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Records of the President and Council

RA Collection: Archive

Archive context

Showing item 3 of 17 in this group

Reference code



Records of the President and Council





Extent & medium


Historical Background

The Council of the Royal Academy of Arts consists of an annually elected President and a number of other members. The laws of the Royal Academy state that the Council ‘shall have the entire direction and management of all the business of the Society.’ However, while the Council is empowered to 'frame all new laws', those laws 'shall have no force until ratified by the consent of the General Assembly, and the approbation of the SOVEREIGN'. On the foundation of the Academy in 1768, Sir Joshua Reynolds was elected first President and the Council consisted of eight members in succession. The members of Council were to serve for two years but half of them had to retire each year so that there would always be an annual change in its composition. The Council is currently composed of the President and thirteen members.