Piano Nobile and the Ruth Borchard Collection are delighted to present the fourth edition of the biennial Ruth Borchard Prize. Featuring 120 works by British and Irish artists, the prize showcases the very best of contemporary self-portraiture.


The human face is an enduring motif, endlessly fascinating, and the face of the artist even more so, an insight into the mind and vision of the creator.  “I loathe my own face,” Francis Bacon once said, “and I’ve done self-portraits because I’ve had nobody else to do.” To the artist, his or her face is intimately familiar yet strange when transformed into the object of scrutiny. This exhibition presents the diverse responses of 120 artists, who variously find comfort, disappointment, repulsion, or mere apathy in their visages.


The Ruth Borchard Prize 2017 received a record number of submissions and this exhibition represents the short list of entrants. The Winner of the £10,000 Prize will be selected by a prestigious panel of judges including Dr Xavier Bray (Director, The Wallace Collection), Charlotte Mullins (art critic and author), Alastair Sooke, (broadcaster and art critic at The Daily Telegraph), Marilyn Scott (Director, The Lighbox), Shanti Panchal (2015 Winner), and Richard Borchard (son of Ruth Ruth Borchard). Previous winners of the Prize include Celia Paul (2011), Thomas Newbolt (2013), and Shanti Panchal (2015).


Ruth Borchard, a Jewish refugee from Hamburg who settled in Surrey, began collecting self-portraits in 1958. Over the course of fifteen years, Ruth Borchard amassed a collection of 100 self-portraits by British artists, acquiring from exhibitions, directly from the artist or, for almost a third of the collection, commissioning artists to produce a self-portrait. The inaugural Ruth Borchard Prize was launched in 2011 to continue to promote the values embodied in Ruth Borchard’s collection: supporting, celebrating and patronising self-portraiture in its myriad forms. Alongside the Prize-winner, a number of works from each prize are purchased by the Collection for the Next Generation Collection, the 21st century branch of the Ruth Borchard Collection.


The Ruth Borchard Prize is delighted to be partnering with The Lightbox, Woking, one of the most exciting cultural spaces in the South East, close to Ruth Borchard’s Reigate home. The Lightbox is hosting an exhibition of the entire Ruth Borchard Original Collection in its galleries until 25 June 2017.