March 2022 – Private visit to the library at the Royal Academy of Arts

A special opportunity to see the wonderful library at the Royal Academy which is rarely open to members of the public. On our private late-morning visit, the archivists will provide us with an illuminating insight into the rare collections. Established at the time of the academy’s foundation in 1768, the library is the oldest institutional fine arts library in the UK.

It holds a significant collection of books about both British art and also the history of the Royal Academy since the mid-18th century. In addition to the Academy’s own records covering 250 years of British cultural life, the archive holds papers of the 18th-century Society of Artists and the Graphic Society, an informal Bloomsbury-based society which flourished in the mid-19th century.

The Academy also possesses important archives of artists’ personal papers dating from 1757 to the late 20th century.