© Katherine Tyrell
© Katherine Tyrell

Exhibit with us

Guidance from the Selection Committee

The Selection Committee of the SWLA seeks to encourage all forms of three and two-dimensional artwork (see Acceptable media’ below) that is based on representing the world’s wildlife. The Committee is particularly keen to encourage all artists with fresh visions to submit work to the Annual Exhibition that shows imagination, artistic ability, originality and genuine creativity.

The Committee is seeking work that evokes the spirit of the natural world and which reveals a personal experience or true understanding of the subject. If you have not already done so, visiting the annual show will give you a clearer idea of the criteria the Selection Committee is seeking.

Subject matter and approach

Works depicting domestic or purely botanical subjects are not permissible. Wildlife includes any non-domestic animal such as birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, crustaceans and insects.

Works depicting wildlife divorced from its environment or without place, setting or context are often rejected. Biological or scientific illustrations are in most cases not permissible.

We receive many submissions that are obviously direct copies from photographs. Whilst some of our artists use photographs for reference, the majority of member artists create their work in response to their own experience of wildlife and spend many hours observing and sketching in the field. This knowledge of the subject is evident in the resulting work. Artists thinking of submitting should consider choosing a subject to which they can have access.

Presentation of works

It is very difficult to assess work from poor photographs. When submitting work for pre-selection, please ensure that the photographs are accurate and show the work at its best. It is worth noting that sometimes work is let down by very poor photography including reflections on the glass, out of focus images or images that are angled from being propped against a wall when photographed. The lack of care reflects badly on the artist and does not help the task of selecting work. Sculptors, in particular, should use plain backgrounds and make the most of the option to add more views of the submission.

Artists are encouraged to choose simple plain frames and mounts that will suit the exhibition and not detract from the work itself or interfere with adjacent works when exhibited in the galleries.


In summary, the SWLA Selection Committee is looking for:

  • two and three-dimensional artwork inspired by the natural world
  • work that displays a deep knowledge and understanding of the subject matter, based on in the field’ observation
  • work that reflects a personal, original, and creative response
  • work that displays a high level of technical skill
  • work that showcases interesting approaches and emerging new talent


  • Any artist over 18 may submit.
  • Work should be based on representing the world’s wildlife.
  • Acceptable media: Work may be in any medium including painting, sculpture and original prints (if prints, please detail edition and how many are available). The SWLA is keen to embrace new and innovative mediums and will accept computer-generated images as original prints’. However, a digital print is only considered an original print if it was created by the artist to be realised specifically as a print. Reproductions of paintings or photographs will not be accepted. Photographic reproductions or mechanical prints, giclée prints, etc., that are often promoted as limited edition prints’ are not acceptable.
  • Submission fee: £20 per work (or £14 per work for artists aged 35 or under), which includes Free Admission to the exhibition (normally £5).
  • All work must be for sale. The price of works must include commission of 45% + VAT (please note that where foundry fees apply, foundry costs will be deducted before commission is calculated).
  • Minimum price: £200 (except for prints: framed £120, unframed £95).
  • Maximum of six works submitted, maximum of six works selected.
  • Works should not be larger than 2.4m along the longest dimension.
  • Work must have been completed within the last three years.
  • Work exhibited previously at Mall Galleries is not admissible.
  • Work will not be accepted if it is of botanical subjects, pets and domestic animals, decorative wares (such as vessels or tiles), work in metal frames, poorly framed or badly presented.
Delivery & Collection
  • Packaging from delivered works cannot be retained and must be taken away at the point of delivery.
  • We are unable to wrap works or provide wrapping materials for any works being returned.
  • Paintings should be completely dry at the time of delivery.
  • 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.
  • The Selection Committee is formed of artist members of the Society
  • Please note that the selectors’ decisions are final and we are unable to offer feedback.
International Entrants
  • Artists who are not resident in the UK but are resident in the EU or elsewhere are welcome to submit work. If your work is sold at the exhibition you have a responsibility to register an account for UK VAT with H.M. Revenue & Customs. Artists without a UK residence (known as NETPs’ – non-established taxable persons) can find further details on NETP’ status and how to register for VAT at www​.hmrc​.gov​.uk, (HM Revenue & Customs Reference: Notice 700/1, Mar 2014) under the heading Should I be registered for VAT?’ Please note: the registration process can take up to 4 weeks. Please address any questions you may have to the VAT Helpline on telephone 0300 200 3700 or outside UK: +44 2920 501 261.
  • Artists sending work from abroad should use a picture carrier. Many artists use Picture Post as they offer a packing and delivery service for our exhibitions (we do not accept any liability for their services).
    Picture Post: telephone: +44 (0)1302 711 011 / mobile: 07833 450788 / email: info@​picturepostcompany.​co.​uk
Submission Procedure

Artists may submit work for selection by registering online and uploading digital images of their work on the Mall Galleries website.

Prizes & Awards (subject to final confirmation)

There are many prizes and awards available to win, including:

The Birdwatch and Swarovski Optik Artist of the Year Award: A prize of an ATS 80 HD spotting scope with 2550x zoom eyepiece (with a value of £2,430), plus subscription to BirdGuides/​Birdwatch

The BIRDscapes Gallery Conservation through Art’ Award: £1,000 divided equally between the winning artist and a conservation organisation or project of their choice

NEW The Michael Harding Oil Painting Prize: £500 of art materials

NEW The Michael Harding Watercolour Painting Prize: £500 of art materials

RSPB Award: £500

NEW The Swarovski Optik New Artist Award: £250 for a non member artist

NEW Trymwood Studios Art Prize: The winner will receive the opportunity of a solo exhibition at Trymwood Studios in 2024

Dry Red Press Award: The winning work reproduced as a greetings card

NEW Mall Galleries / FBA Award: Ten free submissions to exhibitions by the Federation of British Artists at Mall Galleries (worth up to £200) for a non-member exhibitor.