The Royal Academy of Arts occupies Burlington House – one of the few remaining Piccadilly mansions. It was built for the Earl of Burlington in 1768, and sold to the British Government in 1854. It was then leased to the Royal Academy and became the country’s very first art school.
The Royal Academy
The Royal Academy is made up of eighty academics, elected to one of the following three disciplines: painting, sculpture or architecture. Each member is also obliged to donate a piece of their own work to the collection, so the walls are swelled with works by Turner, Gainsborough, Chambers and West.
The Summer Exhibition has been held at the Royal Academy of Arts every year since 1769. This annual event is staged in June, July and August, and is open to all aspiring artists. Everyone is free to submit a picture, and the best get hung upon the gallery walls.
TomK – “The summer exhibition is always worth a visit, I try and go every year. Unlike a normal gallery there's always a great mix of stuff. You've got your portraits and landscapes, bowls of fruit, modern stuff and abstract stuff.. And they usually lump them all together in the same room as well. So if you dont like one painting you can have a look at the one 6 inches away which will probably be totally different. Naturally, with some it being done by amateurs a lot of it is a bit ropey, and its hard to see how some of them got past the judges. But for every lousy one there is usually two good ones. Half of the famous artists these days cant paint for toffee, and its nice to see that normal everyday people still do the traditional stuff well.”