Royal British Society of Sculptors
RBS Headquarters at 108 Old Brompton Road
The Royal British Society of Sculptors (RBS) is a centre for contemporary sculpture, headquartered on Old Brompton Road, South Kensington, London. It is the oldest and largest organisation dedicated to sculpture in the UK.
Established in 1904, RBS is a registered charity, with a selective membership of around 600 professional sculptors, which promotes 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 with 51 sculptor members in its first year
- 1911 – Received royal patronage, becoming the Royal Society of British Sculptors
- 1963 – Gained charitable status in recognition of its educational activities
- 1976 – Received donation of 108 Old Brompton Rd from the late sculptor Cecil Thomas
- 2003 – Became Royal British Society of Sculptors in recognition of growing international membership
RBS is an independent artist-led organisation. Its governing body is the elected Council, who are the Trustees of the registered charity (212513) and the Directors of the limited company (83239). Membership of RBS is selective and the sculptor members of Council meet to review applications and select new members. Presidents of the organisation receive the postnomial PRBS.
Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II is the Patron of the Royal British Society of Sculptors.
RBS Bursary Awards
Ten bursaries are awarded each year to emerging sculptors judged to be of outstanding talent and potential. Open to sculptors of any age or nationality, the awards provide opportunities and support to enable them to make the transition to full professional practice. The winners receive free RBS membership for two years and opportunities to exhibit, present talks, apply for residencies, participate in training seminars, attend events and access the RBS mentoring scheme. The bursary awards are supported by the Gilbert Bayes Charitable Trust.
Brian Mercer Residencies
Two annual scholarships for RBS members to experiment with stone or bronze under instruction from master craftsmen in Pietrasanta, Italy. The three-month residencies enable sculptors to learn the technical aspects of the carving or casting process. The awards are fully supported by the Brian Mercer Charitable Trust.
Launched in 2013, Sculpture Shock encourages surprising site-specific spatial interventions in non-traditional spaces outside the confines of a gallery. Three sculptors are awarded £3,000 and a three-month residency in Kensington. The artists then exhibit 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 is supported by private philanthropists.
Otto Beit medal
For many years the RBS awarded the Otto Beit medal, named after and funded by the philanthropist Sir Otto Beit. Winners of the medal include
- Michael Clark (1960 and 1978)
- William Bloye (1960)
- Michael Rizzello (1961)
- Elza Mayhew (1962)
- Robert Thomas (1963)
- Alan Collins (1965)
- Henry Cecil Noordhoek (1965)
- Dennis Huntley (1967)
- John Poole (1969 and 1974)
- Bernard Reynolds (1972)
- Franta Belsky (1976)
- David Norris (1981)
- John W. Mills (1983)
- John Bunting (1986)
- Seán Crampton (1986)
- David Annand (1987)
- Alastair Ross (1989)
- Judith Bluck (1989)
- Edwin Russell (1991)
- Philip Jackson (1991-1993)
- Robert Erskine (1994)
- Ann Christopher (1997)
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