The RBA commenced with twenty-seven members, and took until 1876 to reach fifty. Artists wishing to resign were required to give three months' notice and pay a fine of £100. The RBA's first two exhibitions were held in 1824, with one or two exhibitions held annually thereafter.
The RBA currently has 115 elected members who participate in an annual exhibition currently held at the Mall Galleries in London. The Society's previous gallery was a building designed by John Nash in Suffolk Street. Queen Victoria granted the Society the Royal Charter in 1887.
Its records from 1823–1985 are in the Victoria and Albert Museum.