Victorian London - Entertainment and Recreation - Museums, Public Buildings and Galleries - British Institution

[aka. Shakespeare Gallery, aka Boydell Gallery, closed 1867, demolished 1868, ed.]

British Institution ... Of the exhibitions that take place here, the first, which consists of the pictures of modern artists for sale, opens the beginning of February, and closes the first week in May; the second consists of pictures of the ancient masters, opens the first week in June, and closes the end of August.

The Brittsh Institution was established in 1805 for the purpose of encouraging British artists, by the exhibition of their larger productions. which may here be seen to greater advantage than at the Royal Academy. This establishment is held in the building formerly known as the Boydell Gallery, in Pall Mall. There are generally two exhibitions in the year, one of the old, and the other of the new pictures.

Mogg's New Picture of London and Visitor's Guide to it Sights, 1844

BRITISH INSTITUTION, PALL MALL, (for promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom; founded June 4th, 1805 - opened Jan. 18th, 1806), was built by Alderman Boydell to contain the pictures composing his celebrated Shakespeare Gallery. The building and its contents being subsequently dispersed by lottery (Jan. 28th, 1805), the gallery and many of the capital works of art, forming the principal prize, were won by Mr. Tassie, of Leicester-square, who selling his new acquisition by auction in the following May, the lease of the gallery was bought for the sum of 4500l. by several noblemen and gentlemen, partons of the Fine Arts - and the British Institution established in consequence. Here are two exhibitions in the course of every year - one of living artists, in the Spring, and one of old masters, in the Summer. The latter exhibition is one of the most interesting sights of the London season to the lovers of the Fine Arts. Admission, 1s. Observe - Bas-relief of Shakespeare, between Poetry and Painting, on the front of the building, (cost 500 guineas), and  a Mourning Achilles, in the hall of the Institution - both by Thomas Banks, R.A.

Peter Cunningham, Hand-Book of London, 1850