The Royal Academy Schools Receives £10m Gift to Guarantee its Future

The Royal Academy of Arts has announced that the Royal Academy Schools, the postgraduate art school at the heart of the Royal Academy, has received a major gift of £10m from Julia and Hans Rausing. This generous donation is the most significant gift in the 250-year history of the RA Schools, enabling a vital renewal project to ensure the future of the world-renowned institution. In recognition of this gift, the RA Schools buildings will be called The Julia and Hans Rausing Campus. Designed by Sir David Chipperfield CBE RA, who recently completed the Royal Academy’s transformative redevelopment, together with Julian Harrap, the project will preserve the heritage of the RA Schools and ensure it remains at the forefront of art education.

Founded in 1769, the RA Schools is the oldest art school in Britain and celebrates its 250th anniversary this year. It offers up to 17 artists each year the opportunity to undertake a free, three-year, postgraduate programme. It remains free thanks to the generosity of its supporters.

The RA Schools’ famous alumni include JMW Turner RA, John Constable RA, Sir John Soane and William Blake to twentieth century artists John Hoyland RA, Richard Hamilton, Sir Anthony Caro RA and Sandra Blow RA. More recent graduates include Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Matthew Darbyshire, Catherine Story and Eddie Peake.

This restoration and renewal project will ensure the RA Schools continues to provide an exceptional contemporary postgraduate art education. The renewal project will begin in 2021. It will create a campus with increased space for studios, including a new suite of workshops in Burlington Gardens. The historic Sydney Smirke studios, Cast Corridor and Life Room, built in 1870, will be restored to maximise space and light.  There will be a new suite of technical workshops to support all technologies and a new RA Schools Library. The architecture studio will be renewed and the layout improved for access for students and tutors.

Julia and Hans Rausing said: “The RA Schools have produced some of the world’s most famous artists since their inception 250 years ago. It was founded to develop the brightest young artists based on merit. The RA Schools remain free and independent today and our gift allows for the restoration of the fabric of the building and its survival for future generations of artists.”

Christopher Le Brun, President of the Royal Academy of Arts said: “One of the founding purposes of the Royal Academy was to provide a school of art to train the next generation of artists. 250 years later, the Royal Academy Schools is one of the best in the world. This major gift from Julia and Hans Rausing will ensure its success for the next 250 years”.

Rebecca Salter RA, Keeper of the Royal Academy, said: “With the opening of Burlington Gardens in 2018, the position of the historic RA Schools at the heart of the Academy was revealed to the wider public for the first time. With this generous gift from Julia and Hans Rausing we will be able to renew and restore our campus so that the RA Schools can continue to attract the most talented students who will then go on to contribute in many ways to the artistic life of the UK and beyond. We value our history as a foundation of the future.”

Eliza Bonham Carter, Curator and Head of the Royal Academy Schools, said: “The RA Schools provides young artists space and time to germinate the art of the future. This remarkable gift gives us the opportunity to ensure our studios and workshops are fit for the next 250 years.”

In December 2018, Julia and Hans Rausing gave a major donation of £2.5m, the closing gift to the Royal Academy’s recent transformational redevelopment. In acknowledgment of this gift, the new public route linking Burlington House to Burlington Gardens was renamed The Julia and Hans Rausing Hall. Their total donation is £12.5m.

Julia and Hans Rausing’s most recent gift to the RA Schools marks the start of the RA’s new campaign for The Future Academy. The campaign will protect the RA’s independence as an artist-led Academy, ensuring that the RA continues to evolve and innovate for the next 250 years.