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ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS, London
The exhibition of the Royal Academy, MDCCLXIX. The first. (MDCCCXXXVI. The sixty-eighth.)
[London]: [1769--1836].
[68] pts. ; 20.8 cm. (4°)

The Royal Academy of Arts was founded in 1768 by King George III, with 34 founding members including the painter Sir Joshua Reynolds and the architect Sir William Chambers. One of the Academy's founding principles was to hold an annual exhibition, and this has been without interruption from 1769 to the present day. Soane first exhibited at the Academy in 1772 and thereafter virtually every year for the rest of his life (the exceptions are 1778, 1780 and 1788--91). ESTC t33772 [et seq.].

Copy Notes Copy 1: The foundation of this run of catalogues for the R.A. exhibitions during Soane's lifetime (i.e. 1769--1836) seems to have been a two-volume set covering the years 1769--1810 which, according to an early MS. note tipped in at the front of the first volume, had belonged to Sir Thomas Lawrence P.R.A., and was 'Bought at Sotheby's Sale, June 28, 1830' (q.v.) for Soane by John Britton for £19. 5s. 0d. (lot 813), together with two other Academy exhibition related items, i.e. lot '815 Collections of Tracts &c MS. & Printed 6.17.6' and '820 Collection of Criticisms 5.17.6.' (For these albums of exhibition reviews see Soane Case 21 & 22; also Priv. Corr.XVI.E.7.4 regarding Britton's purchases for Soane). Bound before the first Academy catalogue of 1769 are copies of the catalogues for the nine Society of Artists' exhibitions that had taken place prior to the foundation of the Academy (q.v.); bound at the end of the first volume after the 1793 catalogue is A catalogue of ... the works of artists, who have exhibited at the Great room in Spring-Gardens, Charing-Cross; which will be sold by Auction, by Mr. Langford, ...the 23rd ... February, 1763 (q.v.). The front free-endpaper of the first volume is inscribed in ink Jos: Farington, R.A., and it is interesting that both Joseph Farington (1747--1821), who was fascinated by the early history of the Academy, and Sir Thomas Lawrence, its third president, should have possessed in turn a set of R.A. catalogues which recalled so clearly the secession of the senior members of the Society of Artists which had led directly to the institution of the new Royal Academy on 10 December 1768. -- Continuations to this set were added by successive curators of the Soane Museum, forming a complete run to 1916 inclusive; those for the years 1907--1916 are unbound, in the original printed blue paper wrappers.
Copy 2: The catalogues for 1779, 1782, 1783, 1785 and 1795 only are bound (1, 3--4, 7--8) in a volume with five other miscellaneous catalogues published between 1779 and 1800. Contents list for the volume inscribed in ink in a late C18th hand; re-numbered in red ink by G[eorge] B[ailey] on noting in 1837 the earlier removal of Baretti's Guide through the Royal Academy, 1781, no copy of which is now in Soane's library. This must have been prior to Soane's purchase of the volume since the individual items are numbered in ink on their title-pages No 1 etc. Trace of a former ownership label on verso of front free-endpaper. Inscribed in ink on the final free-endpaper in a flamboyant hand Ireland. The 1783 catalogue is inscribed in ink on the title-page also / Exhibition of Jervais's Stained Glass. / and / Barry's Historical Exhibition. [These remain together and are bound next in the volume]. The 1785 catalogue has some items marked in pencil (e.g. works by William Blake).
Copy 3: A set of unbound catalogues for the years 1777, 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802, 1807, 1809, 1810 (two copies), 1812, 1813, 1814, 1815, 1816, 1817, 1819, 1820, 1822, 1824, 1828, 1831, 1832, 1834, 1835. Those for 1813, 1816, 1820 and 1835 are inscribed in ink John Soane; that for 1815 is inscribed in ink on the title-page Aug. 1819 letter from the Acad: to the/ ambassador--/ Nov. 13 - 1819, and that for 1816 Private View/ Friday 26 April 1816. All have Duplicate inscribed by a later hand on the title-page.

Binding Copy 1: C19th calf, rebacked, with the original red morocco gilt-lettered spine labels preserved. Bound in 4 vols. The catalogues for 1907--1916 in original printed blue paper wrappers as issued.
Copy 2: Late C18th blue paper boards, white paper spine cover, ink-lettered 'Miscellaneous / Catalogues &c.', with small circular paper label at foot of spine lettered '317[?]'. Later numbered '16' in a series of sale catalogue volumes.
Copy 3: Stab-stitched as issued, some uncut without wrappers, some in contemporary marbled-paper or brown paper wrappers.

Reference Number 3233


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