Art's richest prize makes a counterpoint to pickled sheep

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The richest prize in art was shared last night between two of the country's best-known painters, Maggi Hambling and Patrick Caulfield.

The pounds 30,000 Jerwood painting prize was established by the Jerwood Foundation last year to mark the quality of contemporary painting in Britain.

One of its objectives was to be a counterpoint to the Turner prize, which in recent years has rewarded installation and conceptual pieces at the expense of painting.

The Jerwood organisers said earlier this year: "The Jerwood shortlisted artists cannot, thankfully, be emblazoned as `Young British', but what they produce is just as much of the here and now as pickled sheep and concrete houses."

The artists were judged on their output of the past five years. Hambling, 49, andCaulfield, 59, received pounds 15,000 each at the ceremony at the Royal Academy last night. They beat a shortlist that included Stephen Buckley, Callum Innes and Karl Weschke.

The voting went to nine rounds before the judges could agree. A figurative painter, Hambling's new portrait of her father, who is aged 93, was painted this year.

She said: "It's an image of father as he watches television, or half- watches, while drifting between musing and sleeping. The figures inside his head are moments of his interior life."

Caulfield's subject matter has tended to be still life, painted in flat, bright colours.