We had a party the night before last in the Life Room of the Royal Academy Schools. I found myself trying to explain what is special about it. It’s nothing to do with the architecture of the space, which is utilitarian mid-Victorian, part of the undercroft of the Royal Academy. It is more due to its continuous use, the generations of students who have been taught to draw from the living model. It is also due to the absence of any self-conscious reverence for the room’s history: it has been battered and used by generations of students. This is increasingly rare in historic interiors. They are preserved and protected and coddled, but not used. And then there is the ghost of previous studios: the time when the drawing studio was in the dome of the National Gallery; before that, in Somerset House; before that, in Pall Mall; and originally, in an alleyway off St. Martin’s Lane. The room contains the memory of previous students, flicking bread at one another, and of previous spaces, back to Bologna and the Academy of St. Luke’s in Rome.