The Royal Academy of Arts was founded in 1768 by George III after talks with one of the leading painters at that time, Sir Joshua Reynolds.
There was to be a president and forty academicians and the Academy was to hold regular exhibitions of art, which had to include not only members work but contribution from outside bodies as well.
Not long after it was set up the Academy instituted its own school which acted as an enormous encouragement to young artists whatever their background.
The King selected 36 out of the 40 members which included the famous landscape and portrait painter, Thomas Gainsborough.
He made Sir Joshua Reynolds the first president and held the position until his death in 1792.