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"Art on The Line: The Royal Academy Exhibitions at Somerset House 1780-1836"
2001-10-18 until 2002-01-20
Courtauld Institute of Art
London, , UK United Kingdom

The most ambitious exhibition yet staged by the Courtauld, Art on The Line will recreate the golden age of British art and promises to be a highlight of The British Art Season. The Royal Academy was founded in 1768 with the backing of George III and twelve years later moved into the newly completed Strand block of Somerset House.

Here the Academy held its annual exhibitions until 1836; it is the experience of those exhibitions that the Courtauld seeks to recreate. Some 300 Royal Academy exhibits, all of which first went on public view at Somerset House, will be brought together and presented in the manner of the original displays. These works, by all the greatest names of the golden age of British art, have been generously loaned by major public and private collections in Britain and overseas. Several pictures come from the collection of HM The Queen, who has graciously agreed to be Patron of the exhibition.

Art on The Line will take up the entire top floor of Somerset House’s recently restored Fine Rooms with the magnificent Great Room providing the main focus of attention, precisely as it did in the past. Here, in Sir William Chambers’ imposing and elegant gallery, one of Europe’s earliest purpose-built spaces to display modern art, a dazzling array of paintings by the leading masters of the day will be hung in period fashion, frame-to-frame and from floor to ceiling.


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