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Royal Cambrian Academy


In the second half of the 19th Century, North Wales was home to the first Artists' colony in Britain. It emerged from the summer sojourns of the artist David Cox at Betws y Coed between 1844 and 1856 and by 1881, the Conwy Valley was famous as both a home and resort for a large number of artists.

Born out of a need for association with other artists,a desire for the cross-fertilisation of ideas and a gallery in which to display their work, a group of local artists met to consider the idea of " A Cambrian Academy of Art ".
By January 1882, the thirtyone founding members had been accepted and three months later, thanks to the influence of Mr Gladstone who obtained the patronage of Queen Victoria, "The Royal Cambrian Academy of Art " was born.

Thanks to the support of the then Lord Mostyn,the Academy found a home in Conwy in an old merchants house called Plas Mawr and it was to remain there for more than a hundred years In 1991 the Conwy tunnel was opened and that meant many changes for the everyone within the walls of Conwy. For the first time in many years, the easing of traffic congestion opened the town to visitors from far and wide. Discussions took place to open Plas Mawr, a fine example of an Elizabethan town house, to the public. A solution to a new home for the Academy was found by converting a disused chapel behind Plas Mawr into a purpose built gallery.

.In 1993, the Academy moved to its present home in Crown Lane, Conwy immediately behind Plas Mawr. Under the Leadership of its the president Sir Kyffin Williams, it set about preparing itself for the new millenium. New members were elected, many of them setting out on their artistic lives and in common with the world at large, new media, new techniques and new styles melded comfortably with the work of existing members.


Today in its 127th. year, the Royal Cambrian Academy has over one hundred artist members. Its new Patron is His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales and its President is the distinguished Royal Academician and Keeper of the Royal Academy Schools, Professor Maurice Cockrill. Its Gallery in Crown Lane Conwy has a continuous exhibition progamme of works by members, national and international touring exhibitions and open exhibitions where non-members get an opportunity to show their work and hopefully, sell it. The academy runs art classes and has an educational programme for schools.


Lovers of art and lovers of Welsh art in particular, have the opportunity to become more closely involved in the activities of the Royal Cambrian Academy by becoming " Friends of the RCA". Friends are invited to private viewings of all exhibitions, They can attend a regular series of talks by artists, art historians and curators of exhibitions. They are kept in touch with the activities of the Academy through its magazine CELF 125 which is published four times a year and take part in Friends outings to galleries and places of interest.


Visit the Royal Cambrian Academy's website at website link for details of current and future exhibitions or phone the gallery on 01492 593413.
Of particular interest in 2009, is a major exhibition of work by the Welsh artist Richard Wilson RA. The exhibition runs from 24th October until 23rd. December and will be accompanied by a sries of talks and events incuding a new catalogue of the artists work.

Finally, a visit to the gallery shop is a must for high quality gifts and cards for all occasions.

The Royal Cambrian Academy is a registered charity, No 219648

The Friends of the Royal Cambrian Academy is a registered charity, No 1114241

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