Over the last 30 years, BAMS has commissioned work from established medallists as well as from artists for whom the medal as a medium is a fresh challenge. Some of the artists whose work we issue have been approached by BAMS directly, but we also welcome proposals from established and novice medallists.
Successful medals are small, hand-held, double-faced sculptural objects, normally in cast metal. There is a sense of relationship, either one of development or contradiction, between the obverse and the reverse. Medals often feature a combination of text and modelled imagery, and may respond to recent or historical events.
The British Art Medal Society exists to promote and encourage medallic art, including the production of contemporary work. Its members are makers, collectors and enthusiasts of medals. BAMS is a non-profit-making organisation, and is linked to a charity, the British Art Medal Trust (registered charity no. 288869), which publishes The Medal, a bi-annual journal with an international reputation dealing with contemporary medals and the history of medallic art. The medals commissioned by the Society are publicised and offered for sale to members in The Medal, published in the Spring and Autumn, and on the Society’s website (www.bams.org.uk). Medals no longer for sale remain permanently in the website galleries. The medals are sometimes placed on temporary exhibition by the Society.
The commissioning process
Artists are encouraged to submit medals for commissioning by BAMS. Ideas can be discussed at an early stage with the Commissioning Secretary; contact details are at the bottom of this document. When the submission is ready for consideration it should be sent to the Commissioning Secretary, with the following:
- Contact details.
- A brief statement up to 300 words outlining the thinking behind the medal.
- Drawings / photographs of the proposed medal.
- Costings where these exist.
- Links to websites or other sources that contextualise the work.
These should be emailed as a Word, pdf or text document with attached images to the Commissioning Secretary (contact details below). The email should not exceed 2MB. If it is not possible to digitise the submission, please contact the Commissioning Secretary in order to make alternative arrangements.
Artists may be encouraged to develop ideas by other members of the BAMS Council, and it may be more practicable to continue to liaise with that individual. In this circumstance, the Council member may take responsibility for forwarding the proposed work to the Commissioning Secretary.
Submission of pattern
If a proposal is accepted for consideration, the artist will be invited to submit the physical pattern (the finished medal in any material suitable for making a mould from) in order that a final decision can be made.
Subjects for medals
The choice of subject matter is left to the artist, but the Society suggests subjects if required. Medals should generally be less than 10cm. (4in.) in diameter. Similarly, it is preferable for medals to be kept below 500gms in weight; however, artists can work up to a maximum of 1kg by arrangement with the Commissioning Secretary.
Medals cast and finished by the artist
Artists who arrange production themselves should agree the cost with the Society before proceeding. Invoices for all production costs, including casting and finishing, should be sent to the Commissioning Secretary, for forwarding to the Treasurer.
Where medals are produced by the artist, the commission payment to the artist is £50 per medal sold (the Society will pay £500 against the potential sale of the first ten medals immediately prior to publication).
Medals cast by the Society
Artists wishing the Society to make their medal should contact the Commissioning Secretary.
Where medals are produced by BAMS, the commission payment to the artist is £25 per medal sold (the Society will pay £250 against the potential sale of the first ten medals immediately prior to publication).
Commission payments: A commission payment (as above) is made immediately prior to the publication of the medal. Subsequent commission payments are paid to artists annually in the Spring. Payments can be made by cheque for UK-based artists or by bank transfer if the artist is willing to submit their account details to the BAMS Treasurer. All such information will be held securely and not shared with third parties.
Moral rights: The moral rights to the work belong to the artist.
Copyright: Copyright of the work belongs to the Society, or otherwise by negotiation, but in all cases both the artist and the Society may reproduce the medal photographically. All sales of the medal must be directed through the Society. Two examples are retained by BAMS for exhibition. Artists are entitled to two free examples (which may be marked AP), and can acquire/retain more at cost price for their own personal use (that is, for their own archive or for use as gifts). The artist’s original pattern shall become the property of the Society, unless negotiated otherwise.
Editions: The maximum size of an edition will be one hundred, plus the artist’s two examples (which may be marked AP for Artist’s Proof). The actual number will be fixed after the medal has been offered in three issues of The Medal (approximately eighteen months). Sales tend to be in the range of 20-80.
It would be appreciated if artists would sign their medal and number the edition.
Publication: For deadlines, see below. Artists are asked to provide notes about themselves and the medal (including a title) for inclusion in The Medal journal and the Society’s website. The photography for reproduction is arranged by the Society. Those artists with a website should inform the Society, so that reciprocal links can be built between that site and the Society’s site. Artists are requested to inform the Society if they create a website at a later stage, so that links can be created.
Pricing: Medals are priced according to the following formula: Price to members = Cost of production + artist’s commission payment + BAMS overheads and postage and packing.
Delivery of medals
The Society needs an example of the finished medal for photography at least three months before publication of The Medal. Further examples will be required by the publication date. This means that medals must be sent to arrive by the following dates:
For the Spring issue, by 1st week in January. Following this, the number of medals in the first batch to be ordered is decided in consultation with the Commissioning Secretary and should be delivered 1st week in March.
For the Autumn issue, by 1st week in July. Following this, the numbers of medals in the first batch to be ordered is decided in consultation with the Commissioning Secretary and should be delivered 1st week in September.
Artists whose work is commissioned by the British Art Medal Society thereby consent to the society retaining some personal information about them to be held in perpetuity in the BAMS archive:
name, address, telephone number, email address, website address, biographical information, details about the medal design and development, as well as the artist’s statement about the work.
BAMS will publish images, details about the medal, including the artist’s statement, and biographical information (the wording agreed in advance with the artist) in The Medal journal during the 18-month period that the medal is for sale. The same information will also be published on the BAMS website, where it will remain indefinitely as a record of the society’s past commissions. An image of your medal may also appear on the front and/or back cover of The Medal or feature on our medal order form/membership leaflet. New medals are also featured on our social media platforms to encourage interest. Medals are sometimes placed on temporary exhibition by the Society, where they are accompanied by labels giving the name of the artist, name of the medal, and other relevant information.
We will never collect sensitive information about you without your explicit consent. Neither will we share your personal contact information with any other parties. The information we hold will be accurate and up to date. You can check the information that we hold about you by contacting us. If you find any inaccuracies we will delete or correct them promptly. The personal information which we hold will be held securely in accordance with our internal security procedure and the data protection law. You can contact BAMS via our website at www.bams.org.uk
With your consent, we’d like to contact you by email from time to time to offer:
- opportunities to take part in BAMS-related medal exhibitions and events
- information about opportunities for artists.
You can contact us via the website should you prefer to opt out of further contact from the society but we very much hope that you will stay in touch.
For more information, or to make a submission for consideration, contact the following:
Abigail Burt, Commissioning Secretary
Janet Larkin, Secretary