Under a bright blue evening sky reminiscent of Yves Klein
, I walked into the stately site of the Royal Academy of Arts, which provides a most sublime setting for the fair. Founded in 1768 by King George III himself, the Royal Academy—the “RA”—has a history filled with rich educational and creative purpose. For a long time the only art school in the United Kingdom, and long before the YBA
takeover on the UK contemporary scene in such ambitious exhibitions as the 1997 “Sensation,” the RA School boasted a roster of more old-school English celebs such as painter J.M.W. Turner
and the architect Sir John Soane, among others. The constellation of the Royal Academy of Arts of London is illuminated by names of hundreds of members (“Royal Academicians”), art stars that have changed the game within the course of art history. This is why it is no surprise that turning off of the bustling promenade of Piccadilly into the quiet cloister of Burlington House where the RA is housed inspires a sense of awe. The sheer scale of the central courtyard dwarfs any visitor and hums with the gorgeous spectre of regality, a reminder of days of yore.