The Royal Academy of Arts (RA) is an art institution based in Burlington House on Piccadilly in London. Founded in 1768, it has a unique position as an independent, privately funded institution led by eminent artists and architects. Its purpose is to promote the creation, enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts through exhibitions, education and debate. The origin of the Royal Academy of Arts lies in an attempt in 1755 by members of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, principally the sculptor Henry Cheere, to found an autonomous academy of arts. Prior to this a number of artists were members of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, including Cheere and William Hogarth, or were involved in small-scale private art academies, such as the St Martin's Lane Academy. Although Cheere's attempt failed, the eventual charter, called an 'Instrument', used to establish the Royal Academy of Arts over a decade later was almost identical to that drawn up by Cheere in 1755. More information...

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