Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

View of one of the main rooms, June 2015

The Summer Exhibition is an open art exhibition held annually by the Royal Academy in Burlington House, Piccadilly in central London, England, during the months of June, July, and August. The exhibition includes paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, architectural designs and models, and is the largest and most popular open exhibition in the United Kingdom.[1]

A Private View at the Royal Academy, 1881 by William Powell Frith, depicting Oscar Wilde and other Victorian worthies at a private view of the 1881 exhibition

When the Royal Academy was founded in 1768 one of its key objectives was to establish an annual exhibition, open to all artists of merit, which could be visited by the public. The first Summer Exhibition took place in 1769; it has been held every year since without exception.[1]

Selection process

Today, around 1,000 works are selected each year from as many as 10,000 entries representing some 5,000 artists.[citation needed] Any artist (living, known or unknown) may submit up to two works at a fee of £35 per piece for selection by The Summer Exhibition Selection and Hanging Committee.[citation needed] Due to the significant increase in the volume of entries over recent years, the number of entries per artist was reduced to 2 (from 3) and the fee was increased £18 per piece. The committee is formed from the Council of Academicians (the governing body of the RA) and is traditionally chaired by the President of the Royal Academy. In addition to those works selected by the committee, all 80 Academicians are entitled to have six of their own pieces in the exhibition.

For the 2006 exhibition, the academy received a statue and a plinth from David Hensel. By mistake, the two parts were judged independently, with the result that the statue was rejected and the plinth put on display.[2]