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treasurer to the Society, (the Chartered Society of Artists,) and a leading man in the direction. He had lately devised a plan of establishing what he called a print warehouse. With that view he purchased the property which belonged to Mr. Lamb, the auctioneer in Pall Mall. There he expended a considerable sum in building and making necessary alterations for his new project. But being conducted without judgment and without taste, it soon proved abortive. Finding, therefore, the ridiculous appearance his undertaking made, and anxious to relieve himself of the great expense in which it had involved him, Mr. Dalton, in conjunction with some of his friends, formed a scheme to engage the king to establish an academy in these rooms ; but this was kept a profound secret from the Society till they obtained the royal consent.
“No person ever played a more successful game. Mr. Dalton, my information says, was perpetually about the person of the king, Strona and availing himself of a proper opportunity, succeeded. His Inquiry, majesty clearly saw the folly into which his librarian had precipitated &c. 8vo.
Lond. himself; and therefore, from his natural humanity, as well as from a desire of promoting the fine arts, which he loved, adopted the pro- 71-74. posed plan. ... The label on the door containing the PRINT WAREHOUSE was erased, and another substituted in its place, viz. THE ROYAL ACADEMY.” To this royal institution every student was to pay one guinea a year. This was in 1767.
In the following year, the dissension in the Society of Artists having reached its height, and the remnant of the old directors, whose attempts to obtain an arbitrary and irresponsible power had occasioned the dissension, having by a vigorous effort on the part of the general body of members, become a minority, now, with the help of Mr. Dalton, betook themselves to the king, and proposed an enlargement of the plan of the Royal Academy, so that it might only serve their views of triumph over the society from which they had seceded.
“No sooner," continues Sir Robert Strange, “had these artists fortified themselves under the banner of royalty, than it appeared that their sole view was to retain the power which they had usurped. They were about twenty-four in number. They deemed it neces- Ib. 1775, sary to secure themselves a perpetual majority in their assemblies. p. 101. They circumscribed, therefore, the number of the members of this Academy to forty. By this means the same twenty-four men were sure to be of consequence, and to be capable of carrying any measure in a Society of forty members. . . . . “ In modelling the plan of this Academy, I had the bonour, as I
was informed, to be particularly remembered by them.* At length, the more effectually to prevent every chance that I might have of
partaking the honours they were sharing, it was proposed that Strange's nothing less than a total exclusion of engravers should take place. Inquiry, Amazing, that men who pretended to promote the fine arts, and &c. 8vo. Lond. reflect honour upon the king, could have the effrontery to present pp. 112-3. the public with a regulation equally contradictory and unjust.”+
The importance of an immediatef remedy for this long-continued evil is enhanced by the consideration that, owing to its too frequent subjection to the dictates of trade, and the consequent multiplication of inferior works, the art of engraving, as practised in England, is in danger of losing somewhat of that high character
• Strange had rendered himself very obnoxious to Mr. Dalton, by having, when they were both in Italy, interfered with certain schemes to obtain copies of celebrated pictures, on false pretensions of commission from the king; and he had been in consequence so misrepresented to his majesty, that it was not until many years after the period now in question, that he recovered the king's favour. See his Letter to Lord Bute, prefixed to the Inquiry.
+ The author adds, that Benjamin West “ warmly opposed the motion : be entered into the merits of the profession in its various consequences; he showed the advantages which painting reaps from it, as well as the benefits which might result from it to this country as a commercial nation. But his endeavours were to no purpose, and the measure was carried against him.” Sir Robert thus concludes his work : “Let others appreciate my talents as an engraver; but, without either vanity or presumption, I may be allowed to say, I have been a constant and zealous promoter of the arts, and have with indefatigable application endeavoured to do credit to my own profession. It is to rescue it in some measure from that indignity wbich it has unjustly suffered on my account, rather than from personal resentment against the royal academicians, that I have been thus obliged to take up my pen in its defence.” ...
I More than thirty years ago a most able memorial was addressed to the Academy by Mr. John Landseer, then an associate-engraver, praying their recognition of the just claims of engraving, as well to academic cultivation as to academic honours. A portion of this memorial has been reprinted in the Evidence on Arts, &c., and the whole of it is given in Mr. Pye's pamphlet on the subject.
which it has so long and justly borne throughout Europe.
If it be right that the Royal Academy, as an assembly Removal of of honour, should continue to be upheld, it is also right der
841 dependence that its needful expenses, as such, should be defrayed on exbibi
tion. from funds provided by the State, and not from the profits of an exhibition. We shall presently have occasion to perceive that many direct evils result from the existing arrangement, as respects the exhibition itself. But the conclusion becomes irresistible, if it be shown that the united functions of an exhibition committee, and of an assembly of honour, are incompatible with the due discharge of either, and that it is to this combination of heterogeneous functions that the errors of the Academy, be they what they may, are mainly to be ascribed. I proceed to the consideration of the Royal Academy as a school of instruction.
It cannot be denied that academic schools have, Academies throughout Europe, too much superseded those older cons
as schools and better schools, wherein master and pupil were con- of instrucnected by almost family ties, and out of which arose
tion. some of the greatest artists that have adorned the modern world. To what extent we may ever be able, under the altered circumstances of present life, to revert to that old and healthy system, must be matter of uncertainty ; but not so the fact that academic schools of some kind (and under the best attainable management) must continue to afford the chief means of instruction to a very large number of our artists.
The advantages afforded to students in the Royal
Academy, are thus described by Mr. Howard, its secretary:
For the student in painting, “ there are the school of the antique, the school of the living model, and the school of painting, all of which are under the superintendence of the ablest masters in the country. The use of a good library of books on art, which is continually increasing by gifts and by purchase, a large collection of prints, and some copies of the most celebrated pictures, the lectures of the professors, annual premiums for the best copies made in the painting school, and a biennial premium for the best original historical painting. Although the privileges of a student generally continue for ten years only, on application to the council he may be re-admitted from year to year; but if he obtain any premium in the course of the ten years, he then becomes a student for life. Any student obtaining the gold medal at the biennial distribution of prizes, may become a candidate for a travelling studentship, which will further enable him to pursue his studies on the continent for three years, on a pension from the Academy. The student in sculpture has the benefit of the schools of design, of an admirable collection of casts; of the library, in which are engravings from all the galleries in Europe ; the lectures and premiums; and, in rotation, the contingent advantage of the travelling studentship. The advantages afforded to the student in architecture are the schools of design, the lectures; the library, containing all the valuable works on architecture which have been published here and on the continent; annual and biennial premiums, and the contingent advantage of the travelling studentship. The school is unfortunately deficient in architectural models, and merely because the Royal Academy has no room in which to place them (1836.] The Society, notwithstanding, purchased a fine collection of archi. tectural casts (a few years since) which had belonged to Sir Thomas Lawrence, and presented them to the British Museum, where they are arranged in an excellent light, and are available to all the artists of the country. The students in engraving are in no wise distinguished from the others;* the same advantages are open to all. An extensive collection of engravings from the earliest times, wbich is in the library, was purchased by the Academy at the price of 600 guineas, chiefly with a view to the information of this class of students,” (2118.)
* This must be a mistake, as there are no lectures on engraving, nor any sort of provision for special instruction in that art, there being no professorship of engraving. Probably Mr. Howard means that all the other lectures, &c. are open to the students of engraving.
The number of students on the books is stated by Mr. Hilton, the keeper, at about 500, of whom 321 were admitted during the ten years between 1825 and 1835. The average attendance in the life-school varies from 15 to 20; that in the school of the antique, from 25 to 35, (2169-75.)
of instruc. tion.
That the system of teachers in rotation in the life- Defects of school of the Royal Academy is injudicions, I believe the Royal
Academy to be now tacitly acknowledged by the Academy itself; as a school and it will doubtless be altered. But, with this exception, we have the valuable testimony of Mr. Haydon, a witness not likely to be biassed in favour of the Academy, to the general efficiency of the schools, at least in relation to the present means of the Institution.*
But these means are far from being adequate to that Suggested “extension of the schools of the Royal Academy,” which Mr. Haydon justly regards as necessary to make it the schools, “ great central school” of art. Those means must be B. R. Hayincreased, and we may then reasonably look for much don, Esq. greater regularity and efficiency in the lectures ;t for the 1084. foundation of a professorship of engraving, and for the Deside. making effective the nominally existing professorships rata,
extension of the
* See Evidence, II. 1058. Mr. Haydon has also borne bis testimony to an important fact, in stating (ib. 1124) that, “in respect of lectures, academies have done good, and we are indebted to them.” Those of Reynolds, Opie, Fuseli, and Flaxman, in our own Academy, and of Coypel, and others, in France, are of the highest value.
+ The delivery of lectures has hitherto been exceedingly irregular. The laws provide for the delivery of six lectures, at the least, in each year, on each of the following subjects, viz. anatomy, perspective, architecture, sculpture, and painting. But on a computation of ten years, one hundred and eleven lectures have been omitted (out of three hundred.) Those on architecture were suspended for seven years, and none whatever have been delivered on perspective for the last ten years. In both instances the professorships were nominally continued, and the names of the professors announced, as usual, in the yearly catalogues. These are instances of neglect which the friends of the Academy deeply lament.