The Great Spectacle


Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Charles Pugin, ‘Exhibition Room, Somerset House,’ 1808. Engraving. (Image: Wikimedia commons)

If we want to learn about the history and heritage of the British art world, we need look no further than the Royal Academy. Celebrating its 250th anniversary, the RA boasts the longest running exhibition of contemporary art in the world. It is a significant achievement and who better to talk to about it than Sarah Turner, deputy director of research at the Paul Mellon Centre and co-curator of the upcoming exhibition The Great Spectacle at the RA.


The Great Spectacle will chart the history of the Summer Exhibition from the first ever exhibition in 1769 to today, displaying a select number of works from Summer Exhibitions over the last two and a half centuries. The visitor will then seamlessly pass from The Great Spectacle into the 2018 Summer Exhibition. It should prove to be an amazing way to explore the history of art display in this country.