ROYAL INSTITUTE OF PAINTERS IN WATER COLOURS

1807 - ?

The Mall Galleries, London

The beginnings of the RI can be traced back to 1807 with the formation of the New Society of Painters in Water Colours. The New Society was inaugurated as an alternative to an existing society (now the RWS) which had been founded in 1804 and which exhibited only the work of its own members. From the start the New Society showed the work of non-members’ alongside that of members, a policy still followed today. Both societies were started at a time when watercolour was used for serious artistic expression. In the early years many highly regarded painters including Cotman, Turner, Cox, de Wint, Bonington and many others exploited the natural and luminous qualities of the medium to great acclaim. The New Society changed its name in 1808 to the Associated Artists in Water Colours. Financial problems caused them to fold in 1812. In 1831 it was resurrected as the New Society of Painters in Water Colours. In 1863 the New Society became the Institute of Painters in Water Colours. In 1883 the Institute moved into their new gallery in Piccadilly opposite Burlington House. In the same year the Institute and the Dudley joined forces and in 1885, by command of Queen Victoria, the Institute was able to add the prefix ‘Royal’ to its title. The amalgamation of the Dudley and the Institute and the move to the new premises in Piccadilly coincided with a major change in the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours exhibition policy when, after many years of exhibitions limited to the work of members only, the RI reopened their doors to all comers. The RI remained in Piccadilly until the lease expired in 1970, then joined with several other leading art societies in the Federation of British Artists based at the Mall Galleries with its three galleries situated in the basement of 17 Carlton House Terrace, the gallery and offices are leased from the Crown Estate by the Federation of British Artists.
Website: http://royalinstituteofpaintersinwatercolours.org