The week before the Summer Exhibition
opens its doors to the public is a busy time at the Royal Academy.
The first official event in a week rich with traditions old and new is Non-Members Varnishing Day, a uniquely colourful and festive occasion.
Historically, it was the day that exhibitors in the show who were not Royal Academicians could come in and put the finishing touches to their works. Now, it sees a steel band leading a procession from the Courtyard to St James’s Piccadilly for a traditional church service, followed by a reception in the exhibition's galleries.
In the film below, Royal Academician Ken Howard tells us why it's his favourite RA event and three first-time exhibitors explain what it feels like to be in the show: