The Royal College of Art was originally founded in 1837 as a school of industrial design. In 1852 it moved from its original home in Somerset House to Marlborough House and was renamed the Central School of Practical Art. In 1863 it moved to new buildings in Exhibition Road but it was not until 1896 that it was renamed the Royal College of Art by Queen Victoria.
In 1920 William Rothenstein became principal of the Royal College of Art. A talented teacher, Rothenstein held the post until 1935. Gilbert Ledward also taught at the college during this period. The art departments have had many distinguished students in the 20th century including Henry Moore, David Hockney and R. B. Kitaj.