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“Non cum animis artes cæli ex penetralibus ceciderunt; sed exquisitæ et natæ sunt in terris hîc omnes, et cum processu temporum paulatim medi. tatione conflatæ."--Arnobius.
OF THE FOUNDATION OF SCHOOLS OF DESIGN.
If it be true of all pursuits that excellence can only be obtained by patient and unremitting study, it is eminently so of the Fine Arts. In this domain genius itself, unaccompanied by diligent labour, can accomplish even less than in many others. But the study necessary to make an ARTIST, in the true sense of that lofty term, must be thoroughly individual; and there is great reason to doubt whether such Schools as we are most familiar with, have been of much use in respect of the highest branches of Art.
West declared, while President of the Royal Academy, that scarcely three out of three hundred academic students became distinguished for their talent.* Barry and Fuseli, its professors of Painting, have made the same complaint.+
But if experience does not warrant the expectation that scholastic institutions will produce many men of eminence in the higher walks of Art, they may still, if well regulated, powerfully subserve other purposes by no means unimportant.
* This has been mentioned as though it were a proof of the inefficiency of the Royal Academy individually. The observation was a general one, and appears to have had no such individual reference.
† There is an excellent remark too on this subject in a note Sir Martin Shee's Elements of Art.
For the study which must form the solid foundation of excellence in the Fine Arts must be the study, not alone of the artist, but of the people : and the larger the number of those who can appreciate Art, the broader and surer the foundation on which the fabric of its excellence may be reared.
And although schools of design may rank as a very secondary means in the training of the creative artist, they are the primary means of insuring the effectual application of Art to manufacture, (thus entwining it with commercial prosperity;) and they are the only means of adequately providing for the general estimation of Art, throughout the length and breadth of a whole population. For of the Art which adorns life, as of the Religion which hallows it, the less men have, the less they seek to have.
But the excitement of a dormant appetency in the public at large is a branch of the work of general EDUCATIONAL REFORM. And we must first provide a sufficiency of schools of Religion, Morals, and the rudiments of learning (all so wofully deficient in our land), before we talk of providing schools of design, for the general population.
There remain the schools intended specially for the application of Art to Manufacture. It is to this part of the subject I now address myself.
I propose first, briefly to show the existing want in this respect; secondly, to enquire how far it is the province of the government to interpose for its supply; and then to submit certain propositions with reference to the principles which should govern that interposition.
The claims to certain remedial measures of legislation, in favour of the Arts, which have occupied us hitherto, rest upon the certain ground of equal protection of property; those which we now approach partake of the character of premiums or bounties, and are to be justified rather by special circumstances than by general reasonings.
As regards Schools of Design, these special circumstances appear to be a lamentable want of the means of instruction in the rudiments of Art amongst the manufacturing population; the inability of individuals by their unassisted efforts to supply this want in its present formidable extent;* and the certainty, derived from the experience of other countries, that the public will be amply repaid for a judicious expenditure towards this object from public funds.
Had there been a real and adequate protection for inventive design in manufactures in this country, it is highly probable that good schools of design would have been established and maintained by the manufacturers themselves, and the necessity for the interposition of government altogether prevented. But the absence of this protection has been operating injuriously for a long period, and very vigorous efforts are now necessary to obviate its natural results.
The necessity of interposition having therefore been acknowledged by the grant made during the last session of Parliament, for the establishment of a Normal School of Design, it remains to be ascertained what are the principles which ought to govern such establishment, in the first instance, and what further measures are
• That the unaided efforts of societies, although made with the utmost good will, are quite insufficient is manifest by the failure (as regards the education of artisans) of the Society of Arts at Birmingham, and of many similar societies at Norwich, Worcester, and other places. On this subject the Evidence, before the Arts' Committee, of Mr. William Wyon, (I. 1699); of Mr. Philip Barnes, (ib. 1324); and of Mr. J. T. Howell, (II. 114), may be consulted with advantage,
required of government in order to the full attainment
of the object in view. Normal With respect to the central normal school, it would School of Design in
seem to be of the first importance that it be really a London.
school for teachers, and not merely a model school, however good; for if it be only the latter, especially if established in London, its influence must for a long time be almost null as regards any real improvement in the application of design to our manufactures. Every one, practically familiar with the subject, is aware that persons qualified to teach design (as applied to manufacture) are even more rarely to be met with than good designers and pattern-drawers. And for any efficient training of the last mentioned, the schools must be established in the locality of each several manufacture. If it be attempted to train designers, modellers, and pattern-drawers, in a school at Somerset House, the pupils will be those least in need of assistance, being able to help themselves.
For the same reason little good can be fairly expected from this central school, so long as it remain alone. It will first come into full and efficient operation when
there are local schools to which its most successful the vicinity pupils can be sent as qualified teachers. of the chief
On what plan then ought these local schools to be manufac
There is, I conceive, ample reason to expect the best results from a system of grants from public funds, proportionate to the sums locally raised, for the first establishment of schools of design, beginning in the places where they are most wanted; and from the
further grant of a small but certain annual sum in aid Evidence of of the teacher's salary. Perhaps, in course of time, James Skene, esq:
the latter might be dispensed with, but experience has before Arts' shown in the operations, for instance, of the Board of 1114, etc. Trustees for the Encouragement of Manufactures in
Local schools in