How Royal Academicians are Elected
Potential new Academicians are nominated by the existing Royal Academicians. Nominees must be artists under the age of 75 and professionally active in the United Kingdom. They have to fall into one of the Royal Academy’s categories of art (painting, printmaking, sculpture and architecture).
When proposed by an RA, the nominee’s name is written in the Nominations Book. This nomination must then be supported by a further eight RAs. Once there is sufficient support for the nominee, they become a Candidate. All the RAs meet at a General Assembly, usually in May and December each year, to fill any vacancies by electing new Members, by ballot, from the list of candidates. Voting must be done in person. Vacancies for Academicianship are created either when an RA reaches the age of 75 and becomes a Senior Academician or on the death of an RA. The Academy Laws dictate that there can be up to eighty Royal Academicians.
The newly elected Royal Academician donates a work, known as a Diploma Work, to the Royal Academy’s Collection. If a nominee has not attracted sufficient support to become a Candidate after three years, their name is withdrawn from Nomination, but in January of every year, the List of Candidates due to lapse before the next Election of Candidates is circulated to the RAs, who can then choose to re-nominate any of these candidates once. If a candidate has reached the age of 75 without election, their name is finally removed from the Nominations Book.