Skip to main content

Your creative future starts here:


First year BA Fine Art student Bella Hull wins £10,000 painting prize

(l-r) Ben Sullivan, Bella Hull and Ken Howard at Chelsea College of Arts in June 2014.
Written by
Sarah McLean
Published date
15 July 2014

It’s not just our final year students who are celebrating their achievements this month.  Bella Hull, a BA Fine Art student who has just finished her first year at Chelsea College of Arts, has been awarded with an exciting £10,000 scholarship award from The Worshipful Company of Painters-Stainers in honour of her painting work.

In June this year, six students from the course were chosen to present their work to a panel of representatives from the Company: Chris Twyman, Clerk of The Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers was joined for this process by artists Ken Howard RA and Ben Sullivan.  They spoke to each of the students about their inspirations, use of materials and ideas about the ways in which their work was going to develop in the future, and then selected one to receive the generous award that will be given to the winner over the next two years of their study.

Bella was delighted to win the award, and said of the impact that the prize will have on her degree: “I did a lot of experimentation on my foundation and painting is the medium I feel most comfortable working with.  At the moment I’m working with resin over the top of oil paint, so I’m using different materials and adding elements to the paintings. This scholarship money will be really helpful in allowing me to buy materials.  I also think the money will have a big impact for me with exhibitions.  This year, putting on my own shows has been a big part of my budget so it will be really useful to have financial help with this.  And it will help me to apply to more prizes like the BP portrait award and the bigger competitions to get my name out there.”

Blueprint II by Bella Hull.

Blueprint II by Bella Hull.

The Worshipful Company of Painters-Stainers is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London, an organization which began as a trade association of painters that has been known to have existed as early as 1268.  These days, the Company is more of a charitable company which supports art schools and universities in the UK and provides its members with a network of colleagues who are all recognized as being foremost in their field.

Of their selection, Chris Twyman said: “We look forward to seeing Bella develop during the remainder of her degree course. During this period Bella will have an opportunity to exhibit her work at Painters’ Hall and attend our events. On the successful completion of her course she will be invited to become an Honorary Freeman of the Worshipful Company for 3 years.”

Cor Cordis by Bella Hull.

Cor Cordis by Bella Hull.

The whole panel was taken with Bella’s talent, describing her as “a most impressive candidate”.  Speaking about how she creates her complex and intricate images, Bella explained: “A lot of my bigger paintings are made from collages.  I put together pictures of organs taken from biology text books and photographs I have taken at the Hunterian museum and then paint the works from these.  The main images are done in oil and the flat background is achieved by using just house paint, emulsion.”

Her interest in this unusual subject matter developed from painting portraits, she said.  “I became interested in painting skin and flesh, and enjoyed the experience of painting different textures and colours, merging them together.  Also, I have always been interested in the boundaries of beauty – in a way I’m pushing those boundaries, to see if I can look at a subject that others would think is grotesque.  I’m putting painting to the test, creating something beautiful from that in the medium of paint.

I have always believed that painting is much more beautiful and sublime than a photograph could ever be.”

Grandad by Bella Hull

Grandad by Bella Hull

We look forward to following Bella’s progress as she continues with her course.

You can see more of Bella’s artwork on her website.

Find out more about studying BA Fine Art at Chelsea on our course pages.