Birthday Celebrations for Royal Academy Kicked Off with Major Gift Announced from Julia and Hans Rausing for The Vaults

The Royal Academy of Arts, the world’s foremost artist and architect-led institution, will celebrate its 250th birthday on Monday 10 December 2018, exactly 250 years after the ‘Instrument of Foundation’ was signed by King George III in 1768.

The RA has received a major gift of £2.5m from Julia and Hans Rausing towards The Vaults, the new public route linking Burlington House to Burlington Gardens. This generous donation is the closing gift for the RA’s recent redevelopment. The Vaults will be named The Julia and Hans Rausing Hall.  

The Royal Academy has been celebrating its momentous anniversary throughout the year with highlights including:

  • The newly expanded campus designed by Sir David Chipperfield RA and supported by £12.7m from the National Lottery, has received over 1 million visits since opening on 19 May 2018
  • The new free displays across the site have, since 19 May, attracted over 750,000 visits
  • The opening ‘Art Party’ weekend (19/20 May 2018) received over 17,000 visits
  • The new RA Collection Gallery has received, since 19 May, 100,000 visits
  • 27% of visits in 2017/18 have been made by first time visitors to the RA
  • 34% of visits in 2017/18 were made by those under 40 years old
  • The 250th Summer Exhibition (12 June – 19 August 2018), co-ordinated by Grayson Perry RA, received 296,442 visits, the highest in over 100 years
  • The acclaimed Charles I: King and Collector (27 January – 15 April 2018, in partnership with the Royal Collection Trust and sponsored by BNY Mellon) received 256,789 visits
  • RA250 UK, a nationwide celebration of RA-related exhibitions and events with museums and galleries across the UK, with support from Art Fund
  • 2018 ends with Oceania (29 September – 10 December 2018), the first ever major survey of Oceanic art to be held in the UK marking 250 years after Captain James Cook set sail on his first expedition

Christopher Le Brun, President of the Royal Academy of Arts, said: “The contribution of the Royal Academy of Arts to British cultural life is immeasurable and 250 years on it is still thriving; a voice for artists and architects, training the next generation of art students in the RA Schools and educating the public with world-class exhibitions and debate. We are experiencing this year a sense of renewal and we look forward to the next 250 years.”

The anniversary year will culminate with the ‘RA Student Night: The Birthday Party’ on Saturday 8 December. Curated by University of the Arts London students, the one-night festival is inspired by the RA; its history and future. Up to 3,000 students are expected to attend.

Christopher Le Brun PRA will host a dinner for Royal Academicians on Monday 10 December at the Royal Academy.

Image credit Fraser Marr