1768 - ?

In 1768, architect Sir William Chambers visited the king, George III taking with him a petition signed by thirty-six artists and architects who were seeking permission to 'establish a society for promoting the Arts of Design' also proposing an annual exhibition and a School of Design so the Royal Academy of Arts, the Royal Academy Schools were born. The new Royal Academicians set up shop in Pall Mall, renting a gallery that was just thirty feet long. In 1775, Sir William Chambers won the commission to design the new Somerset House which would become their first official residence. The exhibition room was thirty-two feet high but in the 1830s, they moved to Trafalgar Square sharing premises with the newly founded National Gallery but were on the move again in 1867 to Burlington House, where they remain when their President, Francis Grant, secured their new home for an annual rent of £1 for 999 years. Although two of the founding members Mary Moser and Angelica Kauffman were women in 1768, it took another 168 years before another woman was elected as a full Academician, Laura Knight in 1936. One of the founding principles was to hold an annual exhibition that anyone could enter, and anyone could visit. Today, itís called the Summer Exhibition and it has taken place every year since 1769, including during both World Wars. In 2001, they purchased 6 Burlington Gardens and from 2003 until 2015, they hosted contemporary shows in these new galleries, showcasing the work of Academicians from Richard Rogers to Allen Jones at the same time working towards a plan that would reunite Burlington House and Burlington Gardens, opening new spaces to exhibit art and architecture and host lectures, workshops. and debates. The new Royal Academy opened on 19 May 2018. The Academy owns a large and comprehensive library and administers trust funds both for the benefit of artists and for the promotion of the visual arts. It is an independent, self-supporting institution, receiving no direct Government subsidy, and is supported by sponsorship, both through the subscriptions of its Friends, who number over 40,000, and those of its Corporate Members. It has an active fund-raising programme and obtains additional income from its fine art framing service and the retail sales of art books, artists' materials, and specially commissioned works. Members, painters, engravers, sculptors, and architects, who are designated Senior Academicians, Academicians and Associates, serve in rotation on the Council which directs the activities of the Academy, and a President is elected annually.