We are fortunate enough to have a completely diverse panel whose expertise span the art industry. Each are able to use their own area of knowledge to offer a unique insight into what they believe makes a piece of artwork stand out above others.


Our judges will come together after the competition closes to select 5 finalists from each category, whom they believe display the most skill and promise through their piece.



Lady Carol Aldridge was born and raised in Liverpool. Her working career has mainly been in the public sector having worked for Liverpool City Council for over 21 years. Her role ultimately focused on improving and modernising operations for front-line services to the public. This led to her playing a major role with “Liverpool Direct” a ground breaking and award winning joint venture between the Council and BT. This  partnership which was the forerunner implemented by many other local authorities  focused on establishing a contact centre which integrated the majority of the Council’s back office services to become a front of office services offering 24/7 services to the public.


In 2003, as a result of this role, with “Liverpool Direct”,  Carol was recruited by the Capita Group, the market leading outsourcing FTSE 100 company to become a part of its business development team bidding for multi million contracts across the public sector.


In 2006, she decided to follow her passion to work in the world of interior design and successfully graduated from the KLC School of Design in Chelsea for interior design in 2011 She has subsequently worked on a number of projects involving large scale property development and refurbishment.


Lady Carol supports Sir Rod with the Foundation that the family has established involving sponsorship of 12 academies it has established  designed to improve the education and  life chances of young people working in challenging communities in the NW, SE and London. She became a Trustee of the Foundation in February 2014, taking a particular interest in the entrepreneurial and enterprising focus of the work of the Foundation and representing the family.


Lady Carol was a judge for the Junior Signature prize in 2019 which were submissions from the Aldridge Academy students.

Dr. David Bellingham is an art historian, author and Programme Director for the Master’s Degree in Art Business at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London where he leads a core unit on The International Art World, Law and Ethics, as well as electives on The Market for Antiquities & Old Masters and Ethics, Law & the Art Trade, and Art World Operations & Logistics. David also sits on the education committee of the Guild of Arts Scholars which supports and promotes the study of art history in schools across London and the South-East. He also lectures on Classical Art and Architecture, and their reception in the modern era. He holds a special honours degree in Latin and Classical Archaeology (University of Birmingham), and a doctorate from the University of Manchester for his thesis on the cultural and socio-economic aspects of sympotic scenes in ancient Roman and Pompeian wall-painting. David has published numerous books and articles on a variety of subjects, including: art fairs; art business ethics; Greek & Celtic mythology; the art market for classical sculpture and frescoes; the paintings of Sandro Botticelli; and authenticity issues in the paintings of Frans Hals. David has delivered a paper at the University of Maastricht on the ethical reception of the Riace Bronzes (published in 2014); participated in a panel on art and human rights (; and introduced the ethical theme of the London Art Business conference, 2015. His most recent paper on the ethics of selling works of art from English country houses was delivered in March 2016 at the University of Maastricht. David contributed three chapters (on the auction process, art market sectors, and art market ethics, to Hackforth-Jones, J. & I. Robertson (eds) (2016) Art Business Today: 20 Key Topics (London: Lund Humphreys). David has recently contributed an essay for the exhibition catalogue Erdoğan Zümrütoğlu: Mirror of Darkness (Exhibition at JD Malat Gallery, London, 1 October to 10 November, 2018). This year he delivered a paper at the Sotheby’s Institute 50th Anniversary Conference on ‘The Times-Sotheby Index, 1967-1971: A Window into the Art Market 50 Years Ago’. He is currently writing an introductory book on the art market.


Grant Castle is a partner in the London office practicing in the areas of life sciences regulatory law, with an emphasis on pharmaceutical and medical device regulation.

Mr. Castle is a visiting lecturer at the University of Surrey, on a course leading to a Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Medicine/Clinical Pharmacology; Cardiff University, on a course leading to a Master of Science/Diploma in Clinical Research and on the Postgraduate Course in Pharmaceutical Medicine; and, Cranfield University, on a course leading to Master of Science, Postgraduate Diploma, and Postgraduate Certificate in Medical Technology Regulatory Affairs.  Mr. Castle is recognized by Chambers UK, Life Sciences as "excellent," "a knowledgeable lawyer with a strong presence in the industry," who provides "absolutely first-rate regulatory advice," according to sources, who also describe him as "one of the key players" in that area," whilst Chambers Global sources report that "he worked in the sector for many years, and has a thorough understanding of how the industry ticks."  He is praised by clients for his "absolutely first-rate" European regulatory practice.  Legal 500 UK notes that he is “‘highly competent in understanding legal and technical biological issues.”


Born in South Africa growing up in Doha, Qatar and now living in London, Jade comes from a culturally rich background. After studying Art & Design at Kingston University, London, Jade worked as freelance fashion designer before moving into art curating.


Her current role at a private Family Office involves managing the family’s private art collection and leading the creative direction on varied projects which range from graphics & interiors to unique design challenges.

Jade loves to bring creative vision to the projects she assists with and really enjoys the creative/design process.

Johannes Nielsen was born in 1979 in Falkenberg (Sweden). In 2001 he enrolled in the Lund’s Art School. In 2003 he moved to Dublin and became the assistant of the famous sculptor Patrick O’Reilly, where he honed his sculptural practice.


He has participated in several fairs and exhibitions in Europe, US and Asia. His works are part of public and private collections in Sweden, London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Hollywood, New York and Montreal. Recently he had a solo exhibition in Stockholm, Sweden were most artworks was sold to collectors at the opening.


He lives and works in Beijing (China) from 2007.


Kate is one of the UK’s leading businesswomen. She is Chairwoman of Previously she was CEO of the SSP group following 10 years as CEO of WHSmith. Prior to this she was Managing Director of Argos, the UK’s leading general merchandise retailer, a subsidiary of GUS plc. Kate joined Argos in December 2000 from Homebase, where she was promoted to Managing Director from Marketing Director after three years with the company.

She began her career at Tesco in 1989 as a graduate trainee and later held a number of senior marketing roles within retail at Homepride Foods, Coca Cola and Dixons Group. She graduated from the University of Bradford with a degree in Business Management in 1986, and was awarded an honorary degree from Bradford in 2007. In 2015, Kate was announced the new Chancellor of the University of Bradford.

In 2006 she was named one of the 50 most powerful women in business by Fortune magazine.


An award winning creative director, Peter has over 18 years experience building brands and working in the design industry.

Peter started his career as a creative working in some of the UK’s top Design & Advertising agencies before moving into web in 2005. Here he found a passion for all things digital, creating websites and campaigns for people like Seddon Homes, Humax, Little Chef and leisure and lifestyle brands before setting up his own digital agency. In 2015 Peter joined the fast-moving world of technology as Callsign's Head of Brand & Creative. He’s now the guardian, ambassador and creative director for the Callsign brand, and has built the brand from the ground up, aiming to position Callsign as a distinct competitor in the cybersecurity space.


The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry KT takes the lead with the family’s historic properties and art collections and the Buccleuch Living Heritage Trust which he chairs.


He undertakes a number of wider responsibilities as High Steward of Westminster and a Trustee of the Royal Collection Trust.


For the last two years he has been Lord High Commissioner to The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and he is currently Lord Lieutenant for Roxburgh, Ettrick and Lauderdale.


Sebastian Mallaby is the Paul A. Volcker senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). An experienced journalist and public speaker, Mallaby is also a contributing columnist for the Washington Post, where he previously served as a staff columnist and editorial board member. He is the author of The Man Who Knew: The Life & Times of Alan Greenspan, winner of the 2016 Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award and the 2017 George S. Eccles Prize in Economic Writing. His writing has also appeared in the Atlantic and the Financial Times, where he spent two years as a contributing editor.

Before joining the Washington Post in 1999, Mallaby spent thirteen years with the Economist. While at the Economist, he worked in London, where he wrote about foreign policy and international finance; in Africa, where he covered Nelson Mandela’s release and the collapse of apartheid; and in Japan, where he covered the breakdown of the country’s political and economic consensus. Between 1997 and 1999, Mallaby was the Economist’s Washington bureau chief and wrote the magazine’s weekly Lexington column on American politics and foreign policy. He is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist: once for editorials on Darfur and once for a series on economic inequality. In 2015, he helped to found a startup,, a web publication making the fact-based case for Britain to remain in the European Union.

Mallaby was educated at Oxford, graduating in 1986 with a first class degree in modern history. After eighteen years in Washington, DC, he moved to London in 2014, where he lives with his wife, Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor in chief of the Economist.

In recent years Derrick's career has risen rapidly within the art world. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Ruth Borchard Self Portrait award. In 2016 she was selected for the prestigious Royal Academy Summer show, as well as being shortlisted to the final 200 of the BP Portrait Award. She was recently featured on BBC News, focusing on influential women in the arts. Derrick's works are now held internationally, in private and public collections.

Sophie Derrick's work very much focuses on portraiture, but with the use of both painting and photography this genre is skewed and manipulated, and the transformative properties of paint are pushed to the limit. She photographs the act of painting onto her own skin and then paints on top of the photographs, creating a layering of image of paint and painted image, blurring the boundaries between the two. The 'self' is lost, buried beneath the paint, and the notion of portraiture is questioned. The body becomes both object and subject within Sophie's work. Sophie Derrick is represented by Contemporary Collective gallery.


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Prior to joining Bonhams, Dessa was a Research Fellow in Chinese Archaeology at the Toyo Bunka Kenkyujo, part of the University of Tokyo. She is a graduate of the Inter-University Centre for Advanced Japanese in Tokyo, a Stanford University-based programme, and interned in the Painting and Calligraphy Department at the National Palace Museum, Taipei.


Dessa attended Harvard University as a graduate student, where she studied under Professor Max Loehr and John Rosenfield. She holds a B.A. in Art History from Northwestern University, a Master's degree in Asian Art, and a Ph.D. in Chinese History from the University of California, Berkeley. One of North America's leading experts in her field, Dessa speaks Mandarin Chinese and Japanese. She travels and lectures widely throughout the US on topics in Chinese art and has focused her recent research on the growth of philanthropy and urban culture, with a specific eye to the history of Asian art collecting in America. She regularly appears on PBS's Antiques Roadshow.

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James has a long association with business and the arts. Prior to his semi–retirement he was a director of Science Limited, which managed the affairs and business activities of contemporary artist Damien Hirst. During his time at Science he played a key role in projects such as the creation of Newport Street, Hirst’s gallery, which won the 2016 Stirling Prize for UK’s best building. He also was involved in significant elements of the artist’s epic Treasures exhibition that opened to acclaim in 2016. James retired from full time employment with Science and now provides commercial and strategic advice to businesses within the art world through his consultancy. He acts as a Non-Executive Director to a number of businesses which included Bonhams auction house until its sale. He is currently a Trustee of the City and Guilds of London Art School.  Previously, he spent more than 20 years as a partner at the international Chartered Accountants, Rawlinson & Hunter, where his clients included a number of artists, galleries, auction houses and other art related businesses.

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Vestalia is  a cultural strategist, where she develop synergies between artists, organisations, cities, councils and commercial clients to create ‘win-win’ partnerships. In 2011, Vestalia  founded the Attollo Art. Where her role became cultural director, which entailed explore potential for connectivity through the creative industries by encouraging co-collaboration and co-funding between private and public sectors.

Some of our most recent projects include Kensington + Chelsea Art Week, Urban Art at Marrakech Biennale 6th Edition, BritWeek LA, Fine Art Sails, The Croydon Mural Project, The Exhibitionist Hotel in South Kensington and a pioneering AirBnB Gallery offering art spaces and place-making opportunities for emerging artists. ​



A driving force in the arts community, Minnesota received more than $3 million in commissions from Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport during Robyne’s tenure as Art Director and Consultant for Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Her work has garnered praise from The New York Times, Forecast Public Art and international travel bloggers, who in 2017 proclaimed MSP Terminal 2 “One of the 12 Most Beautiful Terminals in the World”.    

Robyne created an international Emmy-winning platform for Minnesota arts during her years as a news anchor-reporter, and made arts finance and commerce one of her key initiatives as a 2010 candidate for Lt. Governor.  She owned and curated flatland, an award winning contemporary art gallery featured in esteemed art publications such as Art News and Juxtapoz.   Robyne has served on numerous arts board including the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD).  She is also a Hubert Humphrey Public Policy Fellow at the University of Minnesota.

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London based artist, Luke M Walker, graduated City & Guilds Of London Art School in 2014 with an MA in Fine Art. Luke views his practice as an inquiry into memory, time, distance and materiality with each series of works being an opportunity to discover something new, through experimentation, exploration, chance, the collection of data and other records of his personal progress through the environment, whether a city or somewhere further afield. It is an attempt to discover the role of a Landscape Artist today.Much of his work derives from exploration, primarily through walking. This can involve collecting specific data on walks; the length, the pace, the altitude or number of steps etc. and translating the data into a painting which become physical representations of the momentary act of walking itself.


Luke is a co-founder of The Wilderness Art Collective, bringing together a diverse range of artists from across the UK who’s work explores the Landscape and Environment. Their inaugural exhibition ‘Landlines’ at the Royal Geographical Society in September 2019 and the show will now be touring.

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Mengyao Guo is a multidiciplinary and mixed media artist currently based in Shanghai. Guo never confines the media employed in her practices as long as they are conducive towards creative and provocative ideas. This means that her artwork could range from a painting, to an installation, and a pop-up event. During her graduate studies at Chelsea College of Arts of the University of the Arts London, Guo traveled to Iceland, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Japan. Her works became deeply informed by each place she visited, and evolved into a personal archive, as well as her approach to communicating with a different geographic and cultural landscape.

S P O N S O R S  &  P A R T N E R S

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