The Great Spectacle: 250 Years of the Summer Exhibition

Royal Academy of Arts

12 June – 19 August 2018

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Trace the history of the world's longest-running open-submission show with highlights from the last 250 years.

William Powell Frith, A Private View at the Royal Academy, 1881

The Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition has been running continuously since 1769, showcasing the very best in contemporary art.

To celebrate the 250th anniversary, this exhibition explores the show's history, the artists it has inspired and promoted, and its impact on the British and international art scene. A series of interlinked gallery displays recreate key moments in the Academy's story and capture all the excitement and variety of the famous summer show.

Featured artists include Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Lawrence, John Constable, JMW Turner, John Everett Millais, Frederic Leighton, John Singer Sargent, Peter Blake, Tracey Emin, Zaha Hadid, Michael Craig-Martin, David Hockney and Wolfgang Tillmans, among others.

Venue information

Opening times

Mon – Thu, Sat – Sun, 10am – 6pm Fri, 10am – 10pm Closed 23 Jun, 24 – 26 Dec

Please visit for special late openings: https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/plan-your-visit

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