The Arts Club
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|Type||The Arts, Literature & Science|
|Sir Peter Blake|
The Arts Club is a London private members club founded in 1863 by, amongst others, Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and Lord Leighton in Dover Street, Mayfair. It remains a meeting place for men and women involved in the creative arts either professionally or as patrons.
The Arts Club was a hub of the arts during the 19th century and, although a social venue, it was known to be a place where influence could be exerted and careers developed. It was seen as the powerhouse behind the dealings of the Royal Academy. Its members and guests included Dickens, Millais, Whistler, Kipling, Monet, Rodin, Degas and Turgenev. As early as 1891, James Whistler, one of the Arts Club's leading members, broke away to found the rival Chelsea Arts Club.
The Arts Club has continued to provide a forum and meeting place for those involved in all the arts. The visual arts predominate the professional artists amongst today's membership; the vast majority of Royal Academicians still present amongst the members. Members not professionally active as artists include art dealers, gallery owners, artists' agents, as well as those who simply have an amateur or recreational interest in the arts.
Various scandals undermined the club during the last century, including the disappearance of the club's extensive collection of first-edition books and silver during refurbishments (the crates when opened were full of bricks) as well as fifty artworks from its collection.
The Club was completely refurbished in 2011/12.
The original club premises were at 17 Hanover Square, Mayfair. After thirty years there, the club moved nearby to its current accommodation, an 18th-century townhouse at 40 Dover Street, Mayfair, just north of the Ritz Hotel on Piccadilly, formerly the London home of the family of the Baron Stanley of Alderley. It was badly bombed in the Blitz and extensively rebuilt.
Current membership includes a number of Royal Academicians, architects, musicians, actors and writers. HRH Prince Philip is the Patron and Sir Peter Blake is the President of the Club. The Chairman of the Club is Gary Landesberg and the Chief Operating Officer is Remy Lyse. Current members include Grayson Perry, the photographer Tom Hunter, the actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Kim Cattrall and also Ronnie Wood. Well known 'non-artist' members include Richard Attenborough, Matthew Parris, and Henry Blofeld.
There are regular activities, recitals and lectures. The Arts Club operates a smart dress code. Membership requirements are a participation or interest in art, literature or science. Members must be proposed and seconded by existing members.
As of 2012, the Club has no reciprocal clubs in the UK. However, a number of clubs outside the UK of similar character and prestige have reciprocal arrangements, including the Cercle de l'Union interalliée in Paris, The Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, the St. Botolph and Algonquin Clubs in Boston, the Cosmos Club in Washington DC, the Arts Club of Chicago and the Arts Club of Washington DC, and the Century Association, The Coffee House, National Arts Club and Salmagundi Club in New York.
- Rogers, G. A. F. The Arts Club and its members (London: Truslove and Hanson, 1920).
- Lejeune, Anthony (1979). The Gentlemen's Clubs of London. London: MacDonald and Jane's. ISBN 0-354-08504-2.
- Denvir, Bernard (1989). A Most Agreeable Society: A Hundred and Twenty-Five Years of the Arts Club. London: The Arts Club. ISBN 1-85170-323-3.