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Encyclopedia > Royal Academy of Arts

This article refers to an art institution in London. For other meanings of Royal Academy see Royal Academy (disambiguation).

Royal Academy

The Royal Academy is an art institution based in London.



The Royal Academy was formed to rival the Society of Artists after an unseemly leadership dispute between two leading architects, Sir William Chambers and James Paine. Paine won, but Chambers vowed revenge and used his strong connections with the King to create a new artistic body, the Royal Academy, in 1768. It was formally launched the following year.

Its forty founder members, all admitted on 10 December 1768, included a father/daughter combination (George Michael Moser and Mary Moser) and two sets of brothers (George Dance the Younger and Nathaniel Dance-Holland, and Paul and Thomas Sandby).

Sir Joshua Reynolds was its first president, and Benjamin West its second.


Old Burlington House

The Royal Academy does not receive financial support from the state or crown. One of its principal sources of revenue is hosting temporary public art exhibitions. These are of the highest quality, comparable to those at the National Gallery, the Tate Gallery and leading art galleries outside the United Kingdom.

The Academy also hosts an annual Royal Academy summer exhibition of new art, which is a well known event on the London social calendar. However it is not as fashionable as was the case in earlier centuries, and is largely ignored by the trendy Brit Artists and their patrons. Anyone who wishes may submit pictures for inclusion and those which are selected are displayed alongside the works of the Academicians. Most of the works are available for purchase.

The Academy also runs a postgraduate art school and a research library.


Until 1771, the Academy was based in Pall Mall. Shortly afterwards, it was able to move into premsies at the new Somerset House, a government building which had been designed by Sir William Chambers, and was intended to provide accommodation for a number of learned societies. In 1837, the Academy moved to the recently constucted National Gallery in Trafalgar Square and then, in 1868, to its present home at Burlington House in Piccadilly. Major extensions were made to to the building to designs by Charles Barry (junior), architect son of Sir Charles Barry.


Full membership of the academy is limited to 80 Academicians or "RAs", who must be professional painters, printmakers, sculptors or architects. Within the total, there must always be at least 14 sculptors, 12 architects and eight printmakers; the balance is made up of painters. New Academicians are elected by the existing RAs.

Academicians ("RAs") by year of election

(incomplete list)


External links

  • Royal Academy official site (http://www.royalacademy.org.uk)
  • Foundation of the Royal Academy (http://www.speel.demon.co.uk/royacad.htm)
  • The Royal Academy of Arts (http://www.britainexpress.com/History/culture/royal-academy.htm)

  Results from FactBites:
Royal Academy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (680 words)
The Royal Academy is an art institution based in London.
The Royal Academy was formed to rival the Society of Artists after an unseemly leadership dispute between two leading architects, Sir William Chambers and James Paine.
In 2004 the highlights of the Academy's permanent collection went on display in the newly restored reception rooms of the original section of Burlington House, which are now known as the "John Madejski Fine Rooms".
Royal Academy of Arts. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05 (181 words)
London, the national academy of art of England, founded in 1768 by George III at the instigation of Sir William Chambers and Benjamin West.
Sir Joshua Reynolds was the Academy’s first president, holding the office until his death in 1792.
In 1867 the academy was given a lease of 999 years on Burlington House and the adjoining gardens, where its galleries and school have since been erected.
  More results at FactBites »



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