The winners of the U.K.'s largest art prizes were announced last night -- not the Turner Prize, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards. At 45,000 pounds ($92,000) a head this year, for five artists and three musicians, these are worth more than the Turner, where the top prize is 40,000 pounds.
The awards have remained low profile. None of this year's art winners -- Claire Barclay, Phyllida Barlow, Michael Fullerton, Ryan Gander and Mark Leckey -- are household names, even in the art world. Of the musicians, Iain Ballamy, Luke Bedford and Jonathan Lloyd, the best known is Ballamy, a jazz saxophonist.
If the names don't ring a bell at the moment, they may do so in the future, as the Hamlyn Awards have a track record for talent spotting. Past winners have included Jeremy Deller and Tomma Abts, both of whom went on to win the Turner Prize.
This year's panel of judges includes, as well as curators and a critic, the artist Phil Collins whose office installation garnered a great deal of publicity at last year's Turner (though not the prize itself, which went to Abts).
Hamlyn (1926-2001) was born Paul Hamburger in Berlin and left Germany as a refugee from the Nazis. He began selling books off a market stand and went on to make a fortune in publishing and music recording. He set up the ``Music for Pleasure'' label with EMI Group Ltd. and the Octopus Publishing Group.
He was a generous supporter of the arts and the Labour Party, to which he said he had given 2 million pounds in 2001. He left 200 million pounds to the foundation, which he set up in 1987.