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The Royal Academy of Arts

History and Collections

Robin Simon, MaryAnne Stevens (Contributions by)


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Published in association with the Royal Academy of Arts, London  

Animated by an unprecedented study of its collections, this book tells the story of the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and illuminates the history of art in Britain over the past two and a half centuries. Thousands of paintings, sculptures, drawings, and engravings, as well as silver, furniture, medals, and historic photographs, make up this monumental collection, featured here in stunning illustrations, and including an array of little-studied works of art and other objects of the highest quality. The works of art complement an archive of 600,000 documents and the first library in Britain dedicated to the fine arts. This fresh history reveals the central role of the Royal Academy in British national life, especially during the 19th century. It also explores periods of turmoil in the 20th century, when the Academy sought either to defy or to come to terms with modernism, challenging linear histories and frequently held notions of progress and innovation.

Praise For The Royal Academy of Arts: History and Collections

“Handsomely illuminating”—Michael Prodger, Sunday Times

"For its comprehensiveness and novel conceptualization of how to present a collection’s history, this is a landmark contribution to the field of art history and museum studies generally, and is of core significance to British art and cultural studies, and to the history of collections."—J. Decker, Choice

Paul Mellon Centre, 9780300232073, 676pp.

Publication Date: June 19, 2018

About the Author

Robin Simon is editor of the British Art Journal and honorary professor of English at University College London. MaryAnne Stevens is an independent art historian and curator.