Founded in 1823, the Society of British Artists brought together many of the most famous artists of the time. In 1887, under the leadership of James McNeill Whistler, it was granted ‘Royal’ status by Queen Victoria. In the following years, many prominent artists joined, including Walter Sickert, Philip de Laszlo, LS Lowry and Henry Moore. Among the honorary members were Claude Monet and Alfred Stevens. Today, honorary members include Royal Academicians such as Ken Howard and Fred Cuming.
The Royal Society of British Artists has become the largest society in the United Kingdom to promote figurative art which, as described by the art critic, Anthony Lester, “continues to maintain its prestige and excellence for artists and art lovers alike”. In this Exhibition, The Minster Gallery is pleased to highlight the talent as well as the diversity of styles and subjects explored by Members of the RBA.
In addition to professional artists, the RBA recognises individuals who have achieved a high degree of respect and recognition for their artistic work. Distinguished amongst them is the writer and broadcaster, Andrew Marr. In his recent book, “A short Book About Painting”, Andrew Marr eloquently explains the importance of painting: “Painting is a system of communication with only one message, the sensation of being alive more intensely than normal. (…) For mysteriously, the thought and passion and work that goes into an oil painting can be caught on its dried surface – and then released, time and time again, as energy to the viewer”.