"To become an R.A. . . ." Illustrated London News 18.474 (15 Mar. 1851), 219.


To become an R. A. is the leading object of an artist’s life; it is his K.G. and G.C.B., and his "collar of Esses." To be one of forty chosen out of four thousand is no inconsiderable honour. But this is not all. The fact of his being an R. A. Gives him a position in society; he is admitted to the Athenaeum Club without going to the ballot; and at a Macready dinner has his seat on the daïs; and while all below is cold and poor, has his hot chickens, and his first-class champagne. Then, too, within his own walls in the National Gallery, he has a right, however bad his pictures may be, to his fortieth portion of the best space upon the walls. Ay, and he takes it, too; though at times he will do a generous act, and remove one of his own pictures to give a junior a chance. It is wonderful how soon he becomes a thorough-paced member of the body, though, while an outsider, he has been clamorous in the extreme against the Academy.

This document was scanned/transcribed from the original source.

Copyright © 1999 Thomas J. Tobin.

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