United Kingdom

Queen's Road Clifton

Phone: 0117 973 5129
Fax: 0117 923 7874

Royal West Of England Academy

The Royal West of England Academy (RWA) is one of only five Royal Academies of Art in the UK. It is a registered charity which has been self-supporting for over 150 years and possesses an outstanding Grade II* listed building, galleries and permanent fine art collection. The RWA has HM Queen Elizabeth II as its patron.
Education is an important element in any gallery experience and the RWA aims to supply programmes that provide quality art education in the gallery environment for all levels of ability, age and understanding. More details about forthcoming events and the types of activities we offer can be found on the Education pages.
The RWA is an established venue for the fine arts and embraces an artistic awareness of the widest nature. The exhibition programme provides a showcase for one man and mixed exhibitions in a variety of media, which attract large numbers of visitors nation-wide.

 Permanent Collection Highlights (3)

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Permanent Collection

Ellen Sharples, benefactor of the Academy, bequeathed her large collection of paintings to the Academy in 1849. These paintings together with many paintings given to the Academy, during the latter part of the nineteenth century by its artist members, formed the beginnings of the RWA Permanent Collection. In the 1920s a number of these paintings were loaned to the City Art Gallery and in 1930 they were sold to the City.
In 1941 Augusta Talboys, an artist member, left a sum of money to the Academy so that the interest may be used to purchase works of art by artist members. These works of art now exceed 1000 and form the substantial part of this collection.
Over the years, a number of paintings and sculpture have been donated or bequeathed to the Academy by generous members and supporters.
Among the paintings in the collection are works by artists from the Newlyn, St Ives and Bloomsbury Schools. Paintings by George Swaish, Matthew Hale, Anne Redpath, Mary Fedden, Carel Weight, Bernard Dunstan and Elizabeth Blackadder are also valued additions to the collection.

Previous Exhibitions

Drawing Room, 7 - 22 January
An intriguing mix of drawings by over 80 RWAs.

Transitions, 5 February - 11 March
Drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture by over 50 artists from Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Art of The Stitch, 14 May - 18 June
A diverse range of contemporary work both stitched and derived from stitch.

British Art Show 6, 15 July - 17 September
A showcase of work by 50 artists living and working in Britain today.

Exhibitions (3)

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Forthcoming exhibitions

BP Portrait Award, 25 March - 20 May
Showcasing the very best in contemporary portraiture.

Committed to Print, 3 June - 22 July
Contemporary printmaking.

Tracing Light, 3 June - 22 July
Exploring the ambiguities of light through sculpture, print, photography, video and drawing.

President's Eye, 5 August - 9 September
A collection of works selected by current RWA President Derek Balmer.


Admission £3
Concession £2
Children Free

Opening hours

Monday - Saturday, 10am - 5.30pm
Sunday, 2 - 5pm

Getting there

The Academy is situated in the academic heart of Bristol where Queens Road meets Whiteladies Road.


Situated on Park Row, just a couple of minutes walk from the Academy, Bristol Fine Art offers all manner and type of artists' materials at affordable prices. Friendly staff will be happy to assist you and offer expert advice on an extensive range of products and techniques.
Bristol Fine Art is owned by RWA Enterprises Limited and the profits from the shop help support the activities of the Academy.

The RWA offers a range of gift products including fine quality cards, books and gift wrap. These items can be purchased at the Admissions Desk, which is open daily during exhibitions.
The RWA stocks a range of unique jewellery by members of the Association for Contemporary Jewellery. Displays change with each RWA exhibition and some may respond to the themes in the exhibitions. All pieces are uniquely crafted by local jewellers of national and international renown and make great gift ideas. Prices typically range from £20 - £350.

The RWA houses a Coffee shop which offers a variety of snacks as well as a selection of hot and cold beverages.
Opening hours: Mon - Sat 10.30 am - 3.30 pm

Museum internal and external photos (2)

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Group visits from schools, colleges, art groups and other organisations are welcomed and encouraged. All visitors under the age of 16 are admitted free of charge as are any accompanying teachers and members of staff as part of a school visit. College students and adult education groups are admitted at the concessionary rate. If you are planning a group visit to the Academy please contact the Administrator or the Marketing Officer to confirm your visit.


The Friends of the RWA have provided valuable support to the Royal West of England Academy since its foundation in 1844 to promote the visual arts.

Free Entry: to all exhibitions

Lectures, past lectures have been given by Shelagh Hardie MA, M Litt, Sonia Lawson RA, Robert Maxwell-Wood, Susan Macfarlane and Peter Reddick RWA. Subjects have included Conservation of Paintings, Russian Art, Turner and Urban Design.

RWA Friends Magazine, The Magazine is published three times annually. It contains profiles of artists, articles on topical matters, a programme of Friends and RWA events as well as listings.

Trips, past visits overseas have included: Holland, Paris, Barcelona and Estonia. Day visits have included Oxford, Tate Modern, Exeter and Cardiff.

A chance to exhibit work in Friends Exhibitions

Discounted Rates for submissions to the RWA Autumn Exhibition.

Discounts for the art supplies from Bristol Fine Art

Private View Invitations, Private View cards admit two people to all RWA exhibitions.

Mailings, there are approximately eight mailings each year to Friends, which will keep you informed of forthcoming events.

Social Events, The Friends host a number of social & educational events each year.

People, a chance to meet people with similar interests.Support from the Friends of the RWA is invaluable in developing a challenging exhibition programme and maintaining the fabric of the buildings. By joining the Friends you will be able to help the RWA in its role of promoting the visual arts in the Southwest.For further details of membership please see the Contact the RWA page.+ [ Read all ]


The Academy acknowledges the importance of partnerships with business and the community and aims to forge new links and strengthen existing relationships with both public and private sectors.
The RWA encourages sponsorship of exhibitions, catalogues, transportation and awards to artists. In return for financial support the RWA is able to offer promotional space for a company logo on exhibition catalogues and posters, and other benefits. All publicity materials containing sponsors logos are widely distributed both before and during exhibitions.
Business and art societies are also encouraged to support / provide awards for artists, these can be cash awards or awards in kind.

Venue hire

The RWA offers you the opportunity to entertain your staff and clients or to hold lectures, meetings, launches and receptions in the magnificent RWA building with the exhibition acting as a unique backdrop. Hosting special events at the Academy provides an ideal opportunity to entertain in an environment that is memorable, historical and impressive. The galleries are available for hire throughout the year and always prove to be an extremely adaptable space for numerous uses.
The central location of the Academy makes it the ideal venue in which to host corporate events. It can be reached easily from both the M5 and M4 making it an accessible meeting point for the whole of the Southwest and London areas.
The Academy can accommodate a maximum:
350 guests for an evening reception
150 guests for a dinner
The RWA has generous kitchen space for use by caterers for dinners or receptions. A list of caterers can be provided on request.
Further information on hiring the galleries is available from the Academy Administrator.