15 Royal Academy Summer exhibition posters

The annual Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in Burlington House, London, is a British institution. First held in 1769, the exhibition has taken place every year since without exception. The eclectic mix of paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, architectural designs and models continues to draw huge crowds during the summer months and is the most popular open art exhibition in the United Kingdom.

RA Summer Exhibition poster, 1960

Initially, the exhibition was promoted by little more than printed notices bearing the Royal Arms and the dates of the show. But from the mid-1960s, the Academy decreed that each exhibition should have its own poster specially designed by a Royal Academician. This decision has resulted in a legacy of posters by some of Britain’s most famous artists.

For the first thirty years of the scheme, the posters were often a collaboration between the artist and renowned print maker Gordon House (of the Kelpra Press), who oversaw the layout and printing. Each design was originally printed in double crown format (30 x 20 inches), and some have been republished recently by the Royal Academy in a wider variety of sizes for sale in the gallery’s shop. The Academy has also published a superb book on the subject, Posters: A Century of Summer Exhibitions at the Royal Academy, written by Mark Pomeroy (2015).

The posters featured below are all original editions, printed at the stated date, and available to buy from Twentieth Century Posters. We only have one copy of each. Please click on an image for more details.

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition poster, 1969

 Edward Bawden, 1968

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition poster, 1969

Edward Ardizzone, 1969 

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition poster, 1971

 Leonard Rosoman, 1971Royal Academy Summer Exhibition poster, 1972

John Ward, 1972

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition poster, 1973

Anthony Green, 1973

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition poster, 1974

Betty Swanwick, 1974

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition poster, 1975

Peter Blake, 1975

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition poster, 1976

Eduardo Paolozzi, 1976 

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition poster, 1977

Hugh Casson, 1977 

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition poster, 1978

Donald Hamilton Fraser, 1978

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition poster, 1980

Philip Sutton, 1980

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition poster, 1983

Allen Jones, 1983

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition poster, 1988

Paul Hogarth, 1986

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition poster, 1993

Sonia Lawson, 1993

 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition poster, 1997

John Hoyland, 1997

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