British Institution

RA Collection: People and Organisations

Formed in 1805 to 'open a public exhibition for the sale of the productions of British artists, to excite the emulation and exertions of younger artists by premiums, and to endeavour to form a public gallery of the works of British artists, with a few select specimens of each of the great schools.'

The British Institution held two exhibitions each year, one of the old masters the other of contemporary art. The institution was driven more by the values of connoisseurship than those of artistic practice. The organisation ceased in 1870 and their old master exhibitions were adopted by the Royal Academy. The remaining capital of the Institution went to the formation of a fund for the ward of "British Institution Scholarships", these continue.

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