Why shop at the Royal Academy?

The Royal Academy is a unique institution, an independent charity with a mission to be a clear, strong voice for art and artists, where art is made, exhibited and debated. Receiving no public funding the RA depends on the generosity of friends and supporters. Purchases made via our online shop raise funds which help to support the aims and programmes of the Royal Academy.

The Academy was founded by George III in 1768. The founding Members were a group of prominent artists and architects, including Sir Joshua Reynolds, who were determined to achieve professional standing for British art and architecture. They also wanted to provide a venue for exhibitions that would be open to the public; and to establish a school of art through which their skills and knowledge could be passed to future generations of practitioners.

Royal Academicians (Members) are practising painters, sculptors, printmakers and architects and are elected by their peers. The 26th President of the Academy is Christopher Le Brun and there are up to 80 Academicians and a number of Senior Academicians. Past Royal Academicians include John Constable, Stanley Spencer, Mary Fedden and Terry Frost, while current members include Richard Rogers, Tracey Emin, David Hockney, and Anish Kapoor.

One of the founding principles of the Academy was to 'mount an annual exhibition open to all artists of distinguished merit' to finance the training of young artists in the RA Schools. Now known as the Summer Exhibition and held every year without interruption since 1769, the exhibition attracts entries of around 10,000 works.

The Academy's art school, known as 'The Schools', is the oldest in Britain. Past students include many famous British artists such as William Blake, JMW Turner and, more recently, Sir Anthony Caro and Sandra Blow. Today, 60 students study a unique three-year postgraduate course.

The Royal Academy continues to fulfil its founders’ aims by mounting a continuous programme of internationally-acclaimed exhibitions, supported by extensive education programmes, seminars and debates. Recent exceptional exhibitions have included The Real Van Gogh: The Artist and His Letters, Anish Kapoor, Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement, and the hugely popular David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture in 2012.

All the products on sale in our online shop have been carefully chosen for their quality and artistic or stylistic merits. Many feature the work of Royal Academicians and are exclusive to the Royal Academy. When you purchase from the RA, you are not only buying something unusual, high quality and stylish, you are also helping to support our worthwhile work.