Royal Academy of Arts

Royal Academy of Arts information

London , England
Burlington House, Piccadilly
Getting there
Tube: Green Park
More information
adult/child £10/6, prices vary for exhibitions
Opening hours
10am-6pm Sat-Thu, to 10pm Fri
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Britain’s oldest society devoted to fine arts was founded in 1768, moving to Burlington House exactly a century later. The collection contains drawings, paintings, architectural designs, photographs and sculptures by past and present Academicians such as Joshua Reynolds, John Constable, Thomas Gainsborough, JMW Turner, David Hockney and Norman Foster.

Highlights are displayed in the John Madejski Fine Rooms on the 1st floor, which are accessible by free guided tours . Displays change regularly.

The rooms themselves are a treat; it was in the Reynolds Room on the 1st floor for instance that Charles Darwin first presented his groundbreaking ideas on evolutionary biology to the Linnean Society.

The famous Summer Exhibition , which has showcased contemporary art for sale by unknown as well as established artists for nearly 250 years, is the Academy’s biggest annual event.

Burlington House’s courtyard features a stone-paved piazza with choreographed lights and fountains arranged to display the astrological star chart of Joshua Reynolds, the RA first president, on the day he was born. His statue stands in the centre. The courtyard is also the venue for temporarily installed statues and outdoor works by contemporary artists.

The academy has grown its exhibition space by expanding magnificently into 6 Burlington Gardens and is undergoing an ambitious redevelopment through to 2018.