The Collection began with the foundation of the Royal Academy in 1768, works of art often being given by the artists themselves. They were intended to show the talents of the British School and provide inspiration for new generations of British artists.
It now contains about 935 paintings, 350 sculptures, 700 plaster casts, 25,000 prints and drawings and 5,000 historic photographs. The Collection’s central focus is on British art and artists from the 18th century to the present day.
You will find some of these works on display around the building; ranging from the Michelangelo Tondo to the most recent additions to the Collection by Royal Academicians. In addition a programme of exhibitions in the Tennant Gallery, the Fine Rooms & the Print Room focuses on the rich history of the RA, our Collection and the work of Academicians past and present.
Key features of the Collection are outlined below. Individual objects can be explored through our online search feature.