The Royal Academy's popular Summer Exhibition has been an annual event since 1769. Today, about 1,000 works are selected each year from more than 10,000 entries, representing some 5,000 artists. The resulting exhibition includes paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, architectural design, and models, and continues to be the largest open exhibition in the UK.
The Royal Academy Illustrated, first published in the 1870s, presents the highlights of each year's show and is a fascinating barometer of changing artistic tastes. About 180 works are illustrated, accompanied by installation shots of the galleries that reveal the individual nature of each year's show. These photographs, together with commentaries on the works by the exhibition coordinators, make this a handsome and informative record of this most popular show.