Royal Birmingham Society of Artists
|Formerly called||Birmingham Society of Artists|
The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists or RBSA is an art society, based in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, England, where it owns and operates an art gallery, the RBSA Gallery, on Brook Street, just off St Paul's Square. It is both a registered charity, and a registered company (no. 122616).
The RBSA was established as the Birmingham Society of Artists in 1821, though it can trace its origins back further to the life drawing academy opened by Samuel Lines, Moses Haughton, Vincent Barber and Charles Barber in Peck Lane (now the site of New Street Station) in 1809. From this group was founded the Birmingham Academy of Arts in 1814, whose first exhibition was held that year. A gallery and set of offices for the Birmingham Society of Arts was built behind a fine neo-classical portico in New Street by architect Thomas Rickman in 1829. In 1868 the RBSA received its royal charter and adopted its current name.
The RBSA was to become a highly influential body in the later Victorian period, particularly within the Pre-Raphaelite and Arts and Crafts movements. Its members included some of the most significant figures in English art, and presidents during the period included artists of the stature of Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, John Everett Millais and Lord Leighton.
One of principal aims of the Society from its foundation had been to continue the educational activities pioneered by Lines. Initially this work was carried out by the society itself, but in 1843 the Birmingham School of Art was founded as a separate institution, falling under municipal control from 1877.
Increasing financial pressure in the early years of the 20th century led to the society's landmark New Street building being demolished and rebuilt as part of a commercial redevelopment, and in 2000 the society left the site completely, relocating to a converted warehouse near St Paul's Square in the Jewellery Quarter (grid reference SP063874). This is now known as the RBSA Gallery, and was opened by Charles, Prince of Wales, on 12 April 2000.
Many of the Society's presidents were notable artists. They include:
- 1842Sir Martin Archer Shee, PRA–1849 –
- 1850Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, PRA–1865 –
- 1866Sir Francis Grant, PRA–1878 –
- 1879Sir Frederick Leighton, Bart., PRA–1880 –
- 1881Sir John Everett Millais, Bart., PRA–1882 –
- 1883Lawrence Alma-Tadema, RA–1884 –
- 1885Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Bart.–1886 –
- 1887George Frederick Watts, RA–1888 –
- 1889Sir Frederick Leighton, Bart., PRA–1890 –
- 1891William Quiller Orchardson, RA–1892 –
- 1893Professor Hubert von Herkomer, RA–1894 –
- 1895Lawrence Alma-Tadema, RA–1896 –
- 1897Sir Edward Poynter, PRA–1898 –
- 1899Sir William Blake Richmond, KCB, DCL, RA–1900 –
- 1901Edwin Abbey, RA–1902 –
- 1903Valentine Cameron Prinsep, RA–1904 –
- 1905Sir Aston Webb, RA–1906 –
- 1907Sir Ernest Waterlow, RA, PRWS–1908 –
- 1909Edward John Gregory, RA, PRI –
- 1910Sir George Frampton, RA, LLD, FSA–1914 –
- 1915Alfred Drury, RA–1924 –
- 1925Frank Brangwyn, RA–1926 –
- 1927William John Wainwright, RWS–1931 –
- 1931J.V. Jelley–1935 –
- 1935Edward S. Harper–1939 –
- 1939Joseph Southall (died in post, 1944)–1945 –
- 1945Charles Wheeler, RA–1948 – 
- 1948William Bloye, FRBS–1950 –
- 1950Bernard Fleetwood-Walker, ARA, RWS, ROI, RP, NEAC–1952 – 
- 1952Henry Rushbury, RA, RWS, RE–1953 – 
- 1953Harold Holden, RWS, ARCA (Lond.)–1955 – 
- 1956Holland W. Hobbiss, FRIBA–1958 – 
- 1958Leonard Ward, RI, ARCamA–1960 –
- 1960Herbert Jackson, FRIBA–1962 –
- 1962George Monkhouse, FCIS–1964 –
- 1964C. Harry Adams, SSI–1966 –
- 1966Douglas Perry–1971 –
- 1971Jack Metson–1973 –
- 1973Bruce Hurn–1974 –
- 1974James Priddey–1978 –
- 1978Joan Elizabeth Woollard–1980 –
- 1980Peter Gross–1983 –
- 1983W. Alex Jackson–1987 –
- 1987C.A. Sawbridge–1992 –
- 1992Ernest Horton–1995 –
- 1995Marylane Barfield–2001 –
- 2001Roger Forbes–2003 –
The RBSA continues its core activities today as an independent society promoting artists in the Birmingham area and exhibiting their work. It also runs a series of demonstrations, as well as adult and family friendly workshops and school programmes. The Society also has a permanent collection of over 600 works, including pieces by illustrious figures from its past such as David Cox and Edward Burne-Jones.
Artists can apply to become 'Associates', subject to majority vote by existing members. Active associates may then apply to become 'members', again subject to a majority vote.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.|
- Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, Registered Charity no. 528894 at the Charity Commission
- "About us". RBSA. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- Hill, Joseph; Harper, Edward S.; Midgley, William (1929). "Birmingham Art in its early days". The history of the Royal Birmingham Sociey of Artists, with a Chapter of personal reminiscence by Edward S. Harper. Birmingham: Cornish Brothers.
- Exhibition Catalogue, ‘Birmingham Academy of Arts First Exhibition , At a Temporary Room in Union Street’ exhibition catalogue, Birmingham, Birmingham Academy of Arts, 1814, Archive of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, Birmingham.
- Commemorative slate plaque in gallery.
- Anon (1948). Royal Birmingham Society of Artists Autumn Exhibition 1948 (catalogue). RBSA.
- Anon (1933). The Spring Exhibition, 1933 (catalogue). RBSA.
- Anon (1946). The Autumn Exhibition, 1946 (catalogue). RBSA.
- Anon (1950). The Autumn Exhibition, 1950 (catalogue). RBSA.
- Anon (1952). The Spring Exhibition, 1952 (catalogue). RBSA.
- Anon (1952). The Autumn Exhibition, 1952 (catalogue). RBSA.
- Anon (1954). The Spring Exhibition, 1954 (catalogue). RBSA.
- Anon (1955). The Autumn Exhibition, 1955 (catalogue). RBSA.
- Anon (1956). The Spring Exhibition, 1956 (catalogue). RBSA.
- Anon (1958). The Autumn Exhibition, 1958 (catalogue). RBSA.
- The Making of Birmingham: Being a History of the Rise and Growth of the Midland Metropolis, Robert K. Dent, Published by J. L. Allday, 1894
- Buildings of England: Warwickshire, Nikolaus Pevsner and Alexandra Wedgwood, 1966, 1974, ISBN 0-14-071031-0