The Collection began with the foundation of the Royal Academy in 1768 and the works of art were often given by the artists themselves. They were intended to show the talents of the British School and provide inspiration for new generations of British artists. It now contains about 850 paintings, 350 sculptures, 500 plaster casts, 15,000 prints and drawings and 2,000 historic photographs.
Henry Fuseli RA (1741-1825), Thor battering the Midgard Serpent Oil on canvas 1330 X 946 mm
Diploma works are works of art presented by artists upon their election as Members of the Royal Academy. This significant collection of works dates from the 18th century to the present day and includes paintings by Fuseli, Turner, Constable, Raeburn, Millais, Sargent, Spencer and Hockney; sculptures by Flaxman, Gibson, Thorneycroft, Paolozzi, Frink and Flanagan; and architectural drawings by Soane, Barry, Scott, Waterhouse, Lutyens, Rogers and St. John Wilson.
The Royal Academy was England’s first, and for many years only, free art school. This collection brings together a wide range of materials that were collected specifically by artists for artists including: anatomical drawings for Cheselden’s Osteographia, George Stubbs’ Anatomy of the Horse and numerous studies by B.R. Haydon; life drawings by William Mulready, Lord Leighton and G.F. Watts; engravings by and after Old Masters such as Rubens, Van Dyck, Goya and Tiepolo; plaster casts after the Antique and écorché casts from dissected bodies; photographs from Eadweard Muybridge’s Animal Locomotion 1872-1885; and copies after Old Masters including 16th-century copies of Leonardo’s Last Supper and Michelangelo’s Leda and the Swan.
Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA (1723-1792), Self-portrait. Oil on panel, 1270 X 1016 mm The collection of portraits of Members of the Royal Academy include many iconic images of British artists including self-portraits by Reynolds and Gainsborough, as well as significant representations of artists such as Constable, Millais, Alma Tadema, Sickert, Bellany and Nolan. There is also an important collection of photographs of Victorian artists by David Wilkie Wynfield.
These include important collections of drawings by John Yenn, Thomas Graham Jackson and Richard Norman Shaw as well a large collection of drawings relating to Burlington House, the first neo-Palladian town house in Britain.
There is a growing collection of prints by current Members of the Academy including Eduardo Paolozzi, Tom Phillips, Jennifer Dickson, Peter Freeth, Chris Orr and Norman Ackroyd.
Contact details for further information
Telephone 020 7300 5737