New Portrait Competition

Every year we invite young people to create a new portrait that Carl Linnaeus would really like.

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This year, 8-13-year-olds are tasked with creating a portrait of their wanderings with Wallace!

Alfred Russel Wallace was a scientist and explorer who came up with the theory of evolution along with Charles Darwin (read more about him below). Wallace made several adventurous trips to South America and the Malay Archipelago, finding all sorts of amazing species along the way. In our portrait of him below, he's sitting front and centre and also painted into the painting behind him looking for butterflies. 2023 is his bicentenary, meaning he was born 200 years ago, in 1823!

To celebrate, our portrait theme for this year is "Wanders with Wallace", and we would like you to paint yourself exploring nature like Wallace did! Your adventure could be something you've already done: like exploring your local park or garden, visiting a zoo or museum, or rock pooling. Or your adventure could be one you would like to do: you could venture into the Amazon rainforest, to the deepest depths of the ocean, or even to the farthest reaches of space in search of nature among the stars!

Click the headings below to read through the competition information.

The New Portrait Competition 2023 is now open for entries. The deadline for entries is 12 January 2024.

You can subscribe to the Linnean Learning Update, where you can find out about other fun opportunities for young people, here.

Please email a high quality picture of your artwork to, and include the following details:

  • The artist's name
  • Age at time of submission
  • The city/town/country where the artist lives
  • A few sentences about the piece: what is the story behind the image? Where is it set? What was your inspiration? Etc. Make sure your piece fits with the theme of "Wanders with Wallace"!
  • If relevant: A school name

Please store your original artwork somewhere safe as we will need you to send us a high quality scan if you win the competition. The scan must be of a high enough quality that we can print a copy to display in Burlington House.

  • The artist must be between 8 and 13 years old between 1 September 2023 and the 12 January 2024.
  • The artist can be from anywhere in the world, i.e. not limited to the UK.
  • The artwork must be in a portrait orientation (i.e. not landscape) and a standard paper dimension, minimum A4 (21x29.7cm). The artwork must be in a format that can be scanned and have a high-quality digital copy made, in case you win.
  • The artwork must be signed by the artist.
  • The artwork can include any medium - paints, charcoal, digital art, collages... anything! You could even create a 3D object and enter that as a portrait photo, although we cannot accept video.
  • The artwork must be the artist's own work. Do not enter other people's work.

  • A judging panel will review all of the entries once the competition has closed.
  • One overall winner will be selected, with at least three more finalists.
  • The winner and finalists will receive physical certificates and prizes, including art and science materials.
  • All artists who enter artwork will receive a digital certificate sent via email. The Linnean Society will send thanks to all participants after the competition closes.

Alfred Russel Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace

The Linnean Society has a vibrant portrait of Alfred Russel-Wallace. Maybe you can use it as inspiration for your own!

Born in Wales, Wallace was a keen explorer. He studied wildlife and different ways of living around the globe. He worked out how species develop. This included ideas like warning colourations used by animals like bees and wasps. He also wrote a book exploring whether there is life on other planets.

But Wallace is best known for developing the theory of evolution. He co-wrote a paper with well-known biologist Charles Darwin that introduced the idea to the world. It was presented at the Linnean Society in 1858 and has shaped the way we understand the natural world today.

Alfred Russel Wallace (1823–1913)

Terms and Conditions

  • By entering, you give the Linnean Society permission to use your artwork in future media products, as well as share your artwork with all audiences, both online and in person. The Society will give appropriate credit to the entrant in all uses of the image.
  • The first name, age at submission and town/city will remain associated with the artworks in perpetuity (forever), but all other data will be removed related to entrants and submissions after the 1st January 2025, unless otherwise approved.
  • Entries will not be accepted from employees of Linnean Society and their immediate families.
  • The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding the competition outcome.
  • Entry into the competition will be deemed to constitute acceptance of these terms and conditions.

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