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We will be open to Friends of the RA from Thursday 9 July, and to the public from 16 July. Find out more and plan your visit.

FREE

The Making of an Artist: Learning about Architecture

The Dorfman Architecture Court, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts

Dates to be announced

Aspiring architects in the 18th-century RA Schools honed their craft by copying casts taken from classical buildings. This display brings those casts together, revealing another aspect of traditional artistic training.

Please note: This display has been closed until further notice. When we open on 9 July you’ll be able to see Picasso and Paper (pre-booking essential). Sign up for emails or follow us on social media for further updates.

It was an architect, William Chambers, who delivered the 1768 petition to King George III asking him to support the foundation of an Academy for artists and architects. The newly formed RA Schools taught architecture until the 1950s, and just as aspiring artists were taught to look to classical statues for guidance, would-be architects were required to closely study classical architecture.

The RA Collection includes a large number of architectural casts that were acquired for this purpose. Purchased from 1770 to 1870, many of these casts going on display came from the collection of Sir Thomas Lawrence, the fourth president of the RA. The casts were made from moulds taken directly from the great architectural monuments of ancient Rome. In some cases they now include more detail than the buildings themselves, which have been damaged by weather, pollution, vandalism and overzealous 19th-century restorations.

Dates to be announced

Free

The Dorfman Architecture Court, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts