The first National Exhibition of the Marquetry Society was held in the foyer of the Odeon Cinema, Guildford, in the summer of 1953. It attracted an entry of one hundred and seventy pieces of marquetry, and the first overall winner was Cliff Penny with his picture “Spiral Staircase”. Such was the success of this exhibition that, following its run at Guildford, it went on a tour of Odeon and Gaumont cinemas up and down the country.
The idea of a perpetual challenge trophy to be competed for each year does not seem to have been seriously considered until after the second National Exhibition, held the following year, also at the Odeon Cinema, Guildford. At this exhibition the overall winner was J. Brand, who was awarded an engraved pewter tankard as a permanent memento of his win. The Rose Bowl itself actually materialised, largely due to the efforts of Mr Norman Coppin and associates of the London group, in time for the third national. (Retrospective inscriptions were added to the base of the trophy to mark the previous two winners). In 1972 a second tier was added to the base to create space for additional discs to take the names of winners, this adding even more stature to the trophy. Awarded to the best entry in the competition.