The Royal Cambrian Academy, founded by Queen Victoria in 1881, is a centre for creative excellence in Wales. Its goals are to show work by Academy members, to encourage up and coming artists of merit, to organise historical exhibits, and to provide a vibrant forum for teaching.
North Wales was home to the first artists’ colony in the United Kingdom in the late nineteenth century. It sprang from David Cox’s summer visits to Betws-y-Coed between 1844 and 1856. By 1881, the Conwy Valley had reached the pinnacle of its renown as a haven and retreat for both professional and amateur painters. The promise of seeing artists at work drew a large number of tourists, and as a result, the coastal town of Llandudno developed as a centre for the selling of many such paintings.
The seven men who founded the Academy were all fans of the artists’ colony, the most of whom were originally from the north west of England, where Betws-y-Coed had become readily accessible by rail.