RA250: Celebrating 250 years of The Royal Academy

Published 16 January 2018

Art Fund is supporting the 250th anniversary of The Royal Academy with a £250,000 grant towards a nationwide programme of talks, exhibitions and events.

With Art Fund support, this year will see museums, galleries and art institutions across the UK take part in RA250, a major nationwide programme of talks, exhibitions and events to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Royal Academy of Arts.

The Royal Academy is run by a distinguished group of 80 artists and architects, the Royal Academicians. Since its foundation in 1768, its membership has included over 650 of the UK’s most eminent painters, sculptors, printmakers and architects. Although the RA is based in London, the Royal Academicians have come from far and wide; their homes, studios, works of art, and exhibition spaces found across the British Isles and beyond.

Royal Academicians in conversation

As part of the celebrations, the RA and Art Fund have collaborated to create a series of 12 in-conversation events with Royal Academicians in 12 different locations across 12 months. These will include Gilbert & George RA at The New Art Gallery, Walsall; Alison Wilding RA at Leeds Art Gallery; Eva Rothschild RA at the Pier Art Centre, Orkney; and Christopher Le Brun PRA at The Munnings Art Museum, Essex.

Exhibitions and events

In addition, the £250,000 grant will also support museums and galleries across the UK, from Glasgow to Exeter, to hold events and exhibitions marking the anniversary, including:

Entranced by a Special Place: the Art of SJ Lamorna Birch RA, Penlee House Gallery and Museum, 16 June to 8 September 2018 (free with National Art Pass)

Harmonising Landscapes: Paul Sandby RA, Newstead Abbey Historic House and Gardens, 16 June 2018 to 6 January 2019 (free with National Art Pass)

Augustus John: Drawn from Life, Poole Museum, 26 May to 30 September 2018 (free to all)

Michael Sandle: Monumental Rage, Grosvenor Museum, 19 May to 10 April 2018 (free to all)

Edward Bawden at Home, Fry Art Gallery, 1 April to 28 October 2018 (free to all)

Maritime Perspectives: Collecting Art of a Seafaring Nation, Scottish Maritime Museum, 1 June to 21 October 2018 (free with National Art Pass)

Women of the Royal Academy: RA250, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, 11 May to 28 July 2018 (50% off with National Art Pass)

Annie Swynnerton: Painting Light and Hope, Manchester Art Gallery, 23 February 2018 to 6 January 2019 (free to all)

Making and Breaking the Rules: Royal Academy 250 at the Russell-Cotes, Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, 5 May to 14 October 2018 (free with National Art Pass)

RA250 at the Fitz, Fitzwilliam Museum, 13 February to 31 December 2018 (free to all)

Royal Academy Takeover, Salford Museum and Art Gallery, 30 June 2018 to 24 February 2019 (free to all)

Personal Feeling is the Main Thing: Chantal Joffe, The Lowry, 19 May to 2 September 2018 (free to all)

Warrington Art Treasures: The National Picture, Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, 5 May 2018 to 2 March 2019 (free to all)

Which Way North, The Great North Museum: Hancock, 22 June to 9 September 2018 (free to all)

These exhibitions also include an unprecedented collaboration between Tacita Dean and three major London galleries – the National Portrait Gallery, Royal Academy of Arts, and National Gallery – to stage three fascinating shows shaped by her response to the individual character of each institution.

Full details are available at the links below:

Please note: National Art Pass holders receive 50% off the price of entry to the exhibitions at the NPG and RA.

New acquisition

The RA and National Portrait Gallery have also jointly acquired a new work by Tacita Dean with Art Fund support. Called simply 'Portraits', the work is a 16mm film portrayal of David Hockney, which observes him in his LA studio as he reflects on the art of painting.

The work will be shown at Tacita Dean's Portrait exhibition, after which it will be displayed in rotation with other collection works at the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Academy, and will be available for loan to exhibitions elsewhere, including the Cartwright Hall Art Gallery in Hockney’s home town of Bradford, where it is hoped it will be shown later this year. When displayed at the Royal Academy, it will be on view as part of the new, free displays of art and architecture from the RA’s Collections.

Stephen Deuchar, Director, Art Fund, said: 'Art Fund is delighted to be celebrating the RA's 250th anniversary with a major grant of £250,000. This will cover three areas: first, helping a range of museums and galleries around the country to stage events and exhibitions marking the RA's anniversary; second, enabling a national series of talks by Royal Academicians; third, support for the exhibition Tacita Dean: LANDSCAPE from 19 May to 12 August 2018. This is the first major collaboration between our two institutions.'

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