I was asked on Tuesday evening at our lenders’ dinner for Charles I about the origins of the two very distinctive Royal Academy toasts – the first to Our Patron, Protector and Supporter, Her Majesty the Queen and the second, more unusually, ‘Honor and Glory to the Next Exhibition.

Of course, I didn’t know.   But Mark Pomeroy, our excellent archivist, has been able to supply the answer:-

The earliest recorded list of toasts comes from Council minutes in 1785:  The King, The Queen, Prince of Wales & rest of the Royal Family, The Duc de Chartres & the rest of the Noblemen & Gentlemen who have honoured us with their presence , Lord Mayor and the City of London, Sr. Jos. Banks and the Royal Society, Lord Leicester and the Antiquarian Society, Prosperity to the Royal Academy, The Council.  References to Patron, Protector & Supporter and Honor & Glory in the secondary literature often append the term “ancient” and there is little reason to doubt that the formulation predates written evidence.  The King describes himself as ‘Patron, Protector and Supporter’ at the head of the Instrument of Foundation and this terminology is likely to have been adopted for the King’s toast at early Academy dinners.  As for ‘Honor & Glory’, this may well pre-date the Academy itself.   It is bi-partisan in tone, privileging neither the Academist party nor the Hogarthians and could, perhaps, date from the Society of Artists of Great Britain’s St. Luke’s Day dinners.


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