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Royal Society of Arts

The Oxford Companion to British History

J. A. Cannon

Royal Society of Arts. 

Founded in 1754 by William Shipley, a drawing-master from Northampton, supported by Viscount Folkestone and Lord Romney. Its objective was to ‘encourage Arts, Manufactures and Commerce’ and the method was to raise funds by subscription in order to award prizes for useful talents and inventions. The early members included *Johnson, *Goldsmith, *Hogarth, *Gibbon, *Pitt, *Chippendale, and *Banks. In 1774 it moved into the premises in the Adelphi, built by the *Adam brothers, which it has occupied ever since. The society was largely instrumental, with its patron Prince *Albert, in planning the *Great Exhibition of 1851. It holds meetings nationally and locally and publishes a journal.

J. A. Cannon