Historically Varnishing Day was a last chance for artists to view and varnish their work, before the exhibition opened to the public. Turner famously made substantial amendments to his paintings.
I didn’t see anyone modifying their work today, but many participants had turned out to celebrate the occasion. A steel band stopped traffic on Piccadilly to lead the procession to St. James’ Church, where the priest of nearby St. Martin in the Fields preached about prophets, priests and kings and how artists can fit these roles. Impressive that he empathised with another group in this way and called them to be leaders!
There was a real air of excitement back at the Royal Academy for the private view and prize giving. The committee had made a thoughtful and creative hang, and the show looked impressive. I was pleased to spot my print at eye level in Room 1.
The open submission exhibition has been running since 1769. It is held annually at the Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly, and is open to the public.
Below are some photographs I took at this year’s Varnishing Day…
The show continues until August 17.