Library information service
Using the library and archive
Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA (1723-1792), Theory Oil on canvas 1780 X 1790 mm The research library is a specialist resource, and is open by appointment only to researchers wishing to consult material not easily available elsewhere. The areas covered by the library are described on the Research Library and Archive
page. The library is open from Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm.
Access to the library is free, by appointment, to RA Friends, Patrons, anyone with a valid RA exhibition ticket and registered students and teaching staff. In addition, bona fide researchers requiring accessing to the RA's Designated special collections of prints and drawings, archives and rare books will not normally be charged. Otherwise, there is a £3 daily charge, payable by purchase of a General Admission ticket from the Box Office or online from the RA website.
Please do not purchase a General Admission ticket until you have first contacted the Library to check that the material you require is available and you have made a firm appointment to visit the library.
Information and research enquiries
The Library Information Service can also answer enquiries over the telephone or by post and email. We can only provide information in the specialist areas listed below. However, we have provided web links to other organisations that might be able to help with your enquiry where we cannot.
If you want to email us with your enquiry, please check our Notes on enquiries below. We try to answer all enquiries as soon as possible; this service is free, but we have limited resources, so please read our Notes carefully before contacting us, as this will ensure we can respond to your enquiry quickly.
We can answer questions about:
- Royal Academicians
- The history of the Royal Academy
- The Royal Academy Schools and students
- The Royal Academy (Annual) Summer Exhibition. Read FAQs about the Summer Exhibition
- Royal Academy loan exhibitions
- The Royal Academy’s permanent collections of paintings, sculpture, photographs and works on paper
We can’t provide:
- Identification, attribution, or valuation of works of art. For valuation and attribution of works of art, contact a reputable auction house, such as Christies
- To find libraries which hold art magazines, look at the ARLIS Periodicals Database
- Information on non-British artists. Your local public library should be able to help with general art enquiries. To find your nearest library, visit UK Public Libraries Page
. For more in-depth enquiries, you could try a specialist art library such as the National Art Library
, Birmingham Central Library
, Edinburgh Central Library
, Manchester Central Library
, or Westminster Reference Library
- Help with in-depth genealogical research. A number of organisations can provide help with family history research, including the The National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office)
, The Society of Genealogists
, UK Family History Online
, and Genuki: UK & Ireland Genealogy
- Prints and posters. For works in the Royal Academy’s permanent collections, try our Picture library
. For other images, you can try the Witt Photographic Library (British paintings)
or the Conway Photographic Library (sculpture)
, both at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Images are also available from commercial print dealers, such as The Medici Galleries
Notes on enquiries:
- Please be as specific as you can about what you want to find out, and include your name and address so that we can post information to you.
- Please tell us what you already know, and what sources you have already used in your research.
- Please tell us why you are doing your research (academic research, family history, picture research, school project).
Contact details for inquiries
Telephone 020 7300 5737 (line open Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm).
Or write to:
Library Information Service
Royal Academy of Arts
London W1J 0BD