The United Kingdom has a long and illustrious history of art, stretching back to the formation of the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. From the early 18th century to the present day, UK art has evolved and adapted to changing times and tastes. English art, in particular, has developed a unique style over the centuries, from the Anglo-Saxon period to the Victorian era and beyond. The early 18th century saw a revival of original artistic engraving, with many artists taking part in this movement. This was followed by a period of great interest in portraiture, with miniature portraiture being particularly popular in England. The training of artists also began to improve during this time, with private and governmental initiatives helping to expand the field considerably in the 19th century. The Royal Academy of Arts was founded in 1768 and quickly became the most important exhibition organization and school in London.
However, after the Union, many Scottish aristocrats chose to have their portraits painted in London by Scottish painters such as William Aikman or Allan Ramsay. Alternative locations such as the British Institution also began to emerge, as well as the Grosvenor Gallery on Bond Street from 1877, which became a hub for the Aesthetic Movement. In the 19th century, Great Britain regained its place as one of Europe's leading art centres. This was due in part to the arrival of the Parthenon sculptures - known as Elgin marbles - which were taken out of the temple and sold to the British Museum. William Hogarth also had a great presence during this time, with his art managing to achieve a unique English character. The 20th century saw Scottish art develop its own distinctive character, with the Glasgow Boys being an expression of this.
The architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh was one of its most famous members. Meanwhile, United Kingdom art continued to encompass English art, Scottish art, Welsh art and Irish art. Today, UK art is still evolving and adapting to changing times and tastes. It is an integral part of Western art history and continues to be celebrated around the world.