1859 - ?

The Manchester Academy of Fine Arts was established in 1859 and has since continuously organised exhibitions of high-quality contemporary art in Manchester and throughout the Northwest. James Astbury Hammersley, who was head of the Manchester School of Art, took part in the formation of the Manchester Academy and was elected its first President on the 28 May 1858. Originally membership was limited to professional painters, sculptors, architects, and engravers who were born or had resided for a period of not less than twelve months within a radius of twenty miles from the Town Hall of Manchester. It was affiliated to the Royal Manchester Institution whose building on Mosley Street is now Manchester City Art Gallery. Throughout the 1860s and 1870s the annual membersí exhibitions grew in popularity. In the early 1880s several members worked in north Wales where they were instrumental in establishing the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art. Distinguished names associated with the society included historical painter Ford Madox Brown; L.S. Lowry, Norman Adams and Anne Redpath. The society consists of professional artists whose objective is to promote the work of its members and other artists. Membership is more than a hundred painters, printmakers and sculptors from across the north of England.