PNG files. The image title must be the title of the artwork and the artist name.
  3. The subject matter must in some way involve a Historic Houses member house. This might be a straight depiction of the house or garden drawn from a photograph, memory or in-situ, or it might be inspired by a Historic Houses member place or object/story within it.
  4. Artworks must have been completed no earlier than 1 January 2021.
  5. The artwork must be two-dimensional in form. Suggested and acceptable media include: Oil, acrylic, watercolour, original prints, pencil, pen, ink, charcoal, pastels or photography. Photographic artworks will be considered but entrants should bear in mind that this is an art, not a photography, competition, and the criteria will be applied accordingly.
  6. There is no charge to enter the competition.
  7. A maximum of one artwork can be submitted per entrant. Entries can include more than one photograph of the artwork if deemed necessary.
  8. The entrant must be the artist them self. If the entrant is not the artist them self this must be declared on the submission form.
  9. The selection committee’s decision is final and they are not obliged to offer feedback.
  10. Entries that do not meet these Terms and Conditions will not be considered.
  11. By agreeing to these Terms and Conditions, entrants are also agreeing to the Historic Houses Privacy Policy.
  12. By agreeing to these Terms and Conditions, entrants are also agreeing to the Rag Club’s Terms and Conditions on the circumstance of their winning the competition.
  13. The entrant gives Historic Houses a non-exclusive, worldwide, irrevocable licence to reproduce the submitted image(s) of the artwork in any channel for our own purposes. Such purposes include general marketing and promotion around the competition.
  14. The copyright and all other intellectual property rights in and of the artworks, will remain the property of the artist and any enquiries in relation to such rights will be referred to the artist. So far as any rights in the artworks are owned by a third party that third party will remain the owner of such rights in and of the artworks.

Ready to enter the competition?

Complete the submission form below

Max. file size: 64 MB.
You can upload more than one picture if necessary, but only one artwork can be submitted in total. Files uploaded must be titled as the title of the artwork, the artist name, and the month/year of completion.
Drop files here or
Max. file size: 64 MB.
Please only upload further images if you feel it is necessary.
Describe the artwork you've submitted and mention what inspired you to make an artwork about this house or garden.

If you’ve a question about the competition please email us here. Don’t forget to share your entry on Instagram using the hashtag #HistoricHousesArtPrize and tag us in at @historic_houses