Deadline 4 September 2020

The Sir Denis Mahon Foundation awards The Sir Denis Mahon Essay Prize of £2,000 for an essay of distinction which reflects Sir Denis Mahon’s studies, research and interests.

Whilst Sir Denis Mahon focused on the 17th century period and especially on the work of Guercino, Carracci, Caravaggio and Nicolas Poussin, his much wider range of art historical interests included the 15th and 16th centuries, and also certain key modern and contemporary artists. Sir Denis was a contemporary and a friend of Graham Sutherland, Stanley Spencer, Henry Moore, Eduardo Paolozzi, Giorgio Morandi and he much admired their work.  Of the contemporary artists, he particularly liked the post-war avant-garde conceptual British artists, as well as David Hockney, Grayson Perry and others. Essays are welcomed on any of these aspects and artists including the contemporary ones.

The prize is open to undergraduates or post graduate students aged 30 years or below


Sir Denis Mahon (1910–2010) was one of the most distinguished art historians and collectors of the 20th century, and a determined campaigner and philanthropist. The Sir Denis Mahon Foundation was created by Sir Denis in his lifetime. It aims to continue Sir Denis's philanthropic work, his art historical research and his passionate promotion of young scholars. It promotes his art collection and lifelong work and studies to the general public, organises exhibitions, supports museums, and also endows two annual prizes for young scholars and artists.