A free art school whose alumni have included JMW Turner and John Constable has received a £10 million gift from Tetra Pak heir Hans Rausing.

The postgraduate art school, at the heart of the Royal Academy, is the oldest art school in Britain, celebrating its 250th anniversary this year.

Mr Rausing, one of Britain’s richest men, hit the headlines when his wife, Eva Rausing, was discovered in an advanced state of decomposition after dying from cocaine abuse.

RA Schools StudioRA Schools Studio (Royal Academy)

He admitted preventing the lawful and decent burial of his wife’s body, as well as driving a vehicle while unfit through drugs, and in 2012 was given two suspended sentences.

The £10 million gift comes from the Julia and Hans Rausing Trust charitable fund, which the Tetra Pak heir set up with wife Julia, whom he married in 2014.

Up to 17 artists each year get the opportunity to enrol in a free, three-year, postgraduate programme at the art school, founded in 1769.

Its other alumni include William Blake, Richard Hamilton and Sir Anthony Caro.

Julia and Hans Rausing said: “The RA Schools have produced some of the world’s most famous artists since their inception 250 years ago.

“It was founded to develop the brightest young artists based on merit.

“The RA Schools remain free and independent today and our gift allows for the restoration of the fabric of the building and its survival for future generations of artists.”

Christopher Le Brun, president of the Royal Academy of Arts, said: “One of the founding purposes of the Royal Academy was to provide a school of art to train the next generation of artists.

“250 years later, the Royal Academy Schools is one of the best in the world.

“This major gift from Julia and Hans Rausing will ensure its success for the next 250 years.”

The RA Schools buildings, designed by Sir David Chipperfield, will be called The Julia and Hans Rausing Campus, as a result of the gift.