National & Subject based

National and Subject-based Art Societies

These National Art Societies in the UK focus on subject matter.

The societies listed below are categorised as follows:
  • Portraiture
  • Life drawing
  • Landscape
  • Marine art
  • wildlife and animals
  • botanical and floral art
  • transport
Interestingly there is no art society dedicated to 'the still life'!

Portraiture - Art Societies in the UK

A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person.

The Royal Society of Portrait Painters

The Private View of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters always has a huge number of people.
These are the artists, the sitters and the people who want to commission and artwork 
The Royal Society of Portrait Painters (est 1891), or The RP as it is known, is the foremost Society for Portrait Artists and Portrait Painters in the United Kingdom. Most of the portrait painters and artists are available for private and company portraiture commissions. Hence becoming a member of this society opens up opportunities for an additional income stream outside exhibitions.

The Annual Exhibition isn't so much a place to sell a painting as a place to generate a commission.

Competition to be one of the people who get selected via the open entry is intense and the standard of work selected is often excellent.

If you are a serious portrait painter, this is an art society you definitely want on your CV. However the process for making that happen may take some time and involve repeated submission of your work.

Portrait miniature painters, presented by the Hilliard Society

Portrait miniature painters who accept commissions, listed by country and state or province

The Society of Portrait Sculptors

The Society of Portrait Sculptors, a representative body of professional sculptors committed to making portrait sculpture accessible to a wider public.

Landscape and Marine Art Societies in the UK

Royal Society of Marine Artists

The Society was founded in 1939 and is widely recognised for being the focal point for much of Britain's finest marine art. The RSMA currently has an active membership numbering 51. The Society's common theme is the sea, and Members work is as wide a

Wapping Group of Artists

This is not a national art group but its focus is the tidal reaches of the River Thames and crosses England from Oxfordshire to Essex.

The Wapping Group exhibit in the North Gallery of the Mall Galleries

The Wapping Group was formally founded in 1946 and initially met to record the busy life of the original London docks. Since then, the range of locations has widened in response to the changes in the economy and the River Thames. The geographical range of the group currently covers the tidal Thames from landlocked Henley in the west to the east coast harbours such as Maldon in Essex. The members now meet on a weekly basis between April and September to paint outdoors, in a wide variety of locations and in all weathers. 

The group is predominantly male and there are 25 members.  They will want to be convinced of your commitment to painting both the Thames and painting plein air before accepting you as a member. Vacancies typically only occur when a member dies or retires.

Wildlife and Animal Art Societies in the UK

Wildlife and animal art are extremely popular with both artists and art collectors. They also have a number of annual exhibitions which get a lot of visitors.

The Society of Wildlife Artists

The Society of Wildlife Artists is a registered charity that seeks to generate an appreciation of and delight in the natural world through all forms of fine art based on or representing the world's wildlife.

The Wildlife Art Society International (TWASI)

The Wildlife Art Society was founded in 1992 with the purpose of promoting a greater appreciation of the wildlife art genre, the animals, plants and wild places which provide the stimulus and inspiratio

Marwell International Art Society - Wildlife Art & Conservation

Welcome to the official website of the Marwell International Wildlife Art Society.

Artists for Conservation - Nature Art - Wildlife Art - Conservation

This is an international group of nature artists dedicated to wildlife and habitat conservation, nature art, wildlife art, nature conservancy and the nature and wildlife artist.  They produced wildlife paintings, prints and sculpture.

Society of Equestrian Artists

The Society of Equestrian Artists comprises over 400 members, ranging from enthusiastic amateurs to internationally-renowned professionals. It exists to promote the practice of equestrian painting and sculpture and to advance public education and ap

Association of Animal Artists

The Association welcomes "artwork of ANY animal, be it mammal, bird, reptile, fish or even insect" including domestic animals such as dogs, cats, horses and farm animals.

S.O.F.A. The Society of Feline Artists - Cat Paintings and Portraits

The Society of Feline Artists (S.O.F.A) was founded in September 1994. The specific aims are to promote the work of the best cat artists, whether established or unknown. The Society is open to all feline artists working in any media or style and may

Botanical and Floral Art Societies in the UK

There has been a resurgence of interest in botanical art in recent years and the numbers of active and practising professional botanical artists are increasing each year.  The societies split between:
  • more conventional art societies based promoting botanical art generally through exhibitions and learning opportunities
  • florilegium societies which are wholly focused on recording the plants and flowers of a particular garden or area

The Society of Botanical Artists (SBA)

The Society of Botanical Artists was founded in 1985 by the president Suzanne Lucas. It has a very large exhibition of botanical art at Central Hall Westminster in the Spring each year.

Hardcover: 144 pages | Publisher: Collins (1 Nov. 2004)

There are two things which are special to the SBA

  • It has developed and runs a distance learning Diploma Course for aspiring botanical artists. Current members of the SBA act as tutors and assessors.
  • Its former President initiated a set of textbooks for the Diploma Course to enable more effective art instruction. The books were produced via collboration with members

The Irish Society of Botanical Artists includes Northern Ireland (which is how it gets into this listing!)

The Florilegium Society | Chelsea Physic Garden

The Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society was formed in 1995, with the primary aim of recording in paintings and drawings, the plants growing in the Physic Garden.

The Florilegium Society at Sheffield Botanical Gardens

The Florilegium Society was established to produce an archive of botanical illustrations of the plants of Sheffield Botanical Gardens.

The Society of Floral Painters, UK

The Society of Floral Painters * had its origin in an exhibition held at the Royal Victoria Country Park, Netley Abbey, Southampton, in 1996. * has members throughout the United Kingdom and in Europe, Scandinavia, Australia and the United States. * a

South West Society of Botanical Artists [SWSBA]

The South West Society of Botanical Artists welcomes anyone with an interest in botanical illustration - students, artists, teachers, collectors, enthusiasts, friends and family. Members of the Society also offer teaching to Diploma level.

BOOKS: By the Society of Botanical Artists - written by Margaret Stevens ex President of the SBA

The Botanical Palette: Color for the Botanical Painter

The Art of Botanical Painting

Botanical Sketchbook


 GAvA - Guild of Aviation Artists

The Guild was formed in 1971 and is recognised throughout the world as the premier society for the promotion of aviation art. It brings together the worlds of art and aviation in a common interest group and stages exhibitions and events

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