Art UK and the Paul Mellon Centre are incredibly proud and delighted to announce the winners of the inaugural Write on Art prize – an award that was launched at the end of 2017 to encourage a greater interest in art and art history at schools.

Write on Art

Write on Art

Almost 200 students in Years 10 to 13 submitted essays ahead of the February closing date. Twenty-four were shortlisted and invited to a splendid prize-giving ceremony at the Paul Mellon Centre in Bedford Square where the following students walked away with prizes:

Years 12/13

First place: Catherine Jamieson, Esher College – Bacchus and Ariadne by Titian

Second place: Felicity MacKenzie, Godalming College – Saint Francis in Meditation by Francisco de Zurbarán

Runners-up: Aspen Warren, Anoushka Maini, Alex Neish

Bacchus and Ariadne

Bacchus and Ariadne 1520-3

Titian (c.1488–1576)

The National Gallery, London

Years 10/11

First place: Abhimanyu Gowda, King Edward VI School, Warwickshire – British Empire Panel (11) India by Frank Brangwyn

Second place: Sophie Mullins-Poole, Diocesan School for Girls Grahamstown, South Africa – George IV (1762–1830), when Prince of Wales (after Joshua Reynolds) by John Hoppner

Runners-up: Lila Raczkevy-Eotvos, Elizabeth Tiskina

British Empire Panel (11) India

British Empire Panel (11) India c.1930

Frank Brangwyn (1867–1956)

Glynn Vivian Art Gallery

The five judges faced with the daunting task of choosing between the shortlisted candidates were Jeremy Deller, Dr David Dibosa, Dr Gabriele Finaldi, Dr Janina Ramirez and Jackie Wullschlager. It was an incredibly tough choice.

Director of the National Gallery, Gabriele Finaldi, said: 'I was delighted to be one of the judges of the inaugural Write on Art prize and impressed by the exceptionally high standard of the essays produced by the shortlisted candidates. It is so encouraging to see such talented young writers in their last few years of school. I wish Art UK and the Paul Mellon Centre great success with the prize in future years and hope it will enthuse more young people to look at, think about and write about art.'

The winning students in each category received £500, the second-placed students £200 and each of the runners-up £100. The two top essays in each of the two age categories will be published on Art UK and the Paul Mellon Centre websites each day for the next four days. Prepare to be dazzled!

The annual Write on Art prize was launched in November 2017 to encourage an interest in art history among young people at school. Given the disturbing decline in focus on art and art history education in state schools, Art UK and the Paul Mellon Centre hope that this award will underline the importance of the subject as an academic discipline as well as highlighting the broader value of sharing ideas about art through good writing. Both our institutions hope this annual prize will be of particular interest to students and teachers in state schools.

At the awards ceremony – which was attended by students, parents and even some grandparents – we heard a number of times that the award had encouraged students to think seriously about changing A Level choices to include Art History, and some students mentioned thinking about studying the subject at university. It was music to our ears and we cannot wait to launch the prize for the second time in November 2018.

Andrew Ellis, Director, Art UK, and Sarah Turner, Deputy Director for Research, Paul Mellon Centre