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difficulty of establishing such schools with success. In this respect, the school recently established by the government at Somerset House has been greatly impeded in its progress. Instead of forming, in the first instance, a school for producing good pattern-designers, thoroughly versed in the practical application of design to manufactures ; and ultimately, a central or normal school for training those who were to become the teachers of such industrial artists in local schools throughout the country, it has been hitherto, to a great extent, occupied in imparting the very rudiments of the knowledge of design to youths who came to it wholly uninformed.
27. It was therefore contended that in order to this central school fulfilling its proper purpose, the provision of apparatus for the practical study of manufacture is indispensable, on the one hand, and on the other, the establishment of minor schools throughout the country, for affording elementary instruction in design to all who seek it. It was also seen to be highly important that museums of ornamental art should be established as
extensively as possible, in connexion with such schools. Public Gal- 28. All experience proves that no adequate provision
of public galleries and museums, either for the special improvement of artists, or for the general instruction of the people, is to be looked for at any other hands than those of government.
29. Collections of casts from the best works of sculpture, of ornaments in plaster and in metal, both ancient and of the middle ages, of prints, and of books of ornamental designs (such as the French and Prussian governments have caused to be produced on so splendid a scale), are those which are most desirable in our great manufacturing towns. Parliamentary grants, in aid of local rates to be levied by the municipal bodies, appear to offer the best means of obtaining them.
30. Next in importance to these are collections of
leries and Museums.
original and improved machines, models of new inventions, specimens of new and improved fabrics, &c. These, it was shown, might easily be obtained in connexion with an improved law for the protection of patents and copyright. When these wants shall have been supplied it will be necessary to consider the best means of establishing public galleries of the higher works of art, the want of which, though not operating so prejudicially upon industry, is yet, both morally and intellectually a serious evil.
31. In advancing to examine the nature and present condition of the principal public collections actually existing in the metropolis, notice was taken that of a Museum of British History we have not even the beginning.
32. The National Gallery of pictures, whilst it pos- The sesses several capital works of the Lombard, Venetian, and Flemish schools, with admirable specimens of Murillo, of the Caracci, of Claude, and of the Poussins, does not contain one great work by any of the chief masters either of the Roman or of the Florentine schools, whence proceeded the highest excellence ever attained in design, in expression, and in composition. Yet these it was noticed, are precisely the qualities most needful to be studied in England, to counteract the prevalent faults and deficiences of English artists.
33. A lengthened examination of the evidence adduced before the select Committee of the Commons, with respect to the constitution and management of the National Gallery, appeared to lead to the conclusion that the adoption of the following measures,-it may be amongst others, — would be of considerable public advantage: first, the additional infusion of professional knowledge of art into the board of directors; secondly, the preparation of a systematic plan as to what shall be
progressively aimed at in the formation of the gallery; thirdly, the increase of the parliamentary grant, including a fixed sum to be annually set apart for purchases-the trustees being authorized to apply to Parliament for power to anticipate the grant under special circumstances; fourthly, annual reports to Parliament of the progress made, for the general information of the public; fifthly, the historical arrangement (at the earliest possible period) of the pictures already possessed into schools, and the preparation of a catalogue calculated to afford real information to the visitors; and sixthly, the provision of an adequate building for the display of a collection worthy of the British people; or, if the obstacles to a new erection should be found insuperable, the improvement and enlargement of the present building. And to these must be added, the formation of a collection of the best works of British artists. The removal of the cartoons from Hampton Court to the National Gallery is also greatly to be desired.
34. That the present edifice could ever be made to contain, under any satisfactory classification, a collection of pictures in the smallest degree honorable to the country, may reasonably be doubted. The site, en. cumbered as it was already, had been chosen without due deliberation, but its disadvantages were by no means irremoveable. Eventually, however, the fitness and beauty of the National Gallery of England were sacrificed to the military barracks and the parish workhouse, and to a very idle clamour about obstructing the view of Saint Martin's Church.
35. The question concerning the Royal Academy, its duties to the nation, in return for national advantages, and the way in which it has fulfilled or neglected them, is one which ought never to have been mixed up with the obtainment by the public of a good and sufficient edifice for a National Gallery. This question must be disposed of on its own merits. In the mean time it must surely be granted that a worthy and appropriate Gallery ought to be obtained, altogether irrespectively of the settlement of this other and very different question.
36. The subject of an improved catalogue of the Catalogues. national collection of pictures demands some special notice; for on this, more than on any other particular, depends the amount of its public utility. The present catalogue is meagre and insufficient, and in several respects is positively erroneous; like the collection itself, it is wholly devoid of arrangement, and does not even contain an index either of schools or of painters. There are many examples of good catalogues of foreign collections which might be imitated with advantage, if to originate be deemed too troublesome. Of these I would especially instance Lenoir's catalogue of the Musée des Monuments Français, and Dr. Waagen's, of the Berlin Gallery of Pictures, each of which has its peculiar merit.* A tabular chronological view of the schools of art, in connexion with the leading personages and events of the several periods, would prove a useful feature in catalogues intended for popular use.
37. In considering the present condition and manage- British ment of the British Museum, it was found expedient to follow the course adopted in the resolutions reported to the House of Commons, by its select committee of enquiry into that institution, appointed in 1836. Considerable improvement appeared to have resulted from that enquiry, although it had not been carried to its legitimate extent.
38. In the course of our review it appeared probable that the replacement of some of the official members of the board of trustees, already overburthened with still
* A brief view of the plan of each of these catalogues will be found in the Appendix, F.
weightier public duties, by men at once distinguished for their attachment to literature and science, and able to give more of their personal attention to the institution, might promote its general interests; that the formation of a board of officers, reporting and recommending to the trustees on matters of internal arrangement and improvement; the better subdivision of departments; and increased exertion in the preparation and printing of good catalogues, would further increase its already great utility to the public; and that a continuance of the growing spirit of liberality towards it, which has of late been apparent on the part of Parliament, would give renewed vigour to the exertions, both of trustees and officers, to render it an institution of which the country may justly be proud. *
39. Notice has recently been given in the House of Commons of an intention to move a resolution that the National Gallery and the British Museum be opened to the public on Sundays, “at the same hours during which public-houses are by law allowed to be open.” Believing that such a step would tend greatly to diminish those fearful profanations of the sabbath which are now so rife, and that it would extend opportunities of intellectual culture and of rational amusement to thousands who at present are wholly, or almost wholly, deprived of them, I cannot but heartily wish that this motion may be successful.
40. In proceeding to consider the condition and present utility of the Royal Academy of Arts, regret was expressed at the outset that the discussion of this important
* Having now the honour of a subordinate official connexion with the British Museum, I think it right to mention that the chapter relating to that establishment was wbolly written and printed long prior to the commencement of such connexion.