The Royal Scottish Academy

The Royal Scottish Academy, known by the acronym RSA, is an organisation based in Scotland that aims to advance Scottish contemporary art.The Academy was first founded back in 1826 and then went on to be adorned with a Royal Charter 12 years later in 1838. A Royal Charter is a document issued by the monarch which allows a learned society of individuals to become a single body and this is seen as a mark of significance for an organisation to receive.

The Royal Scottish Academy is independently funded by both artists and architects. The Royal Scottish Academy has been designed to help promote understanding, provide the power to create works and offer enjoyment of visual arts. This is achieved via the running of exhibitions and other related events that often have an educational purpose to them. As well as running exhibitions through the year the Royal Scottish Academy also awards scholarships and hands out awards via ceremonies to artists who live and work within Scotland.

For more than 180 years the Royal Scottish Academy has been collecting works of vast historical importance and these are now housed in the Dean Gallery. It is possible to arrange an appointment to view these historical works, for research purposes, and a number of the works have been mounted to make this process easier.

The Royal Scottish Academy is predominantly led by artists and architects that are responsible for a vast array of Scottish contemporary art. Members of the Royal Scottish Academy have come to be known as Academicians and they are allowed to use the letters RSA after their name to indicate that they are a member of the Royal Scottish Academy.

Since 1911 the Royal Scottish Academy have been located on The Mound, in the Royal Scottish Academy building. This is located on Princes Street in Edinburgh and it is opposite the NGS, the National Gallery of Scotland. At times exhibition space has been shared between these two organisations and the management of this is overseen by the National Galleries of Scotland. Despite this there is an order, created in 1910, which stated that the Royal Scottish Academy has been granted permanent use of the offices within the building.

The Royal Scottish Academy building was built by William Playfair in 1822 and was completed in 1826. The building was then extended between 1831 and 1836 to allow additional room for the additional board to be housed here. This building is home to the typical columns, with fine details, that William Playfair became famous for. This building was re-designed in 1912 by William Thomas Oldrieve and a statue of Queen Victoria has also been placed atop the building, sculpted by Sir John Steell, a member of the Royal Scottish Academy at the time.

The North Portico of the building has been decorated for a number of events over the years. One of the most highly regarded exhibitions was the Andy Warhol one that marked the 20th anniversary of the artist’s death. This saw the columns outside the North Portico decorated in the style of the famous Campbell’s soup artwork.

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