Joshua Reynolds, Britain’s greatest portrait painter, was born in Plymouth and for four years had his first studio in Devonport.
Following some time in Italy Reynolds moved to London and became a prominent member of the RSA. In 1760, with other leading RSA artists Gainsborough, Hogarth, et al, Reynolds staged the first exhibition of combined British artist at the RSA’s house. On the insistence of the RSA the exhibition was free to enter, and the artist raised some income from the optional sales of exhibition programmes.
The exhibition was a runaway success and hence, when it came to negotiating a follow-up exhibition the following year, the artist insisted on an entrance fee. The RSA was immovable and as result the artist decided go it alone, a pinacle event in the history of British art which lead to the foundation of the Royal Academy and the establishment of the Academy’s annual summer exhibition. At the heart of this parting of the ways is a debate that is as relevant today as it was then: the question of "Who pays for art?".
As some of Reynolds' original work is brought back to Plymouth, Fellows are invited to celebrate his life and work and contribute to the debate through a two-part event in partnership with The Royal Academy, The Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, Plymouth City Museum and Gallery, Plymouth University, Plymouth College of Art, Redrow Homes and the Real Ideas Organisation.
15:30 – 17.30pm: Unveiling, award ceremony and exhibition opening
Awarding of the Joshua Reynolds Redrow Fellowships to winning students; unveiling of the Joshua Reynolds blue plaque; awarding of Arts Awards to participating schools and young people; and opening of the schools’ exhibition with Plymouth’s Lord Mayor.
18.30pm – 21.00pm: Who pays for art? Drinks reception, keynote speech, and panel debate.
Keynote: Tim Marlow, writer, broadcaster and art historian and Director of Artistic Programmes at the Royal Academy of Arts.
Panel debate: Mark Londesborough, Creative Learning and Development Project Manager at the RSA, Phil Gibby, Arts Council England Area Director South West, and South West political leaders. Chaired by Lindsey Hall, CEO of the South West’s Real Ideas Organisation.
Followed by refreshments and networking. Both events are open to RSA Fellows, free to attend and booked separately.
This event is free to attend but please book your place at the top of this page.
Any questions, please contact Lou Matter: firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: Devonport Guildhall, Ker Street, Plymouth, PL1 4EL