Royal Drawing School receives official title from The Queen

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The Prince of Wales calls the art form “a primary language of all human beings” during this week’s renaming announcement

The Prince of Wales at the newly-renamed Royal Drawing School. Photo: © Charles Gervais

The Prince of Wales has announced that the drawing school he founded in 2000 has been granted the right by HM The Queen to term itself the Royal Drawing School. It joins a select group of arts institutions bearing the title, which was first given to the Royal Academy by the prince’s ancestor George III in 1768. The only other arts educational establishment to be so named by the Queen is the Royal Ballet School in 1956.

Announcing the renaming on Tuesday, 18 November, the Prince said: “I feel proud that we have come this far because I’m increasingly convinced of the need for a drawing school as a permanent part of the UK’s educational resources. There isn’t another one in Europe, and we are being sought out by students from all over the world. Drawing is one of the most direct ways of engaging with the world… it is a primary language of all human beings.”

The impact of the prince’s initiative, launched at a time when the teaching of drawing was out of fashion, was underlined by the president of the Royal Academy, Christopher Le Brun. “The school has filled a gap in the landscape of the fine arts,” said after the announcement, “because drawing is the link between painting, sculpture, and architecture. The school also reawakened the importance of drawing in art schools.”

What started as a small teaching studio with 40 students has grown into a network of five space across London including Drawing School Central, a 3,000 sq foot studio space on London’s Oxford Street, donated by the Weston family. A studio block at Scotland’s Dumfries House, another of the Prince’s charities, is run in collaboration with the Glasgow School of Art; and exchange programmes have also been established with the Yale University School of Art, the New York Academy of Art and the New York Studio School.

There is no government or public funding for the school. The annual running costs of around £2m-2.5m are largely covered by fundraising and the school is currently looking to raise a £25m endowment, which according to the chairman of the trustees, Howard Marks, the co-founder of Oaktree Capital Management, “will secure the financial future of the school”.

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