Royal Birmingham Society of Artists

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Royal Birmingham Society of Artists
The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists or RBSA is a learned society of artists and an art gallery based in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, England.

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, Vincent Barber and Charles Barber in Peck Lane (now the site of New Street Station) in 1809. 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 ). The two bronze plaques, 1919, are the earliest known Birmingham works of William Bloye.

Current activities
The RBSA continues its core activities today as an independent society promoting artists in the Birmingham area and exhibiting their work. The society also has a permanent collection of over 400 works, including pieces from illustrious figures from its past such as David Cox and Edward Burne-Jones.


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Building Activity

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