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RA celebrates 250th anniversary with a nationwide programme of exhibitions and events

IN 2018, museums, galleries and art institutions across the United Kingdom will take part in RA250 UK, a major nationwide programme of talks, exhibitions and events to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Royal Academy of Arts, with support from Art Fund.

The Royal Academy is the world’s foremost artist and architect-led institution; it is run by a distinguished group of 80 artists and architects, the Royal Academicians. Since its foundation in 1768, the membership of Royal Academicians has included over 650 of the UK’s most eminent painters, sculptors printmakers and architects.

Although the RA is based in London, the Royal Academicians have come from far and wide; their homes, studios, works of art, exhibition spaces and educational experiences can be found across the British Isles and beyond.

This far-reaching and evolving programme will run throughout 2018, celebrating the Royal Academicians, past and present, showing the impact they have had across the UK. An interactive online map outlining the events and exhibitions taking place is now live: Further events and exhibitions will continue to be added to the map as they are confirmed throughout the year.

For the first time, the RA and Art Fund have collaborated to create a series of 12 in-conversation events with Royal Academicians in 12 different locations across 12 months. These will include Gilbert & George RA at The New Art Gallery, Walsall; Alison Wilding RA at Leeds Art Gallery; Eva Rothschild RA at the Pier Art Centre, Orkney; and Christopher Le Brun PRA at The Munnings Art Museum, Essex.

RA250 UK also includes:

In the North West, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester – Annie Swynnerton Painting Light and Hope (February 23, 2018 to January 6, 2019), the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool – Sean Scully: 1970 (July 14 to October 14, 2018) and Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal – History of the Royal Academy (March 2 to June 9, 2018) and Women of the Royal Academy (May 11 to July 28, 2018).

In the North East, the Great North Museum, Newcastle – The Great Exhibition of the North (June 22 to September 9, 2018); Laing Art Gallery and Hatton Gallery, Newcastle – Sean Scully: 1970 (February 10 to May 28, 2018) and the South Shields Museum & Art Gallery, Newcastle – Capturing a Star: Dame Flora Robson and other works by Dame Ethel Walker (September 22, 2018 to March 2, 2019).

In the Midlands, Nottingham City Museums & Galleries, Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire – Harmonising Landscapes – Paul Sandby RA (June 16, 2018 to January 6, 2019).

In the South West, Castle Drogo, National Trust, Exeter – Peter Randall-Page RA at Castle Drogo (until September 18, 2018) and Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth – Making and Breaking the Rules: The Royal Academy 250 at the Russell-Cotes (May 4 to October 14, 2018).

In the South East, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge – RA250 at the Fitzwilliam Museum (February 5 to December 31, 2018); Pallant House Gallery, Chichester – Cathie Pilkington RA (October 6, 2018 to TBC February 2019) and Leonard Rosoman: Painting Theatre (February 3 to April 24, 2018); and Southampton Art Gallery – Christopher Le Brun: Composer (September 15, 2018 to January 13, 2019).

In London, the Royal Academy is partnering in an unprecedented collaboration with the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery to present three exhibitions of Royal Academician Tacita Dean: LANDSCAPE, PORTRAIT, STILL LIFE.

In Scotland, the Scottish Maritime Museum, Glasgow – William Lionel Wyllie RA: War and the Sea (May 31 to September 25, 2018) and The Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture, Edinburgh – Barbara Rae RA RSA – Any Ordinary Journey: Following in the footsteps of Dr John Rae (August 4 to September 9, 2018).

In Wales, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth – Discourse: Reynolds to Rego, 250 Years of Royal Academicians in Print (June 11 to August 31, 2018).

In addition, The Space has commissioned Objects of Obsession, a series of filmed in-conversations with Royal Academicians and the RA’s Artistic Director Tim Marlow, which will be live streamed to a global audience. The series will explore the relationship between the RAs and the work of other artists who are important to their practice and will be hosted by the gallery or museum which houses the piece the artists have chosen.

It will feature Cornelia Parker RA at Bethlem Museum of the Mind, February 16; followed by Sonia Boyce RA at Manchester Art Gallery, March 8; and Bob and Roberta Smith RA at The New Art Gallery Walsall, March. The events will be streamed on each gallery’s website, YouTube and Facebook, establishing a network of shared content for online audiences.

Further details and events will be announced online in due course. Royal Academicians can also be explored in public collections across the country via