History at The Athenaeum : Dawn Geddes
This months Mayfair Insider series features Freelance Journalist Dawn Geddes, who tells of her family stay at The Athenaeum
25th January 2018
Founded personally by King George III in 1768, the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) was established to improve the professional status of artists, and to create a gallery space that held high standards.
Before arriving in its current home – the grandiose private Palladian mansion of Burlington House – the RA was set up in Pall Mall, then the old and new Somerset House, followed by a wing of the National Gallery. Exactly 100 years after its foundation, the RA finally became established in Burlington House. Owned by the British government but also one of the earliest and largest private residences built on Piccadilly, Burlington House provides an impressive welcome to the RA.
Over the years, the education part of the RA has turned out some of the UK’s most notable artists, including William Blake and the Turner Prize nominee, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. Exhibitions rated among the best in the world have been held at the RA, from The Real Van Gogh to David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture.
There’s always something new to discover at the RA, from world-class exhibitions to unassuming corners of Burlington House for quiet reflection. The RA shop and The Keeper’s House – a bar, lounge and secret garden – are relatively unknown spots in London that make you feel like a local too.
Visitors of The Athenaeum can take a ten-minute stroll along Piccadilly to reach the RA, which is open Monday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm, plus a late opening until 10pm on Fridays.
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