Royal West of England Academy
The Royal West of England Academy (RWA) is one of only five Royal Academies of Art in the UK. It is a registered charity which has been self-supporting for over 150 years and possesses an outstanding Grade II* listed building, galleries and permanent fine art collection. The RWA has HM Queen Elizabeth II as its patron.
The RWA is an established venue for the fine arts and embraces an artistic awareness of the widest nature. The art exhibition programme provides a showcase for one man and mixed exhibitions in a variety of media, which attract large numbers of visitors nation-wide.
The Academy is open every day except Easter Sunday and 25 December - 3 January.
The RWA has its background in the early nineteenth century when a group of artists in Bristol formed an association known as the Bristol Society of Artists. These were mostly landscape painters and many were well known such as William Muller, Francis Danby, J.B. Pyne and John Syer. In 1844, when the Bristol Academy for the Promotion of Fine Arts was founded, the Bristol Society of Artists was incorporated into it. At this time the President and committee were predominantly its patrons, rather than its artists.
When Ellen Sharples, an artist associated with this group and a member of a portrait painting family, died in 1849 she left £2,000 to the Bristol Academy for the Promotion of Fine Arts. This sum, together with an earlier gift from her and money raised by other art supporters, enabled the erection of a fine building in 1858 - Bristol's first Art Gallery.
A school of art was established in 1853, known as the Bristol School of Practical Art supported by artist members and studio space was later provided by the Academy. From 1936 to 1969 it was known as the West of England College of Art. Since then a school of art has always occupied part of the Academy premises. Education continues to be important at the RWA.
Artists showing at Red Rag who have also exhibited modern art works at the RWA include: Elizabeth Blackadder, David Cobley, Mary Fedden and Alfred Stockham