Architectural Education

I was asked yesterday what impact the Royal Academy Schools had on architectural education.   The short answer was that I don’t know.   Thomas Sandby RA was the first Professor of Architecture and held the post for thirty years from 1768 to 1798.   What did he teach ?  According to the Instrument of Foundation, he was ‘required to read annually six public Lectures, calculated to form the taste of the Students, to instruct them in the laws and principles of architectural composition, to point out to them the beauties or faults of celebrated productions, to fit them for an unprejudiced study of books, and for a critical examination of structures’.   This is quite a challenging brief, presumably written by William Chambers on the basis of his experience of teaching in Paris.  Sandby gave his first series of six lectures in 1770, illustrated by his drawings.   There is one copy in the RIBA and another in the Soane Museum (and they were the subject of a recent research paper by Sigrid de Jong at the RA which I missedp).   Soane was amongst the first pupils in the Schools, admitted as a student in October 1771.  So, the long answer is that it introduced the first system of semi-professional training in architectural drawing and the critical examination of buildings.

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