• Mike McInnerney, Self isolating in Stanmer woods

From Wednesday 28 October, The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2020 shortlist and winners will be on display at Hampshire Cultural Trust’s Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery, Basingstoke, on its first stop of the exhibition’s tour of the country.

The renowned Sunday Times Watercolour Competition is the largest and most prestigious prize for contemporary watercolour painting in the UK. Over the past 33 years, it has attracted entries from artists working in abstract, figurative, contemporary and traditional subject matter, with the aim of celebrating and redefining the beauty and diversity of all water-based media.

The 2020 competition received over 1,600 entries from artists around the world – their sheer number, variety and quality allowing the exhibition to showcase the most impressive use of water-based media and present an eclectic selection demonstrating artistic excellence and originality.

Approximately 80 works have been selected by a panel of leading figures from the art world, which includes Gill Saunders, Senior Curator at the V&A Museum, artists Ishbel Myerscough and Paul Newland NEAC RWS, and Louis Wise, critic and writer for The Sunday Times. This year, Hampshire Cultural Trust’s Visual Arts Exhibition Manager, Tara McKinney Marinus was also on the judging panel. She commented: ‘It has been a privilege to be part of the selection panel for such a significant competition. The artists’ creativity and resourcefulness in finding inspiration with the current global challenges in original ways should be commended. Hampshire Cultural Trust is delighted to premier the show and we hope it creates much lively debate and engagement for our visitors from Hampshire and beyond.’

The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2020 exhibition runs at the Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery, Basingstoke, from 28 October to 16 January 2021, then at the Mall Galleries, London, from 16 to 21 February 2021. The prize winners will be announced on 1 November 2020 online and in The Sunday Times.

The Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery is operated by Hampshire Cultural Trust, an independent charity set up in 2014 to promote Hampshire as a county that offers outstanding cultural experiences to both its residents and visitors.   

To help keep everyone safe, the Willis Museum has made some changes including introducing a number of measures in line with government guidelines to help manage visitor numbers and ensure social distancing is maintained to protect visitors, staff and volunteers. Admission to the exhibition is free, pre-booking is recommended.

For more information about the exhibition and to book a free time slot, visit


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