Self-Portrait Prize

The Biennial Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize 2019

Selections for the 2019 self-portrait prize exhibition have now taken place. To view the long list of chosen works online please click here.

The exhibition will be open to the public at Piano Nobile Kings place from 24th May 2019.

About the Prize

The Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize celebrates contemporary British and Irish self-portraiture. It offers a unique opportunity for both established and emerging artists to compete for a £10,000 prize, the chance to be included in a curated, four-month exhibition at Piano Nobile Kings Place and, opportunity for their work to be purchased by the Ruth Borchard Next Generation Collection – the UK’s only collection of self-portraits.

For 2019, the winner of the £10 000 prize will be selected by a prestigious panel of judges including Sean Rainbird (Director of the National Gallery of Ireland), Professor Deborah Swallow (Director of the Courtauld Institute of RAF), Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Hillier (Head of the RAF), Martin Gayford (art critic and writer), Marc Steene (Director of Outside In) and 2017 prize winner, Benjamin Ogbebor.


All artists working, living or studying in the UK and Ireland are eligible to enter.

Works must be a self-portrait of the artist. This is the only condition for entering the Prize and all variations – figurative or abstract, alone or in a group, from life or from memory – will be accepted.

There are no restrictions of size of work.

We welcome a wide variety of medium and all creative individuals are actively encourage to enter in the form of their own practice.

Full entry criteria can be found here.


To commemorate the centenary of Ruth Borchard’s birth, the inaugural Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prizewas held in 2011 at Piano Nobile Kings Place . The Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prizeis intended to reflect and celebrate the traditions which inform the Borchard Collection by encouraging the development of self-portraiture in British art into the twenty-first century.

It offers a unique opportunity for both established and emerging artists to compete for a £10,000 prize, for their work to be  included in a curated, four-month exhibition at Piano NobileKing’s Place and, chance to be purchased by the Ruth Borchard Next Generation Collection.

Open to all artists working, living or studying in the UK and Ireland and, international artists of British and Irish heritage, the biennial prize aims to enable an interpretation and exploration of the self-portraiture genre. Shown alone or within a group, contextualised, abstracted, trailing narrative or defined by the surface of the image, like all self-portraits, these new additions to the genre will explore the idea of visual identity, simultaneously revealing and designing the self-presentation of the artist.

Unlike many other competitions there are no restrictions on size of work and a wide variety of mediums are welcomed.

Dr Robert Travers says “The exciting thing about the prize is that it is open to all kinds of artists, not just portraitists. It brings together a wide range of diverse artists of all ages and experience, who briefly, inquisitively, turn their eye upon themselves. We often find the majority of entrants have never even painted a portrait before, let alone one of themselves. Subject and object become one and the same, seeing and being seen in a moment of revelation and self-reflection – it’s fascinating.”

Previous winners of the Competition include Celia Paul (2011), Thomas Newbolt (2013), and Shanti Panchal (2015) and their self-portraits, alongside paintings by Maggi Hambling CBE, Anthony Eyton RA, John Keane and many other respected British artists have been purchased for the Next Generation Collection.Amassed from prize submissions, and continually growing, The Next Generation Collection, extends Ruth Borchard’s project into the twenty-first century. Retaining the dynamic growth and evolution with which Ruth Borchard began her monumental undertaking, it is an unparelled body of work that supports practicing British artists, delineates trends in the contemporary art scene, and demonstrates the diversity of contemporary British society at large.