12 rooms in Walk Through British Art
Discover artworks from 1760–1780, a period dominated by the work of Sir Joshua Reynolds
It’s a small room but it’s of vital significance to the history of British art. This is because 1768 was the foundation of the Royal Academy. Curator Greg Sullivan
Founded by King George III, the Royal Academy of Arts was set up to help establish a professional standing for art and architecture in Britain. It was also intended as a venue for public exhibitions and an art school, where skills and knowledge could be passed to future generations. The Royal Academy had 34 founding members, and its first president was Sir Joshua Reynolds, who has a strong presence in this gallery.
As Reynolds sought to elevate society portrait paintings by referencing the work of old masters such as Titian, other painters, such as Benjamin West, delved much further into intellectualism. Reynolds had much impact on his peers, as is seen with Sketch for 'The Conjuror’ 1775 by Nathaniel Hone. Here, Hone mimicked the composition of Three Ladies Adorning a Term of Hymen 1773 and even included a figure which is said to represent Reynolds.
Art in this room
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Art in 1760