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Title: The role of the Royal Academy in English art, 1918-1930
Author: Cowdell, Theophilus Paul
Awarding Body: Sheffield City Polytechnic
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 1980
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The Royal Academy's promotion of the 'Arts of Design', the education of its students and its annual exhibitions have been subject to many forms of criticism. Despite the absorption of many older avant-garde figures into its membership the Academy maintained a conservative reputation. During and after the Great War, the Academy and its members were involved in many forms of activities which gave indirect support to the war effort and commemorated the nation's achievements. The Academy introduced a policy of international exhibitions and was regarded abroad as an important representative of British art. The Royal Fine Arts Commission was largely the result of the Royal Academy's initiative, and the Academy contributed to the general post-war interest in mural painting and the decorative arts. The Royal Academy Schools, having recovered from the war, adopted a more liberal policy of education during the keepership of Charles Sims between 1920 and 1926. The scheme for a Royal Academy State School of Art was never adopted, but Sims made a number of changes within the Academy Schools which gave more freedom to the individual student. During Sir Frank Dicksee's presidency, however, the Schools were criticised from within the institution and after 1926 returned to a more traditional art-training, in competition with the Royal College of Art and the Slade School. The extent of the Royal Academy's artistic conservatism is assessed by an analysis of the Diploma Works deposited by Academicians and the Chantrey Bequest purchases made during the period. The Burlington House Summer Exhibitions were also deemed conservative despite attempts at introducing a more liberal exhibition policy between 1920 and 1927. The dominating realism of Royal Academy work during the 1920s may be seen as a twentieth century development of academic practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available