Royal West of England Academy

Bristol, BS8 1PX

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The Academy was Bristol’s first art gallery, and its current artistic programme promotes work by its members as well as established artists from outside Bristol

The Royal West of England Academy, Bristol's first art gallery

In the mid 19th century a group of artists based in Bristol decided to set up the first art gallery in the city. With support from a bequest left by the painter Ellen Sharples, a fine building was erected on Queen Street in 1858.

Subsequently modified and enlarged, it is still the Academy's home. One of only five in the UK, it has a membership of 150 Academicians, and supports their work by including it in exhibitions and events.

But the Academy's interests extend far beyond Bristol. Recent exhibitions have included the work of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin as well as UK stalwarts such as Mary Fedden. The annual open exhibition receives entries from unknown, emerging and established artists and is now in its 160th year.

Venue information

Opening times

Tue – Sat, 10am – 6pm
Sun, 11am – 5pm

Closed Mon except Bank Holidays (open spring and summer Bank Holiday Mondays)
Closed 24 – 26, 1 Jan

"Art Fund" is the operating name of the National Art Collections Fund, a charity registered in England and Wales (209174) and Scotland (SC038331)