Memorial of the Royal Academy of Arts, London, London (1879)

Source: Royal Academy of Arts Archive.

Memorial of the Royal Academy of Arts, London, London (1879), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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Record-ID: uk_1879b

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Full title:
Memorial to Her Majesty’s Government by the Royal Academy of Arts, on the subject of the recommendations on Artistic Copyright in Paintings and Drawings contained in the Report of the Royal Commission on Copyright.

Full title original language:

The Memorial, presented to the Government by the Royal Academy of Arts in 1879, expresses opposition to the recommendations made in 1878 by the Royal Commission on Copyright, that copyright should be owned by the purchaser of a painting (such that copyright would pass with sale of the painting). In doing so, the Royal Academy asserted that ownership of copyright by the painter was ‘to the public interest’ and ‘for the benefit of the community’; the painter was best placed to control reproduction. The Memorial also discusses issues raised by replicas and portraits. Of interest, is the expansive definition of portraits: encompassing all cases where ‘voluntary sittings or permission for access’ are required, by on or behalf of the commissioner (p.70).

Commentary: No commentaries for this record.

  • Cooper, E., Art and Modern Copyright: The Contested Image (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018) p.137, p.143, p.148, p.165.

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Author: N/A

Publisher: N/A


Location: London

Language: English

Source: Royal Academy of Arts Archive.

Persons referred to:
Delabere Roberton Blaine
William Hogarth

Places referred to:
British dominions

Cases referred to:

Institutions referred to:
House of Commons
House of Lords
Royal Academy of Arts
Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce


Royal Academy of Arts
Royal Commission on Copyright
Society of Arts

Responsible editor: Elena Cooper

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Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900) is co-published by Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge, 10 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DZ, UK and CREATe, School of Law, University of Glasgow, 10 The Square, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK