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The RA Shop online is now open, and you can shop an edit of our collections at the RA Shops at Burlington House and Burlington Gardens, with a free ticket.

We are currently doing some behind the scenes improvement. There will be a 7-10 day delay on deliveries from 7 August. Thank you for your patience.

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The Great Spectacle - 250 Years of the Summer Exhibition

A captivating journey through 250 years of the shifting styles of the world’s longest running annual art exhibition.

Illustrated with works by many of the great names of British art including Reynolds, Gainsborough, Turner, Constable, Hockney and Emin.

WAS £12, NOW £3

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Dimensions 26.5 x 23cm
Fabric & material Paperback
No. of Pages 224
SKU 02086852

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Service Update (updated 19 March 2020)

We want to make sure your order reaches you as safely as possible. Therefore, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, all orders will be dispatched once the RA has reopened. We will be in touch once the RA has reopened and once your order has been dispatched. 

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Updated 19 May 2020

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Product story

The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition is one of the largest and world’s longest-running annual display of contemporary art. Ever since 1769 the Academy’s exhibition rooms have been packed for some two months each year with thousands of paintings and sculptures by a multitude of leading artists.These ground-breaking spectacles have provided artists with essential competition, inspiration and publicity, capturing the hearts and minds of millions of visitors.

This book takes the reader on a fascinating journey telling the story of these exhibitions. Many cherished works of British art were first shown on the walls of the RA: portraits by Reynolds and Gainsborough, the expansive landscapes of Turner and Constable, and the Pre-Raphaelites, who caused such critical and cultural impact. Chapters on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries look at the RA’s relationship with British modernism, and explore the many changes that have taken place in Summer Exhibitions of recent decades.

Professor Mark Hallett is Director of Studies at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and author of Reynolds, Portraiture in Action (2014). Dr Sarah Victoria Turner is Assistant Director for Research at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. Dr Jessica Feather is an Allen Fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.

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