The winners of the prestigious Buxton Spa Prize were announced last night in the fantastic new Green Man Gallery at Hardwick Hall.
The atmosphere in the newly converted space was buzzing as the judges lined up on the stage to announce the winners and make speeches praising the work of the Friends of the gallery and the many artists who had taken part.
Surrounding them in gallery was a collection of captivating paintings depicting Buxton created during the summer by artists working en plein air.
Chairman of the judging panel Harold Riley, the world-famous Salford artist who had a close friendship with LS Lowry, congratulated those taking part commenting that it was clear much of the work had been painted with feeling, which was one of the most important aspects they looked for when choosing the winners.
The winner of the £5,000 Buxton Spa Prize was Haidee-Jo Summers, from Lincolnshire with Walking Through the Buttercups; in second place and the winner of £2,500 was Keith Wilkinson with Solomon’s Temple and taking the third prize of £1,000 was Rob Wilson, of Whaley Bridge.
Two paintings by Jenny Aitken, of Belper and Matthew Phinn were highly commended.
The winner of the Harold Riley Sketchbook Prize was Adebanji Alade with an amazingly detailed entry.
The children’s prize, based on a theme of What I Like About Buxton, was won by Amealia Wharmby, with Buxton Bottled; second was Anya Woods, with Victorian Postie and third Abbey Moorhouse with The Buxton Sheep Were Making a Baby.
The rest of the judging panel was Professor Ken Howard, who is one of the country’s foremost en plein air artists; Viscountess Cobham, the chairman of Visit England; Ros Westwood, the Derbyshire Museums manager; Anne-Lise Fraser, the programme co-ordinator at Leek School of Art; Louise Potter, who sponsored the third place prize, is on the board of Buxton Festival and owns No. 6 The Square Tearooms and Trevor Osborne, who is leading the project to restore Buxton Crescent.
The competition was the idea of Mr Osborne and he generously supported it with funding as well as allowing the Green Man Gallery to move into Hardwick Hall which he also owns.
He told the assembled audience that he was thrilled by the result of the idea and said it was all down to the hard work of the small, dedicated team of enthusiasts who took it on board.
For more information about the prize go to http://www.buxtonspaprize.co.uk The paintings will be on display at the gallery until October 12.