The Society of Artists

In clearing out the sculpture store in the basement of Burlington Gardens, our collections staff discovered a cache of papers described as Artists’ Memorabilia.   They alerted our archivist.   It included the Roll of Obligation of the Society of Artists, the antecedent body which broke up in a succession of disputes as to how it was run, prompting a small group of four, led by William Chambers, going to see George III to establish the Royal Academy.   The Roll of Obligation hasn’t been seen or known to scholars since the 1920s.   It includes Chambers’s name and those of all the rebels scratched out in high dudgeon when they left the Society.   Reynolds’s name is a long way down the list:-

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Gainsborough is higher up:-

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Chambers has been crossed out, but Stubbs remained loyal to the Society:-

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