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The Great Spectacle: 250 Years of the Summer Exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts [London]

Ramsgate, a seaside resort on the Kentish coast, became accessible for day trips from London in the 1840s as a result of the development of the railways. In Frith’s picture children building sandcastles and fashionably dressed young ladies appear alongs
Ramsgate Sands (Life at the Seaside) ©

On the occasion of the 250th Anniversary of the Royal Academy, The Great Spectacle will be mounted to celebrate the history of the Summer Exhibition, as the world's longest running annual display of contemporary art. The exhibition of Lady Butler's The Roll Call in 1874 - currently on loan from the Royal Collection - was on the most momentous in the Academy's history, as unprecedented crowds flocked to see the painting, which had to be protected by a policeman. William Powell Frith's Ramsgate Sands - also loaned for this exhibition - was exhibited in 1854, and is representative of the sort of detailed, narrative painting that audiences at the Royal Academy particularly admired. 

Rooms and locations with objects on display