Royal Society of Sculptors

  (Redirected from Otto Beit Medal)

The Royal Society of Sculptors is a British charity established in 1905 which promotes excellence in the art and practice of sculpture. Its headquarters are a centre for contemporary sculpture on Old Brompton Road, South Kensington, London.[1] It is the oldest and largest organisation dedicated to sculpture in the UK.[2] Until 2017 it was the Royal British Society of Sculptors.[3]

Royal Society of Sculptors
RBS 4.jpg
RSS headquarters at 108 Old Brompton Road
Established1905; 117 years ago (1905)
Clare Burnett
Vice President
Almuth Tebbenhoff
Formerly called
Society of British Sculptors (1905-11)
Royal Society of British Sculptors (1911-2003)
Royal British Society of Sculptors (2003-2017)

The Royal Society of Sculptors is a registered charity with a selective membership of around 700 professional sculptors, promoting excellence in the art and practice of sculpture. It aims to inspire, inform and engage people of all ages and backgrounds with sculpture, and to support sculptors' development of their practice to the highest professional standards.


  • 1905: Began as the Society of British Sculptors, with 51 sculptor members in its first year[4][5]
  • 1911: Received royal patronage, and was renamed the Royal Society of British Sculptors[6]
  • 1963: Gained charitable status in recognition of its educational activities[7]
  • 1976: Received donation of 108 Old Brompton Road from the late sculptor Cecil Thomas[8]
  • 2003: Became Royal British Society of Sculptors in recognition of growing international membership[9]
  • 2017: Became the Royal Society of Sculptors.[3]



The society has received Royal Patronage since 1911 and Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II is the society's current Patron.


The society was founded as a company limited by guarantee in 1905[10] and has been a registered charity since 1963.[11] It is a selective membership-based organisation, whose members elect its governing council.. The council meets regularly to review applications and select new members.[12][13]


There are two types of membership: Members (formerly known as Associates until 2014[14]) and Fellows, who are entitled to use the MRSS and FRSS post-nominal letters. Presidents of the society are entitled to use the post-nominal letters PRSS and Vice Presidents VPRSS.[15]



First Plinth: Public Art AwardEdit

Formerly FIRST@108: Public Art Award,[16] the First Plinth is a biennial £10,000 award to contribute towards the production costs of producing a large-scale sculpture, thereby offering competing sculptors the opportunity to extend their practice into competing for public art commissions. Open to any artist working in three dimensions.[17] The award is supported by the Mirisch & Lebenheim Charitable Foundation.[18] The current winner of the First Plinth: Public Art Award 2021 is Polly Morgan.

Past winners[19]Edit

Grizedale ResidencyEdit

With thanks to the Brian Mercer Charitable Trust the Society offers an annual residency opportunity based at Grizedale Forest. This intensive six week long residency aims to foster experimentation and innovation in response to the natural environment.

Past Winners

  • Susan Stockwell (2021)
  • Florian Houlker (2021)
  • Karolin Schwab (2019)
  • Ben Allan (2019)


Founded in 2017, Contemporary Sculpture Fulmer is a private sculpture park in Buckinghamshire which surveys the breadth of contemporary sculptural practice. A new area of woodland has been opened out to create an environment for an artist to install a single large work or a series of works creating a solo installation. Society members and fellows are invited to propose new or recent work that is suitable for display outside over summer. The Spotlight exhibition is included on the route taken by all visitors to the gardens, but it is also separate and distinct from the rest of the sculpture trail, and as such applicants are encouraged to engage with the idea of it as a solo exhibition en plain air. The successful applicant works closely with director George Marsh.

Past Winners

  • Tim Ellis (2021)
  • Rosie Leventon (2020)
  • Amale Freiha Khlat (2019)
  • Marco Miehling (2018)

Thread ResidencyEdit

Thread is a residency program and cultural centre that allows local and international artists to live and work in Sinthian, a rural village in Tambacounda, the southeastern region of Senegal. It houses two artists’ dwellings, as well as ample indoor and outdoor studio space.

Past Winners

  • Julian Wild (2020)

Red House ResidencyEdit

For Benjamin Britten – one of the foremost composers of the 20th century – a quiet place to compose was absolutely essential. He was fortunate enough to achieve this for most of his life, spending his last two decades at The Red House, down a quiet lane on the outskirts of Aldeburgh, Suffolk. This new creative retreat at The Red House is open to women members of the Royal Society of Sculptors to spend time in Suffolk on a peaceful, creative retreat.

Past Winners

  • Hannah Honeywill (2020)

Gilbert Bayes AwardEdit

Established in 2000 as the RBS Bursary Awards,[25] it was renamed in 2018 after the artist Gilbert Bayes, whose charitable trust supports the awards.[26] This is an annual award made to a small group of emerging sculptors that the society has judged to be of outstanding talent and potential. It is designed to aid them in the transition to full professional practice, by giving them a package of professional support including an annual membership of the society. The award is open to sculptors of any age, nationality, with or without formal training and working in any medium. Past winners include: Alex Chinneck, Tessa Farmer and William Mackrell.

Past AwardsEdit

Brian Mercer ResidenciesEdit

Two annual scholarships for society members to experiment with stone or bronze under instruction from master craftsmen in Pietrasanta, Italy enable sculptors to learn the technical aspects of the carving or casting process were supported by the Brian Mercer Charitable Trust.[27]

Lady Feodora Gleichen Memorial Fund (1938 – 1988)

The Feodora Gleichen Memorial Fund was an annual award of £100 for women sculptors and was made from works shown at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition or any other exhibition at which works by female sculptors were shown. The Funds were administered by the Royal Academy from 1923 – 1938, after which management passed into the hands of the Royal Society of Sculptors. The fund was established following the death of Lady Feodora Gleichen, who was posthumously voted as one of the first female members of the Society alongside Christine Gregory and Flora Kendrick. Winners included Anne Acheson, Rosamund Fletcher, Karen Jonzen, Lorne McKean and Olivia Musgrave.

Otto Beit medalEdit

For many years the society awarded the Otto Beit medal, named after and funded by the philanthropist Sir Otto Beit.[28] Winners of the medal include Michael Clark, Sean Crampton, Philip Jackson, Franta Belsky, David Annand, Dennis Huntley, John W. Mills, Michael Rizzello and Judith Bluck.

Sculpture ShockEdit

Launched in 2013, Sculpture Shock encouraged surprising site-specific spatial interventions in non-traditional spaces outside the confines of a gallery. Three sculptors were awarded £3,000 and a three-month residency in Kensington. The artists then exhibited in one of three environments: Subterranean (the unseen world underneath the city), Ambulatory (without physical confines in movement through space and time) and Historic (an illustrious building in London). Sculpture Shock was supported by private philanthropists.[29]


  1. ^ Oliver Gili (7 March 2008). "Steel at The Royal British Society of Sculptors". Londonist. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  2. ^ Public Art Scotland. "Companies: Royal British Society of Sculptors". Archived from the original on 28 January 2015. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  3. ^ a b "History". Royal Society of Sculptors. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  4. ^ Dennis Wardleworth (2013). William Reid Dick, Sculptor. Ashgate. p. 39. ISBN 9781409439714. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  5. ^ Galería Aina Nowack, Madrid (November 2014). "Noticias: "LO" miembro de la Royal British Society of Sculptors".
  6. ^ Dr. Emmanuel Minne. "A brief history of the society from 1904 to the present". University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  7. ^ Open Charities: A new project to open up the UK Charities Register. "Royal British Society of Sculptors". Online database. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  8. ^ Victoria and Albert Museum (2014). "Leonard Walker (1879–1965)". V&A Search the Collections (online database). Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  9. ^ Charity Commission. "212513 – Royal British Society of Sculptors: Other Names". Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  10. ^ "Royal Society of Sculptors – Overview (free company information from Companies House)". Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  11. ^ "Royal Society of Sculptors, registered charity no. 212513". Charity Commission for England and Wales.
  12. ^ Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851–1951 (2011). "Royal Society of British Sculptors – Rules". University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, online database. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  13. ^ Selma Stern (2003). "The UK's Sculptural Newcomers". NY Arts Magazine. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  14. ^ Royal British Society of Sculptors > Past Members Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  15. ^ "Membership". Royal Society of Sculptors. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  16. ^ Tom Flynn (3 February 2009). ""Huh? Wow!"- New UK Public Sculpture Prize Awarded". The Art Key.
  17. ^ "First Plinth | Royal Society of Sculptors". Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  18. ^ "Public Art Online News - FIRST@108 Public Art Award". Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  19. ^ a b "Past Winners | Royal Society of Sculptors". Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  20. ^ "FIRST@108 Public Art Award 2017: Playground sculpture wins £10,000 prize - a-n The Artists Information Company". Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  21. ^ "FIRST@108: Public Art Award 2015 – Invitation to the unveiling of The Dispensary". The Gallery Guide. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  22. ^ "First@108 Public Art Award Exhibition | Art in London". Time Out London. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  23. ^ "First@108 Public Art Award: Horizon Pavilion - Exhibition at Royal Society of Sculptors in London". ArtRabbit. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  24. ^ "Robert Worley: Avatar". Canary Wharf. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  25. ^ Degree Art (2014). "RBS Bursary Award". Archived from the original on 23 February 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  26. ^ "Scholarships / Grants | Gilbert Bayes". Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  27. ^ Time Out (2014). "Brian Mercer Residencies: Ed Jones And Richard Stone". Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  28. ^ Artist Biographies: British and Irish Artists of the 20th Century. "Royal British Society of Sculptors". Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  29. ^ Christopher Williams (19 April 2013). "Art News: Sculpture Shock: Subterranean art from David Ogle". Telegraph.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 51°29′29″N 0°10′45″W / 51.4913°N 0.1793°W / 51.4913; -0.1793