Two hundred and fifty years ago, in 1768, The Royal Academy in London decided to hold an annual exhibition of “paintings, sculpture, and design” that would be “open to all artists of distinguished merit” and so began the summer exhibition.
We’ve been attending the summer exhibition on and off for something like ten years and I really love it. We went today, which is the 250th annual event.
As you can see in the photo above, which is from maybe 150 years ago, they pack the walls with art. You can barely see the walls there is so much art on them.
But the thing I love most is the way they hang an unknown twenty-year-old painter next to a Hockney. It really speaks to me and represents an egalitarian approach that is rare in the art world and the worlds beyond art.
You can buy many of the works at the summer exhibition and we have done that a few times over the years. Not today, as many of the works we liked had been sold or were not for sale. But I like that it is a place you can collect and many of the works are not particularly expensive.
If you live in London or the UK, you have likely gone. If not, you should. And if you are not from the UK but find yourself in London this summer, you should go.