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If on the whole, less has been accomplished than the more sanguine friends of the cause may have hoped for, there is still ample encouragement to prosecute the task with renewed vigour and perseverance, confident that, sooner or later, success is certain.

CHAPTER IX.

OF ARTISTIC COMPETITIONS FOR PUBLIC WORKS, AND OF

THE CONTROL WHICH MAY BE USEFULLY EXERCISED

OVER THEIR EXECUTION.

« Δύο εικόνας ειργάσατο Πολύκλειτος κατά το αυτό, την μεν τοίς όχλοις χαριζόμενος, την δε κατά του νόμον της τέχνης. Έχαρίζετο δε τοϊς πολλούς του τρόπον τέτον καθ' έκαστον των εισιόντων μετετίθει τι, και μεταμόρφέ, πειθόμενος τη εκάστε υφηγήσει. Προύθηκεν εν αμφοτέρας και η μεν υπό πάντων έθαυμάζετο, ή δε ετέρα εγελάτο. Υπολα βών εν έφη ο Πολόκλειτος, αλλά ταύτην μεν, ήν ψέγετε, υμείς εποιήσατε, ταύτην δε, ήν θαυμάζετε, εγώ'.” ÆLIANI Varia Historia...curavit C. G. Kuehn, lib. 14, c. 8.—Tom. ii. CHAPTER IX.

p. 274. Lips. 1780.

OF ARTISTIC COMPETITIONS FOR PUBLIC WORKS, AND OF

THE CONTROL WHICH MAY BE USEFULLY

EXERCISED

OVER THEIR EXECUTION.

That neither artists nor the public have much confidence in the mode in which our public competitions are usually managed, has been strikingly evinced on several recent occasions, and especially in connexion with Architecture. In the case of the new Houses of Parliament, nearly two years were suffered to elapse Houses of between the selection of the best design and its final Parliaapproval, during which period repeated attempts were made to re-open the whole question, several divisions took place in the House of Commons on the subject, and a paper war was commenced, which has scarcely ended yet;-and this, notwithstanding an extraordinary unanimity of opinion respecting the great merit of the selected design. Even now there appears to be considerable uncertainty as to the extent to which Mr. Barry is really responsible for the actual execution of his plans.

In the more recent, and still unsettled, case of the Royal designs for the new Royal Exchange, the result of the Exchange. competition has been wholly unsatisfactory. The number of designs sent in was large, and included many of great merit. The consideration of them was

referred by the Gresham committee to three distinguished architects, none of whom had competedindeed, two of them were notoriously averse to public competitions altogether. These gentlemen reported that a certain design was the best, and that certain others were the second and third best; they added, however, that none of the three was free from serious defects in respect of construction, or could be executed for the sum to which the competing architects had been limited. They consequently proceeded to select other three designs, inferior to those in architectural beauty, but, in their estimation, coming within the prescribed limit in respect of cost; in these, however, as in the former, they found considerable defects in point of construction. On the whole, they reported that there was no design which they could recommend the committee to adopt for execution.

Accordingly, on the reception of this report, the Gresham committee awarded the premiums offered for the best designs to the second class of those selected; those, namely—though not the best-the cost of which was stated by the adjudicators to come within the prescribed amount. The other designs were returned to their respective authors.

Naturally enough, the architects whose designs had been placed in the first class as to merit protested strongly against this decision; and they requested to be allowed to adduce evidence in proof of the practicability of their several designs as to construction, and of the possibility of executing them within the limits laid down in the programme. This very reasonable application was not acceded to, and the committee requested the adjudicators themselves jointly to prepare designs -a request with which, after some delay, they declined to comply.

Thus far nothing had been gained on the one hand,

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