Selection Committee, 1938., 1938. 153 X 206 mm. Unidentified photographer. The Summer Exhibition has been held every year since 1769. Catalogues of all past exhibitions are held in the library. The catalogues were illustrated from 1888 onwards, but only around 20% of works in each exhibition are reproduced.
Indexes of past exhibitors at the Summer Exhibition are arranged by artists’ surname, and are sub-divided according to year of exhibition. They also give the titles of work(s) displayed and the address the artist gave at the time, but little or no additional information. These publications are held in the library, and can also be found in most other good art libraries.
Installation view of Gallery VI, Summer Exhibition 2011. Photo: John Bodkin/DawkinsColour Works displayed at past Summer Exhibitions were for sale. If unsold, they were returned to the artists. They do not enter the Permanent Collections of the Royal Academy, and we do not hold information on the whereabouts of works of art after the end of each exhibition.
An artist who has exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition does not automatically become a Royal Academician (RA). For an explanation of the procedure for election to the membership of the Royal Academy see our pages on Royal Academicians and how RAs are elected.
All works submitted for selection for the Summer Exhibition had labels attached to the back. However, only a percentage of paintings submitted for the exhibition are selected for display, and sometimes even works that have been selected are not always hung in the final display.