At the same time that we have been preparing Issue 8 of BAS for publication, many of us have also been working on a new peer-reviewed digital publication: The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: A Chronicle, 1769–2018. The RA Chronicle is a completely free and open access resource, which explores the history of the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London – the world’s longest-running annual exhibition of contemporary art, founded in 1769.


Essays examining key artists, artworks, and events from each individual year’s Exhibition are paired with 250 digitised and searchable copies of the accompanying exhibition catalogues. The Chronicle also presents year-by-year data about audience attendance, the number of male and female exhibitors, number of works exhibited, genres on display, and ratio between academician and non-academician exhibitors. This repository of original research and primary source material is intended to shine new light on British art, its exhibition histories, and its publics, and to encourage further innovative study.


Over 90 scholars, curators, artists, and critics have contributed to the Chronicle. Even such a large and comprehensive project cannot capture a complete history, but through collaboration and the publication of this resource, we intend to enable researchers to find out new facts, to research previously hidden histories, and offer new art historical interpretations. We hope you will enjoy exploring this new publication at


Figure 1.
Introductory film, The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: A Chronicle, 1769–2018, 2018.

Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.


British Art Studies Editorial Group
08 June 2018
Review status
Not Peer Reviewed
CC BY-NC International 4.0
PDF format
Article DOI
Cite as
British Art Studies Editorial Group, "Editorial", British Art Studies, Issue 8,