The RWA Secret Postcard Auction

June 2020
09:00 AM BST
June 2020
09:29 PM BST
GOAL £45,000.00
239.1% REACHED!

The RWA Secret Postcard Auction


The ever-popular Secret Postcard Auction is back for another year. This hotly anticipated event offers the chance to purchase unique works of art by leading figures from the art and cultural world from just £40, while supporting the RWA (Registered Charity 1070163).


This year we’ve got another amazing line-up with hundreds of artworks to bid on. Each one measures roughly 14x19cm (unless otherwise stated), is signed on the back and accompanied by a certificate of authentication.

Since the artists remain a secret until after the auction, buyers either have to guess who the big name artists are or just buy what they like. Bidding on each work starts at just £40, which is a very reasonable price for a unique piece of art, and if it turns out to be by an internationally famous artist, it might just be the bargain of the century!

Because the artworks are anonymous at the point of purchase, each is deemed to have a fair market value of £40, and any amount above this is considered a donation for the purposes of Gift Aid.


Artists include Turner Prize winners including Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor, Grayson Perry, Gilbert & George and Sir Richard Long.

There are Royal Academicians including Norman Ackroyd, Frank Bowling, Brian Catling, Eileen Cooper, Anthony Eyton, David Nash and Emma Stibbon, plus Past President Christopher Le Brun, plus our own brilliant Academicians, such as Derek Balmer, Stewart Geddes, Ken Howard, David Inshaw, Kurt Jackson, Janette Kerr and Dawn Sidoli.

Then we have acclaimed photographers including Magnum member Martin Parr, along with Susan Derges, Peter Lavery and Jem Southam; internationally renowned painters including Glenys Cour, Maggi Hambling, Susie Hamilton, Marcelle Hanselaar, Juliette Losq, Will Maclean and Joy Wolfenden Brown, and artist-illustrators including Angelina Ballerina illustrator Helen Craig; the always witty and brilliant Simon Drew and Sam Toft, and 2020 V&A Illustration Awards shortlisted Clive Hicks-Jenkins.

On top of this, we’ve also got world-famous animators Peter Lord and Nick Park (of Aardman fame), alongside brilliant talents better known in other fields, such as Harry Hill; Dame Joan Collins, and art-trained engineer Sir James Dyson, plus - uniquely - we can boast both JMW Turner and LS Lowry...well, the actor who played them both, Timothy Spall! A full list of contributors can be found here:

Please note that some artists have contributed more than one artwork.



Full list of artists:

Subscribe to hear about future opportunities to buy art:

Browse and buy art from our exhibitions:

About RWA:


We are hugely grateful to all of the artists who have supported us by donating artworks.

We are also grateful for the support of St Cuthberts Mill and The Print Company.

This year’s auction has been made possible through Covid-19 emergency funding from Arts Council England.

UPDATE 16 JUNE 2020:
Thanks to the generosity of both contributing artists and bidders, we were able to meet our original target of £30,000 within 36 hours of opening the auction. The target has now been raised to £45,000, which will enable the RWA to resume its acclaimed creative work across Bristol once it is safe to do so, including free family activities in some of the city’s most deprived wards, and support for people with a wide range of physical and mental wellbeing challenges.

About Royal West of England Academy

Widely recognised as a valued contributor to the cultural life of Bristol and the South West region, the Royal West of England Academy (RWA) is the only one of Britain’s five Royal Academies of Art housed in its original, purpose-built Gallery.

Our building is currently closed for our transformational Light and Inspiration Project which will enable this outstanding building to fulfil its potential as one of the country’s truly great galleries. Nevertheless, we are continuing to work in partnership with communities to deliver life-enhancing creativity across Bristol and beyond.

Unfortunately, due to the extraordinary situation we presently find ourselves in, we are facing escalating costs and a significant delay to our project that will result in us losing over £100,000 from next year’s income.

Combined with the impact of Covid-19 on our self-supporting charity, the income from the Secret Postcard Auction - always important - is even more crucial now.

The income from the auction will enable us to continue work such as:-
• A mentoring project and exhibition with Bristol Refugee Artists Collective.
• Regular creative activities with a Roma Youth Group
• Activities for adults with learning disabilities, mental health issues and dementia
• Artist Explorer workshops for families and school children
• New Neurodiverse Mondays sessions for autistic children and work with Venturers’ Academy, the first state funded school for autistic children
• Free family Scribble and Sketch creative sessions in five areas of high deprivation
• Engagement with targeted local schools to develop new learning activities and resources
• An art and creative writing project engaging children with English as an additional language.
• Work with Catch22, offering activities for excluded children.
• Buggy Tours for socially isolated young mothers

“We’re so grateful to all the artists who have been so generous in donating work to support the RWA as a charity. It’s great fun trying to guess whose is whose, and whatever your taste or purse, with bids starting at £40 and the chance to snap up a unique artwork that will bring joy for years (and may be worth thousands), please do join in, and dig deep to support us" - Alison Bevan, RWA Director

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