Young Botanical Artist Competition 2022/3

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Categories Ages 16-18 and 19-25
Closing Date for entries 30 April 2023 - DEADLINE NOW PASSED
Winners Announced 30th June 2023
Theme Trees

Dr. Shirley Sherwood has worked for decades to bring the botanical art genre to new and broader audiences worldwide. This year, we’re delighted to introduce The Young Botanical Artist Competition in collaboration with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Open to artists aged 16-25, The Young Botanical Artist competition invites entrants to submit a 2D botanical artwork on the subject of TREES. This could depict something as large as the entire tree or as small as a leaf bud. You could also choose the fruit, a decaying leaf, a branch, the moss-coated trunk or any other element that inspires you... provided it relates to trees. 

We ask that works are:

  • 2D
  • A2, A3 or A4 (artworks outside these fixed dimensions will not be accepted)
  • In any medium excluding photography
  • Representative of the subject and in a botanical art style. 

The artist's age on the deadline date - April 30th 2023 - should determine which age category they submit within. Artists who turned 26 between November 30th 2022 (our original competition deadline) and April 30th 2023 are still eligible to apply.

We believe there is significant talent among the 16-25 age group with a wealth of exciting work to be uncovered. This is a crucial moment to engage with the ever-growing genre of botanical art – the scientific capacity of botanical paintings and drawings to document plants and fungi is particularly vital in contemporary society as we work to preserve our planet’s biodiversity.


Submissions will be judged by a panel of esteemed judges, from revered contemporary botanical artists to Kew’s gallery curators. There will be 2 age-based categories (16-18 and 19-25) and 20 artists from each category, based on their digital image submission, will be shortlisted.

The judges will be looking for botanical artworks that represent their subject creatively, but with scientific accuracy.

The Shirley Sherwood Collection includes over 1,000 artworks and you can see them all on our website here. Take a look for more inspiration and to get a feel for the style of contemporary botanical art.

The Prize

All 40 artworks shortlisted for the Young Botanical Artist Competition will be exhibited from October 2023 at The Shirley Sherwood Gallery, a renowned gallery in the heart of Kew Gardens that has previously held exhibitions by some of the world’s most celebrated artists including Rory McEwen, Rebecca Louise Law and David Nash. Shortlisted artists will also recieve a complementary family day pass to Kew Gardens and the gallery space.

Winners will receive prize money as follows:

Overall Winner (1 per category): £750

Highly Commended (2 per category): £250

Overall winners will be crowned alongside Highly Commended artists and a People’s Choice Artist (chosen over the duration of the exhibition). These artists will also receive an art supplies bundle worth £100, supported by Seawhite of Brighton.

Some of the winning artworks will be reproduced in merchandise available for sale at The Shirley Sherwood Gallery shop and in online retail outlets. 

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

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  • Who can enter the competition?

    Anyone between the ages of 16 and 25 (inclusive), from any part of the world.

  • Can I enter a piece that is off-theme?

    No. Whatever your artwork is, it must have some connection with trees. 
    It could depict something as large as the entire tree or as small as a leaf bud. You could also choose the fruit, a decaying leaf, a branch, the moss-coated trunk or any other element that inspires you, provided it relates to trees. 

    If the judges don't see any relation to the theme of the competition, your piece will not be considered.

    Also, make sure to do some background research on your chosen tree- it may not be classified as one! 

  • Does it matter if I am an artist living outside the UK?

    No. Despite the October exhibition being based in our gallery at Kew Gardens in London, this is an international competition. We would love young artists from anywhere around the world to apply.

  • Can I use digital media?

    Yes. You can use any form of artistic media, with the exception of photography. All that we ask is that it's in a representational botanical art style. 

  • Can I submit more than one artwork?

    Yes. You can submit more than one- but remember, quality over quantity! 

  • Will I make profit from sales if my work is printed on to merchandise?

    No. All profits from merchandise produced by Kew in collaboration with the YBA competition, and using artworks submitted to that competition, will go to the Kew Gardens charity. We will contact all winners whose work will be produced in merchandise to gain authorisation prior to any production. Should anyone wish to buy the shortlisted artworks displayed in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery, the proceeds will of course go entirely to the artist.

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