SOCIETY OF ARTISTS OF GREAT BRITAIN

1760 - 1791

The Society of Artists of Great Britain began as a loose association of artists, including Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) and Francis Hayman (1708-1776), who wanted better control by artists over exhibitions of their work previously organised by William Shipley's Society of Arts, later Royal Society of Arts, which was founded in 1754. This new society held their first exhibition in April 1760 and the following year held a second exhibition at Christopher Cock's Auction Rooms in Spring Gardens, Charing Cross calling themselves the Society of Artists of Great Britain to differentiate them from Shipley's Society. In 1765, the Society obtained a Royal Charter as the Incorporated Society of Artists of Great Britain. After the formation of the Royal Academy in 1769 the Free Society of Artists went into decline and was dissolved 1791.