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The Meeting, Royal Academy of Arts

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© National Portrait Gallery, London

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The Meeting, Royal Academy of Arts

by Leonard Rosoman
acrylic on canvas, 1979-1984
60 in. x 60 in. (1524 mm x 1524 mm)
Purchased, 1984
Primary Collection
NPG 5740

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This portrait depicts members and employees of the Royal Academy of Art. Founded in 1768 and under royal patronage, the Academy is a self-selecting, self-governing body that provides a teaching school and exhibition space. Regarded as a bastion of the establishment, it is now renowned for the temporary exhibitions that it hosts.
Rosoman studied at the Royal Academy and the Central Schools of Art. He was appointed official war artist to the Admiralty between 1943 and 1945, and became a Royal Academician in 1970.

From the bottom left corner clockwise the sitters are: Robert Buhler (1916-89), painter; Sir Philip Powell (1921-2003), architect; Michael Rothenstein (1908-93), painter & print-maker; Bernard Dunstan (b.1920), painter; James Butler (b.1931), sculptor; Norman Hepple (1908-94), painter; Sydney Harpley (1927-92), sculptor; Piers Rodgers (b.1944), Secretary of the Royal Academy; Colin Hayes (1919-2003), painter; Dame Elisabeth Frink (1930-93), sculptor; Peter Greenham (1909-92), Keeper, Royal Academy Schools; Sir Richard Sheppard (1910-82), architect; Maureen Harris (b.1951), Secretary, Friends of the Royal Academy; Griselda Hamilton-Baillie (b.1950), Director, Royal Academy Appeal Trust; Trevor Dannatt (b.1920), architect: Sir Hugh Casson (1910-99), architect and President of the Royal Academy 1971-84; Sidney Hutchison (1912-2000), Honourable Archivist at the Royal Academy; Sir Roger de Grey (1918-95), painter and President of the Royal Academy 1984-93; Constance-Anne Parker (b.1921), Royal Academy Librarian.

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Current affairs

Margaret Thatcher becomes the first woman Prime Minster. She came to power with the electoral slogan, 'Labour isn't working', and set about her aim to reverse Britain's economic decline by reducing the role of the state in the economy and championing entrepreneurship and the free market.

Art and science

Monty Python's Life Of Brian, is released causing controversy, but gaining box-office success and classic status. The film is in many ways a classic farce, with much of its humour deriving from the mistaken identity of the protagonist, Brian Cohen. But, as his mother tells us: 'He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy.'


Mother Teresa is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 'for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitute a threat to peace.' Mother Theresa established the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India; an organisation that pledged to give 'Wholehearted and Free service to the poorest of the poor.'
Soviet troops invade Afghanistan and begin a 10-year occupation, resisted by Mujaheddin Afghan guerrilla fighters.

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