Rebecca Salter PRA: the first female President of the Royal Academy of Arts

Published 10 December 2019

In an historic vote, the leading painter and printmaker, Rebecca Salter, has been elected the RA’s 27th – and first female – President.

  • The artist Rebecca Salter has been elected the first female President in the Royal Academy’s 251-year history, it was announced today.

    Salter was elected by fellow Royal Academicians – the leading artists and architects who run the RA – in a vote earlier today. Staff at the Royal Academy of Arts cheered as the outgoing President, Christopher Le Brun, announced the news at Burlington House, introducing the RA’s first female President.

    Accepting the role, Rebecca Salter said she was honoured by the appointment and described it as “a tremendously exciting time to become President,” following the 250th anniversary expansion last year. “I look forward to working with my fellow Academicians, our staff and our many supporters to help the RA to evolve while keeping art, architecture and debate at the heart of what we do,” she added.

    Stepping into a role previously held by artists including Joshua Reynolds and John Everett Millais, Salter becomes the 27th President of the Royal Academy – an appointment that, in accordance with Academy law, was formally approved today by Her Majesty The Queen.

    Salter succeeds Christopher Le Brun PPRA, who has stepped down after serving eight years in the role.

    A leading painter and printmaker, Salter was elected as Royal Academician in 2014. In 2017 she became Keeper of the Royal Academy, with the responsibility of guiding the RA Schools.

    Axel Rüger, Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy said that he was delighted by the appointment. “With a long career as a respected artist, and an in-depth knowledge of the Royal Academy through her position as Keeper, Rebecca will bring a wealth of experience to the role. I look forward to working with her.”

    An election will be held to appoint a new Keeper of the RA Schools in 2020.