The King’s Artists: George III’s Academy

Royal Academy: until 21 October 2012 in the Tennant Gallery

Part of a series of displays to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, The King’s Artists explores the influence that George III had on the early shaping and history of the Royal Academy of Arts and how his support contributed to its success.

Dominating the exhibition are the imposing portraits of George III and Queen Charlotte, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds to hang in the Academy’s council chamber. These served as physical reminders of the Academy’s great patrons, presiding over the institution in its resplendent, purpose-built, new apartments in Somerset House.

A newly attributed chalk study by Reynolds for his grand portrait of the monarch, on loan from a private collection, will be shown for the first time alongside the finished oil painting. Hurriedly taken in the brief sittings that the King allowed, this drawing is a poignant reminder of how George and Joshua were obliged to put aside mutual antipathy for the sake of their Academy as it was about to move to Somerset House.

Sculpture, drawings, prints and archival materials exploring the Academy’s royal connections are also on view.

Supported by Lowell Libson Ltd

Opening hours
Tuesday–Friday, 1–4.30pm
Saturday–Sunday, 10am–6pm
(closed on Mondays)

Admission with a valid Royal Academy Exhibition ticket or £3 General Admission ticket. Friends visit free.

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