Artists compete for a place at a grand exhibition at the Mall Galleries. Featuring a mother of two who never dreamed of being an artist and a student inspired by his grandparents.
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Britain's top artists make big money.
Their works can go for millions.
9.5 million. 10 million.
10.5 million.. 11 million.
Up and down the country, thousands of ordinary people
are also trying to get a piece of the action.
They're putting their necks on the block for the chance
to sell at the hottest exhibition in town.
It would be amazing. Absolutely amazing.
-I feel like I've got more to offer.
-Are you confident?
These artists could stand to make some serious cash.
The rich will like this. So make them pay.
But first, they need the seal of approval
from three of the art world's toughest critics.
Phrases like "challenging perceptions of reality" make me want to throw up on the floor.
Their hopes are in the hands of the Hanging Committee.
Who is going to buy an artwork
made from second-hand cigarette-butt filters?
Is it enough to be, to be art? I don't know.
It's time to Show Me The Monet.
Hello and welcome to Show Me The Monet.
Over the past few months, artists eager to sell their work
have been braving the Hanging Committee.
Amateurs and professionals from across the UK have tried to convince our panel of experts
that their work deserves a place on the walls
at our prestigious exhibition.
But to get there,
they have to impress three of the most demanding critics in the business.
Charlotte Mullins has written ten books on contemporary art,
she's judged some of the UK's most prestigious competitions.
I'm looking for originality.
I want a work to make me sit up in my chair and take notice.
All great art should do that.
Roy Bolton is an art dealer.
Our resident money man,
he can spot an artwork's commercial potential at the drop of a hat.
The artist has to connect with me emotionally.
Everything else, really, it's just detail.
David Lee is the editor of a satirical art magazine
and is renowned for his no-nonsense approach.
If he thinks something's rubbish, he'll come right out and say it.
To some shallow people, technique is overrated, but not to me.
I want artists to impress me with how skilful they are.
Thousands of hopeful artists applied, but only the very best
will be selected to show their work at The Mall Galleries.
Sorry, I find this really hard.
Coming up on today's programme, David lets rip...
I thought that kind of thing had gone out with the ark.
..and the judges discover an extraordinary talent.
This is why I sit on this panel, to find artists like you.
If you can maintain this level of work,
you will be in every collection I can think of.
Eltham Palace, London.
One of the few surviving medieval royal palaces in England.
It was here that the judges set up their Hanging Committee
in the 15th-century Great Hall,
where kings and queens once dined.
Artists from all over the country arrive to face the judges.
Starting with 47-year-old carer Paul Cheshire from Coventry.
Five years ago, Paul gave up his job as a graphic designer
to care for his elderly mother.
Now, in between looking after his mum
and renovating a house for himself and his girlfriend,
he's itching to get his hands on a paintbrush again.
-Have you got withdrawal symptoms?
-I have a little bit.
I've kind of um, yeah, I just need something else to do,
other than plastering and smashing things up, would be great.
So is it a hobby? Or is an ambition you'd like to do professionally?
Er... Well, if I can make money out of it,
I'm a bit of a tart for that really.
-So you want us to show you the money really, don't you?
-I would. That would be very nice, please.
OK, so we've got three critics in there that you've got to convince
to get your piece in our exhibition,
which will be obviously a natural step to, to making some cash.
Are you ready for that sort of head-on critique?
-I don't know.
I'll just see how it goes.
Well, you've got, you need two yes votes to get to the exhibition
and if you sold at the exhibition, what would you spend your money on?
Well, we do need a new car,
cos...especially for transporting the paintings around.
Um... And for the house would be great.
And just to live would be nice.
-To live, to eat and drink would be nice.
-OK, thanks again.
-Wish you all the best.
-And the judges are just through that door there.
-Go and convince them.
-See you later.
-See you then. Bye.
Paul gave up work to become a carer.
Now, this is his chance to do something for himself.
But will the judges like his painting,
which he's called Pre-Raphaelite,
and is Paul ready for this kind of critical scrutiny?
I'm feeling very apprehensive at the moment.
I have no idea what they're going to say.
Criticism is probably a bit hurtful, but, you know, it has to be done.
Paul, welcome to the Hanging Committee.
Would you like to tell us something about your sea nymph?
Basically, I quite like old paintings,
so it's kind of in that traditional sort of Victorian style.
I think what I'm trying to do in my paintings
is produce work that I feel
is very pretty and beautiful.
I think very often artists,
even when they can draw,
end up producing work
that is quite ugly
and kind of a little bit grotesque.
So, in a way, I think my work is kind of the opposite to that.
What price do you put on it?
We'll come back to the pricing later.
-We should have a close look before we do that.
-I'm open to offers.
That's a high price for an unknown artist.
To justify a price like that,
Paul's work will have to be pretty exceptional.
And it'll have to fulfil the judges' criteria of originality,
technical skill and emotional impact.
£14,000... That's a...
-It's a bit big, isn't it?
-Have you sold paintings before?
What was the most you've sold for before?
Well, I'm selling prints of this now.
Um... They've been going for £700.
Where are you selling those?
-That's in, just in Leamington.
-What kind of prints?
Same-size reproductions over-painted on canvas.
So your paint, you are printing onto canvas
-and you're painting on the top? You, yourself, painting on the top?
-And you're selling that for 700.
And you want someone to come along and buy this,
which admittedly is the original, but for £14,000,
when they can have a copy printed
but also over painted by you to look the same for 700.
-Yes, but this is the, this is the original.
-But can you see my point?
Yes, and an original's an original, Charlotte.
You can't argue with that.
I suspect most people will think this is a very attractive picture,
because you've gone for beauty.
You've gone for a beautiful image and a lot of people respond
-to, to what you've done.
In the way that you do.
I think you should never underestimate the gullibility and stupidity of the public.
They spend nine seconds in front of paintings in the National Gallery,
so let's forget about what the public think.
Steady, David, you can't write off the entire British public.
I'm getting the impression Mr Grumpy
doesn't like Paul's painting very much.
But he's not the only person on this panel.
Paul needs two yes votes to go through to the exhibition.
So if Charlotte and Roy like this painting, he's in with a chance.
Do you work from sketches to build the composition?
I mainly work from photographs.
OK, because that, I get a real sense of it's built like a stage set.
-In a way. You get the grasses, the water, the bank,
-the model, the bank, the trees.
And the light is totally inconsistent across it all.
Paul, Waterhouse painted countless numbers of this sort of scenes.
-This sort of water nymphs resting in glades like this
and you can see them in the Tate, Tate Britain
and lots of other places.
Do you not think we have enough of them already?
I'm not trying to produce something that's just purely representational,
because I think it's, that's kind of, you know,
you can take a photograph if you're going to do kind of thing.
And it may be kind of dismissing my own work here,
but it is um...
meant to be a decorative piece of work.
Umm. So Roy thinks it's a rip-off
of the well-known Pre-Raphaelite painter John William Waterhouse.
Definitely not original then.
Charlotte thinks it looks like a stage set.
So not technically up to scratch.
And I'm bracing myself for what David's got to say.
You're not a bad painter of flowers and still life and so forth.
It's perfectly plausible. The figure is appalling.
The dress is as badly painted as ever I've seen any fabric.
It looks as though it's painted in onion sauce.
And as far as the head and shoulders are concerned,
you've changed something which was potentially ideal and perfect
into a person which is cheap and lascivious.
I'm...a bit disturbed that you think I'm such a crap artist.
Paul, I don't think you're a crap painter,
but I suspect that all three of us sitting here have,
have issues with the subject matter.
It was done to death 100 years ago and it's,
it's so obvious it's almost painful.
It kind of disturbs me slightly, your attitude. If you're sort of saying,
"Oh, this subject matter is verboten, can't be done
"and nothing can be decorative,"
then that's kind of quite depressing
and it's a depressing way of looking at the world, really.
It can be decorative. And if people want to buy it as decoration that's, that's all well and good.
But we are selecting for an art exhibition
and there is a difference between decoration and art.
-The problem is with the figure you see.
It was about the spirit of the figures in the Pre-Raphaelites.
It was what they were signifying.
Something beyond their appearance.
This is just about sort of tacky, fashion-plate stuff.
If you want something which is slightly more profound, say,
or spiritual, or mysterious,
you don't produce a cliche of the fashion world.
Yeah, I, I would...
The over-made-up girl with red lipstick looking at you
in a kind of come-and-get-it way.
I... You know, it's just horrible.
I thought that kind of thing had gone out with the ark.
Well, Paul has put up a robust defence
of his pretty Victorian-style painting,
but I'm not sure it'll be enough to get him a place at the exhibition.
I think we'd better go to a vote before David explodes.
David, would you like to cast your vote?
This is high art for the consumers of low culture.
And... I don't like low culture.
I'm sorry, Paul.
Thinking about it myself,
I don't really agree with what you're saying.
It does kind of disturb me and it kind of disturbs me
what you've actually said about the public as well.
I think it's kind of a bit sad, really.
OK, that's it anyway. Thanks very much.
Paul's been slammed for trying to create something beautiful.
Sometimes, there's no pleasing these judges.
-Are you OK?
-Er... Yeah, well, you know, a little bit disappointed, you know, and everything.
They kind of implied that I wasn't very good as an artist. It was kind of said.
And I don't really agree with that at all.
I was kind of expecting them to, um...throw the thing out.
That it was very er...trite and traditional and decorative.
And it was kind of obvious that they'd respond in that way
and they did. And I felt disappointed.
Is there anything that you're going to take away from today that you might say,
"You know what? Next time, that is what I'm going to think about."
-The stuff I'm doing now is selling very well.
So, to be honest, I don't really need to take this, their,
what they're saying.
And if I'm just producing...trash for the masses,
then it's kind of OK.
One artist after another
brought their work along to the Hanging Committee
in the hope of impressing the judges
and the standard of the art was incredibly high.
But not everybody made it through.
32-year-old personal assistant Roxanne Grant
appeared before the committee with a kaleidoscopic photo called Fish,
taken during a family holiday in Kenya.
And it seemed at times like she was in calm waters.
As a self-taught photographer,
you obviously have an eye for colour and shape.
But it was only a matter of time
before one particular shark began to circle.
So you've been to an aquarium or a marine park of some kind
and it looks like a painting. Is that it?
Even if it was just say a pool or something,
I don't think it detracts from what this picture actually means to me,
the whole experience of why we were out there.
It's a no from me. But keep taking photographs.
Photography graduate Frances Baker brought along a photograph
of her brother and sister posing in a hotel room.
The title of the piece - The Couple.
And it causes some discord.
The title tells us, "The Couple."
No, the title tells us to read it as a couple.
But the fact that they turn out to effectively be actors and your brother and sister
completely destroys the integrity of the work for me.
-Oh, I don't think it does.
I don't think it does, because in the end we are judging the work,
not your story of the work.
-Frances, I'm more on the borderline in many ways. But I'm afraid I have to say no.
I was going to say yes. It's a disappointment to me you won't be in the exhibition.
Thank you so much.
Former architect Eliza Southwood wanted £1,200
for her collage entitled Shipping Containers.
But David couldn't contain his frustration.
I can't see how what I'm looking at
relates to anything which Eliza has said.
It looks to me, for all the world, like something that could have been designed by a machine.
I can actually draw quite well and quite figuratively
and that sort of gave me the confidence to try
and do something that was purely abstract, completely different.
Charlotte was on Eliza's side.
I do read this as Shipping Containers.
I can see what you're trying to achieve in this.
But with only Charlotte's vote behind her,
Eliza didn't make it through.
Chef Aidy Brook's detailed pencil drawing was a puzzle,
which could be interpreted
in myriad ways.
I'm not sure I'd ever get to know what you thought, really.
But I'm intrigued.
Charlotte admired the ambition of the piece.
But she wasn't to be drawn.
I don't care enough to want to spend
the time you need to to unpick it.
And when it came to the voting,
Aidy's pencil maze led the judges in different directions.
I must say no, I'm afraid.
Aidy, I'm also going to say no.
And I would have said an absolute resounding yes.
-Thank you for your time.
-Thank you, bye-bye.
-Good bye, Aidy.
We received an amazing array of artwork from all over the country.
There were paintings, photographs, drawings and sculptures,
all sent in by artists hoping for a spot in the limelight.
Next to face the judges was 44-year-old Kerri Pratt,
a part-time college admissions officer and mother of two from Heanor in Derbyshire.
Kerri came to art late in life, when the college she worked for
gave her the opportunity to take a course for free.
She chose A-level art and discovered she had a bit of a talent.
She went on to complete a degree in Fine Art at Derby University
and now dreams of becoming a professional artist.
Well, I kind of came from a working-class family
and when it came to, you know, the time when you leave school,
art wasn't really kind of a real profession
for someone from, from my area.
So it wasn't even really a consideration.
So you put that aside and got a proper job, did you?
Yeah, I worked mainly in sort of an office environment
and then I went into retail and then obviously I started my family.
So where are you now then?
Are you full-time, are you thinking of going full-time?
I've just started working as a, as an artist, really.
Just moved into a studio.
-About three weeks ago.
-Um... So, yeah, I'm trying to do it for real.
-So this would be a massive stepping stone, wouldn't it?
Because there's not loads of high-profile stuff happening in the East Midlands necessarily.
So to get into an exhibition in London
would be just a fantastic opportunity.
But if you managed to get to the exhibition and you sold, what would you do with all that money?
Oh! Um... Well, if it was picking something from my wish list,
I think I'd book a trip to New York.
-Well, good luck.
-Thank you very much.
-The judges await.
-OK, thank you.
-Through that door.
When Kerri was offered a free course by her employers,
little did she know where this opportunity would lead.
Six years later, she's about to show her work
to three of the most respected art critics in the business.
Could you introduce us to your painting, please?
Yes. This painting is called Reconstruct.
It's taken from a series of six paintings
examining the urban landscape.
It's inspired by my personal encounters with new places.
Notably city environments.
When I was making this work, I sort of developed a drawing process
whereby I deconstructed the landscape
and sort of took it down
to its very simplest form.
The resulting work is intentionally ambiguous,
verging on the abstract.
And I feel creating a real sense of the place and my experience of it.
Thank you very much.
What price do you put on a painting of this size?
I've priced this painting at £1,500.
Is that based on former sales?
I have sold a couple of pieces from this series, yes.
So what did you sell the other two for?
I sold them at the end of my degree show
and it was the University that bought them off of me.
Oh, right. Well, that's an accolade.
-Do you mind if we have a look?
-No, please do.
Kerri comes from a small, former coal-mining town in Derbyshire,
where there aren't many opportunities for exhibiting art.
A place at a major London exhibition would give her incredible exposure
and a nod from three highly-esteemed critics could launch her
in her artistic career.
How do you go about working from the landscape?
Do you work from sketches you've done,
or from photographs you've taken?
Yeah, I take my camera with me everywhere I go.
I take lots of photographs.
As my children always say, very boring ones,
because they're all of architecture.
But then, I use the photographs and I start this drawing process
where I sort of start simplifying it into a series of, of lines.
Sometimes, just vertical lines, horizontal lines,
just really breaking the landscape down.
-The ambiguity you talk about... is certainly there.
There's only one feature I think I can identify in this
and the rest is an assemblage of vertical,
horizontal and diagonal lines and chunks.
I think I'd like a bit more.
You know, it goes too abstract for me to be able to connect.
Everything Roy finds difficult about that, I actually like about it.
The ambiguity is where I start to get interested,
because it's not a literal painting of a derelict site
or, you know, a view we've seen a thousand times.
This is doing what painting does best.
It's suggestive, not literal.
Kerri has clearly impressed Charlotte.
But she's left Roy wanting more.
She only needs the approval of two judges though
to get a place of the exhibition.
So if David likes her painting, she could still go through.
I'm impressed by the way you get space and flatness at the same time.
The way I'm pulled backwards and forwards the whole time.
It's almost the hallmark of the sophisticated painter that.
Praise indeed. But is Kerri's painting sophisticated enough
to get her a place at the exhibition?
-Whoever bought two of your paintings from this series for the university,
I think they had a very good eye. And I think you're one to watch for the future.
Yes from me. That's three bells.
You've won the jackpot.
Ooh! Thank you!
It's a hat-trick for this mum of two from Derbyshire.
Who said art's not a proper job?
Kerri's painting will be going on show at The Mall Galleries.
The question now is, will anyone what to buy it?
The Mall Galleries, London.
And Kerri's dream of exhibiting her art in a major London exhibition has come true.
To see the work on show in a gallery like this is like,
it's almost like the highlight of my career so far.
I hope that this is a sign of things to come.
The exhibition was open to the public, art dealers and collectors,
and Kerri's painting was a hot favourite.
What I like about this one is that you're not absolutely sure what you're looking at.
You know, it could be all kinds of things.
There's a great deal of depth and very nice tonal work in it.
So this is probably the one that I like most in the show.
My favourite picture is this one by Kerri.
Quite abstract, but with realism in it.
So you can actually see, you know,
lots of different pictures within the picture.
I think she's interesting,
because she's only come to the art world in the last six years,
having brought up a family and I think her work shows great spirit.
If anyone was interested in buying Kerri's work,
they had to make a secret offer to an independent agent,
who would take a 10% commission of the final sale.
Any bids were handed to me in a sealed envelope,
to be revealed to the artist on the final day of the exhibition.
It was the moment of truth for Kerri.
-Now, I saw the grinning man behind you there, who was very proud.
-And remind us who he is.
-This is my husband, Lee.
-Lee, nice to see you.
-I bet you were proud.
Well, I hope we have good news for you. How much money were you looking for?
I priced it at £1,500.
-And what were you going to spend the money on?
-Really on my wish list would be a trip to New York.
Because all my work is inspired by travel.
-You should have seen your husband's face.
Yeah. All right. Let's find out then.
And inside this envelope, we'll find out whether you've got any cash.
OK. So you wanted £1,500.
We didn't get any offers.
Not to worry.
A lot of people did love it.
-Yeah, we knew that, yeah.
-And the interest you got was amazing.
I got a lot of positive er, a lot of positive comments about it.
I'm not disheartened at all, you know. Somebody will like it.
Well, lovely to meet you and I'm sorry you didn't get any offers.
Oh, you too. No problem.
-We'll give her a big hand of applause.
-Thank you, thanks.
'No sale for Kerri,
'but I think it's safe to say her life has been transformed.
'She's impressed the judges, gallery owners, dealers and collectors
'and silenced the doubters who said art's not a proper job.
'And it all started just six years ago,
'when her employer offered her a free course.
'I bet she's thanking her lucky stars
'that she took them up on their offer.'
The Mall Galleries are a showcase for work
by both established and emerging artists.
It was the chance of a lifetime for our artists
to have their work displayed here,
but only the very best would make it through.
The next person to face the panel at Eltham Palace
was former recruitment consultant Belle Burns
from Kirkcaldy, in Scotland.
Belle went to art school
but gave up on being an artist when she got married and had kids.
Now, at the age of 54, she's just been made redundant.
So she's decided to have a second bite at the artistic cherry
and see if she can make a living from her art.
So what does Belle want to do? What are your ambitions?
Certainly, as far as this is concerned, to exhibit.
I think for me it's, it's just trying to be confident now.
So have you ever had anything exhibited?
When I left college, you have a final-year show.
So I've had that.
And when was that?
Um... Oh, a long time ago.
-Recently, 1979. OK.
It's about time you went to another exhibition, I think.
I would think so.
What would you do with the money if you did sell at the exhibition?
Oh, that's easy.
My, my oldest daughter is doing a post-graduate
and she didn't get any fees paid for her.
So any money that I would make would help pay for her fees.
-Plough them back into the kids.
-Belle, it's been brilliant meeting you.
Those horrible judges, I mean, those lovely judges are just through that door.
-That's lovely. Thank you.
This is a big moment for Belle.
It's her chance to kick-start the art career
she gave up on 33 years ago.
She just needs the confidence to do it.
Belle, would you introduce your piece please?
This is an embroidery piece
and it's called Man In Topiary.
And it was inspired
by a character that I met
when I was out sketching in Kelvingrove Galleries in Glasgow.
Quite an austere, sinister-looking character
that was constantly just standing, peering into the exhibits.
And it just captured my imagination.
And what do you charge for a work of this nature?
For a work of this nature I would charge £900.
-We'll come and have a look at it.
That's a significant price tag.
But if Belle did sell, that money would really help
with her daughter's university fees.
Is this made by hand?
Oh, yeah, yeah.
Right. You're a right-hander, aren't you?
-Do you know how I know?
-Because of the direction.
Exactly, yeah. You do it, it's exactly the same with drawing.
-You can tell somebody draws right-handed.
You're using your elbow as a fulcrum to, to shade as it were.
Belle, I imagine this has taken a huge amount of time to create.
How many hours would you, would you reckon?
It's about a 120 hours in total
and I try to keep a record as I'm working.
-That's patience for you.
This embroidery picture
has clearly been a labour of love for Belle.
But will the judges see a place for it in their exhibition?
There seems to be a sort of on the decorative end of, of things.
It's quaint and almost as though
it's sort of souvenir in search of an identity.
Well, I don't know where David holidays.
But I've never seen a souvenir like this.
I mean, I am, like David,
on the cusp of thinking it's decorative
or I wouldn't be surprised not to find it
on a greetings card or something.
But it's really lovely and refreshing
to see embroidery used artistically.
How she described how the piece came about, was really different to my reading of it.
I saw the man outside in his pyjamas had been kicked out
and I, I read these, these plants in the foreground
as kind of stand-ins for family members.
I thought it was the sort of husband of the house outside in the garden
in pyjamas and dressing gown and his slippers, blowing a kiss through the window.
Ah, Roy's such a softie.
But, actually, if you say this is a sinister character that you, you'd stumbled across,
presumably this isn't old-fashioned pyjamas and dressing gown,
it's a shirt and a tweed jacket.
I was just thinking of the shapes and the colours
when I put it together.
-Still retaining the, the sinister look to it.
So it isn't pyjamas and a dressing gown?
What was in my mind was... somebody that had escaped.
So he's escaped from a nuthouse in his pyjamas
and he's peering through the window.
Belle's work has got the judges' imaginations in overdrive.
But is that enough to get her through? It's time for the vote.
Belle, I'd love to say yes, because I think what you're doing is great.
But, on this image, there's not enough art in there for me.
Gosh, I find this much harder than I thought I would, Belle.
I think it's just a no.
I would have said no as well. Thank you very much.
That's lovely. Thank you.
It's the end of the line for Belle. Her piece has made an impression on the judges
but they've decided it errs more on the side of decoration
rather than art.
Oh, Belle, Belle, Belle. Bad luck.
-Not to worry. Not to worry.
-It's just not what they're looking for for the exhibition.
I'm quite sure that they have a thought process
belonging to that exhibition
and if that's no' the piece for that exhibition, fine.
Yeah, it's always finding this embroidery,
this decorative art and finding it a place in a fine art gallery.
Is it a bit of snobbery, do you think?
Yeah, you can speak your mind, they can't hear.
-There's a lot of snobbery in art anyway, but that's fine as well.
-It's been lovely to meet you.
-Safe journey back.
-Away you go.
-Smashing, thank you.
Artists of all ages and backgrounds, both amateur and professional,
presented their work to the Hanging Committee.
But only the very best made the grade.
Next up was 22-year-old Charles Moxon from London.
Charles is currently an art student,
but his dream is to follow in his grandparents' footsteps
and make art his profession.
-Nice to see you.
-Thank you very much. Nice to meet you.
So art is in the family. Tell me about that.
My grandmother studied at art school and she was a fashion designer.
And my granddad also studied at art school and he,
he kind of made jewellery for, when he was younger, so.
-So it missed a generation.
-It did miss and then it came to me.
-Were there any doubts about being an artist? Like, "No, I'll do something sensible?"
OK, so what are your ambitions then?
Well, I want to be an artist.
You know, I want to be successful at what I do.
What would you do with the money if you did sell?
Well, I think I'd buy a suit.
-A suit, yes.
Maybe a Savile Row suit as well.
I like it. I like your style, sir.
Thanks very much.
The judges are through there. It might get a bit tough.
-That's all right, I'll...
-But you'll be all right.
Charles may have his eye on a new suit,
but this could mean so much more.
A place at the exhibition would be a huge leap for such a young artist.
His hopes rest on this oil painting
he's called National Anthem.
-Nice to meet you.
Could you introduce your painting for us?
It's a portrait of my grandmother.
Um... And what originally inspired me to,
to paint her was her life story, really.
After serving in the Second World War, she...
about the age of 40, she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
And, unfortunately, she had to have an operation
and this left her paralysed down one side of her face.
And doctors really didn't give her a huge amount of time to live after the operation,
but she managed to live for another 47 years.
And er, and sadly, she's just passed away about two weeks ago.
So it means quite a lot, you know, given, given the timing.
OK. Um... How much would you charge for a work like this?
Um, well, I think, I think I would put a price of £2,500 on it.
OK. We'll have a close look at it.
It's a deeply personal piece
and any criticism could be uncomfortable for Charles.
When I saw this work for the first time,
and then you walked through the door,
I expected you to be twice as old as you are.
In terms of tackling a subject,
um...a woman who's old
and dealing with disability,
that's quite a good piece of work.
Wow. That's a great start.
Charlotte has been blown away by the maturity of Charles' portrait.
But what about the price tag Charles has placed on this work?
Is it too much for an unknown artist?
Roy, what's your expert view as an art dealer on that?
Well, as an image, it's infinitely uncommercial.
Uncomfortable imagery in art is, is important,
but, if we're talking about its value in a commercial sense,
it's always tricky.
Ah, I knew it was going too well.
Our art dealer Roy has spotted a potential problem.
The portrait has huge emotional value for Charles,
but is it just too personal to sell?
I think you could work on the background.
This is a very minor point.
I think this is a phenomenal painting.
The most important criteria to me is emotional impact
and this has it oozing out of every pore.
I feel for her. I want to know about her.
But it makes me reflect on my own mortality
and I can't give higher praise than that.
Charles, all I would say is...
don't be a child prodigy.
The, the young actor that's never seen again
after they do their first blockbuster.
If you can maintain this level of work,
you will be in every collection I can think of.
It comes to me as always to bring you down to Earth a bit.
-And Masaccio completely rewrote the rules of painting
and was dead at the age of 27.
-But you are pretty good.
-That's rather morbid.
Well, that is some of the highest praise
we've heard on Show Me The Monet.
Charles is on the brink of earning a place at his very first exhibition.
Fingers crossed he might be needing that suit.
Charles, I suspect your parents will never forgive you if you sell this at an exhibition,
but I think you should give it a try. It's a yes.
Charles, this is why I sit on this panel, to find artists like you. It's a yes.
See you in The Mall.
-Thank you so much.
Three yes votes
and Charles will be taking his very personal portrait to the exhibition.
The big question now is, can he sell it?
The Mall Galleries, London.
Charles' portrait took its place
amongst the other successful artworks
and everybody wanted to know more about the lady in the picture.
That's what she went through and meant for me. It's sort of that
stiff-upper-lip generation of the wartime era
and that sense of coming through everything,
you know, regardless of the odds.
Well, I spoke to Charles about his piece and what I really liked
was the fact that he had captured his grandmother, who has since died,
and it resonated with me because she reminded me of my grandmother as well
and it was really, I think it was a really lovely, lovely picture
and it captured her wisdom and her kindness and her experience.
The lady in the old ages,
they look like that.
Because really you can see her soul inside.
But would anybody want to buy Charles' very personal portrait?
On the judges' recommendations, he upped his asking price
from 2,500 to £3,000.
Any offers will be subject to a 10% commission,
to be paid to an independent agent.
As the exhibition drew to a close, it was time for me
to reveal to Charles the results of the secret bids.
-How do you think you got on last night?
-I don't know. I'm not sure.
Any bidders, do you think?
Well, I'm not sure, I don't know.
A lot of people were interested, but I don't know if that turned into a sale.
The answer's in here. OK.
-Fingers crossed, Mum.
Fingers crossed everybody over there.
How much did you want again?
I'm really nervous.
Well, you got two offers.
-Oh, I did? Wow, yeah.
And the first offer...
..was for £2,500.
That's all right, yeah. That's quite good, yeah.
Just remind me what you were going to spend the money on.
Well, I was going to get a suit.
I'm without a jacket, so.
OK. OK. And then you had another offer.
And this offer...
..was for £3,950.
ALL: Oh! Wow!
-Oh, my God.
-You're a rich man.
Yeah, that's not too bad for a penniless student, was it?
Do you want me to give you directions to Savile Row? It's not far from here.
I'm so pleased for you.
-Oh, thank you so much, Chris.
-Well done. Well done.
'What an amazing result for Charles.
'He sold his painting for more than he ever dreamt it could be worth.
'He's already received requests for commissions for his work
'and he's still only 22 years old.
'I suspect if his grandma was here today,
'she would be extremely proud.'
That's it for today, but join us next time on Show Me The Monet,
when the judges will be meeting more hopeful artists in search of success.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
44-year-old Kerri from Derbyshire was a part-time college admissions' officer and is a busy mother of two. Coming from a working class background, Kerri says that when she left school, becoming an artist wasn't an option for her. Now she's determined to make up for lost time and getting into such a high profile exhibition could provide a massive stepping stone.
22-year-old Charles from London is an art student. His interest in the arts was inspired by his grandparents - a fashion designer and a jewellery designer - and his dream is to follow in their footsteps with a career in the creative industries. Will his oil on canvas piece entitled 'National Anthem' make the grade?