Originally known as the Society of Painter-Etchers, the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers (RE) was founded by Francis Seymour Haden in 1880 in reaction to the Royal Academy of Arts' reluctance to exhibit etchings and engravings.
We received our Royal Charter from Queen Victoria in 1888 and became the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers. Although we changed our name in 1991 to embrace a broader range of printmaking practices, we have retained the abbreviation RE to this day as both our identity and the qualifying letters that follow an elected member's name.
Some of our eminent past members have included Graham Sutherland, Stanley William Hayter, Edward Bawden, Julian Trevelyan and Michael Rothenstein. We are extremely proud of our history, but printmaking is a dynamic and protean pursuit and the current membership contains some of the most innovative and creative artists working in every print-based medium imaginable.
In 2018 we held an exhibition called 'Print REbels: Haden, Palmer, Whistler and the Origins of the RE' to mark 200 years since the birth of Sir Francis Seymour Haden. The exhibition was held at Bankside Gallery and toured to Marlborough, Cheltenham, Cambridge, Devon and Aberystwyth.
An accompanying 346 page catalogue was published, which is available for puchase at £30 from the Bankside Gallery bookshop, or by mail order. Please call 0207 928 7521 to purchase.
THE DIPLOMA COLLECTION
Since its inception, every member has had one piece of work selected, providing a snapshot of the artist's portfolio at the moment of his or her election. The significance of this collection increases annually and it is available to view at its home in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.