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The Academicians

JOHAN ZOFFANY (1733/4–1810)

Zoffany’s image shows the ‘back-of-house’ clutter and the intellectual dignity of working artists, where fine gentlemen sit on packing cases and converse with polish and good humour.

The key below identifies all of the figures in the painting:

Johan Zoffany, The Academicians of the Royal Academy, 1772, RCIN 400747©


Unless otherwise stated, artists are founder members of the Academy:

  1. John Gwynn (1713–86), architect
  2. Giovanni Battista Cipriani (1727–85), painter
  3. Benjamin West (1738–1820), given a posture resembling his heroic history paintings andderived from the standing figure at the left foreground of the School of Athens; given prominence as an artist favoured by the King
  4. Johan Zoffany, as if introducing his work, made RA by royal nomination in 1769
  5. Mason Chamberlin (1727–87), portrait painter
  6. Tan-che-qua, Chinese artist visiting London
  7. George Barret (1732–84), landscape painter
  8. Joseph Wilton (1722–1803), sculptor
  9. Jeremiah Meyer (1735–89), miniature painter
  10. Dominic Serres (1719–93), marine painter
  11. The brothers Paul (1725–1809)
  12. and Thomas (1721–98) Sandby, behaving fraternally, the former wearing Windsor uniform, though the latter was Deputy Ranger of Windsor Great Park
  13. William Tyler (1728 –1801), sculptor and architect
  14. John Inigo Richards (1731 –1810), painter
  15. Francis Hayman (1708–76), popular painter of the St Martin’s Lane generation, resembling Falstaff from one of his own compositions
  16. Francis Milner Newton (1720–94), painter
  17. Sir William Chambers (1723–96), architect and treasurer of the Academy
  18. Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–92), first President
  19. William Hunter (1718–83), famous surgeon and Professor of Anatomy at the Academy
  20. Francesco Bartolozzi (1727–1815), engraver
  21. Agostino Carlini (c.1718–90), sculptor and painter
  22. Richard Wilson (1714–82), landscape painter; it was said that Zoffany painted and then removed a coat of arms of pipes and tankards to allude to Wilson’s drunkenness
  23. Charles Catton The Elder (1728–98), satirical painter appropriately adopting the pose of the Cynic, Diogenes, from Raphael’s School of Athens
  24. Richard Yeo (c.1720–79), medallist
  25. Samuel Wale (1721–86), painter
  26. Francesco Zuccarelli (1702–88), landscape painter given prominence as an artist favoured by the King
  27. Edward Penny (1714–91), painter
  28. Peter Toms (c.1728–77), painter
  29. George Michael Moser (1706–83), enamellist and Keeper of the Academy, here setting the model’s pose and holding the sling to support his hand in comfort
  30. Angelica Kauffmann (1741–1807), history painter, represented as a portrait hanging on the wall, as it was considered improper for a woman to attend the life school
  31. Mary Moser (1744–1819), flower painter, represented as a painting for the same reasons as the above
  32. Nathaniel Hone (1718–84), famously arrogant portrait painter given here a suitable swagger; his shadow across a canvas perhaps alludes to the supposed origin of painting (a Corinthian maid tracing her lover’s shadow)
  33. Edward Burch (1730–1814), miniature painter and gem-cutter elected in 1771
  34. Joseph Nollekens (1737–1823), sculptor elected in 1772
  35. Richard Cosway (1742–1821), flattering portrait painter and famous dandy, here looking the part and perhaps denigrating the antique with his cane, elected in 1771
  36. William Hoare (1707–92), portrait painter working in Bath

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.