Royal Academy of Arts
London, W1J 0BD
Founded in 1768, this is the country's oldest society concerned solely with the fine arts.
As an independent institution it is primarily led by prestigious artists and architects. Among its founders were Sir Joshua Reynolds and Sir William Chambers, who were determined to achieve professional standing for British art and architecture. Through the Academy's history the prominence of its members has not diminished and past Royal Academicians include John Constable, Thomas Gainsborough, JMW Turner, Lord Leighton and Stanley Spencer, while current members include Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, David Hockney, Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley and Anish Kapoor.
The collection focuses on British art and artists and mainly ranges from the 18th century to the present day. Among the highlights are major works by Reynolds, Gainsborough, Turner, Constable, Alma-Tadema, Flaxman, Millais, Leighton, Waterhouse, Sargent, Spencer and Hockney. Some of the John Madejski Fine Rooms have been rehung with works from the permanent collection. They can be visited on special free tours. See website for details.