March 2021


Welcome to The Arts Society Harpenden Evening
Wednesday, March 17, 2021 - 19:30

The history of Burlington House and its association with the Royal Academy

Burlington House on London’s Piccadilly has been the home of the Royal Academy of Arts since 1868. Although the Academy was already 100 years old when it took up residence, it is not commonly known that the building has a long and fascinating history of its own. This talk focuses on the origins of Burlington House, from construction in the 1660’s for a courtier to King Charles II; re-fashioning as a Palladian mansion for Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington; its association with architects and artists such as William Kent and Sebastiano Ricci; further re-development by the Cavendish family during the Regency period, and its ultimate role as the home of the United Kingdom's leading 'society for promoting the Arts of Design'.
The talk also examines the reasons behind the founding of the Royal Academy, its own early history and its Olympian era during the time of eminent Victorian artists.


Mr Stephen Richardson

An art historian with a particular interest in the art and architecture of the Georgian period. Holds a Masters Degree in Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors from UCL and has published a number of articles on country house visiting, which is a favourite pastime. Has lectured extensively for organisations such as WI, U3A, WEA, Probus and The National Trust, and has experience as a cruise lecturer. In 2016 he undertook a lecture tour of Australia for ADFAS. He is a guide at both the Royal Academy of Arts and at the V&A, where he describes himself as a 'creature' of the British Galleries. Can travel from London or the West Midlands.