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worship, are not those we have, at this moment, chiefly in view.
But would there be less difficulty in getting them to visit exhibitions of pictures and public gardens, such as promote the study of natural history, and the like? I think there would, and I believe that any one who will take the trouble to visit our present National Gallery or the British Museum, upon a public holiday (as Easter Monday), will come to the same conclusion, whatever his former opinion.
If this be true, here is a step towards improvement. Grant it an uncertain one: still the evil is great; the remedial measures cannot be too many. Those who are led to visit a gallery of pictures by mere curiosity may, despite themselves, receive better impressions. And from taking delight in a picture representing one of Christ's beneficent miracles, to taking delight in the hearing of his divine words, there is, perhaps, less distance than some men suspect.
Is it then too much to suggest that the experiment be tried? Possibly it may be good. The suggestion is no new one, and I repeat it with the humblest deference. A subject which leads so naturally to the remembrance of Christ is least of all one to be dogmatized upon, on either side.
The propriety of making a collection of the best works of our native artists part of our National Gallery, forins an important portion of another and larger subject
—the encouragement by the State of the higher order chapter vi. of Art, which will be considered in its place.
Collection of the works of native artists; referred to
Occupation Of the present occupation of part of the buildings of of part of the National Gallery, by the Royal Academy, I have as
of academies in
yet taken no direct notice. All that has been said National
Gallery by regarding those buildings is true, irrespective of such
the Royal occupation, which may be considered accidental to the Academy. present subject. I am well aware that they have been very much mixed up together, but although yielding to no one in earnest desire to see important reforms in the Royal Academy, as I shall presently have occasion to See next
chapter, show, I cannot but think every question is discussed to
on Royal most advantage, when discussed upon its own proper Academy,
and effects merits. The Royal Academy occupies its portion of the gal
general, lery buildings, in consequence of its having given up to government its portion of Somerset House. It occupies the former, therefore, on the same terms as it did heretofore occupy the latter: except that the government has made a proviso that it may again remove the Royal Academy to some other building, in order to the enlargement of the National Gallery.
Now there are certain grave charges against the Royal Academy, a full and complete investigation of which is on all accounts most desirable and important, -Suppose it to be proved:
“That the purposes for which the Royal Academy was established were never purposes of public utility,'-it would then be right that the academy should cease to derive any kind of support from public sources;-or suppose it to be proved:
* That the purposes for which the Royal Academy was established, although at the time of its establishment purposes of public utility, yet have now ceased to be such,' - then the same consequence would follow.
But suppose it were only proved:
“That the purposes for which the Royal Academy was established, although then and now purposes of public utility, were, by its own abuses and mismanagement not
attained, or attained but imperfectly,'—what then is the consequence which follows ?
Surely that the abuses of the Academy be reformed, and that it be made adequate to the attainment of its original objects, or of so many of them as are really useful to the public.
Mark then what results if the Academy were struck down, as to its partially public character, by a side attack, on the ground of enlarging the National Gallery, (the only thing we have to do with at present:)
First, that the two former questions are left wholly unsettled by any public and responsible tribunal, and that the last is not only left similarly unsettled, but if it should happen to involve the true solution of the difficulty, its natural consequences are arbitrarily prevented.
And it is noticeable besides, that the National Gallery might be greatly enlarged both to the west and to the north, without interfering with the Academy at all, were such a proceeding desirable.
But, in truth, like many who have given their best consideration to the subject, I am inclined to think it would be far better for the public interest to give the whole of the present building to such artistic institutions as should be proved to merit it, than to retain a National Gallery which can never be made properly adequate to its object.
The Academy question, I repeat, is altogether a distinct one; and I therefore deprecate any attempt to terminate its discussion without settling it.
The claim concerning free admission for the public at certain times to its exhibition, as some repayment for its free occupancy, is another distinct question, resting upon its own merits, which will also be treated of presently.
See next chapter.
It would seem then to result from this part of our en Summary
of suggesquiry, that the following may be enumerated among the tions us to important points of improvement which remain to be National
Gallery. effected in the constitution and management of our National Gallery of pictures:
1, An additional infusion of professional know
ledge of Art into its directing board, of
course, under due restriction;
what shall be progressively aimed at in
the formation of the gallery;
with inclusion of a fixed sum to be an-
under special circumstances;
made, for the general information of the
possessed, into schools, at the earliest pos-
• The catalogue just issued (June, 1838,) is excessively meagre and super
devoid alike of arrangement, and of the information most wanted by the public. It disposes, on the average, of nearly four pictures - be they what they may-upon a 12mo page, and has no index either of schools, painters, or donors. There is a small but very admirable catalogue of the provincial gallery of Rouen, by M. Garneray, its distinguished conservateur, to which I would solicit the notice of the trustees. It offers an instructive contrast to that of the National Gallery of England. Its title is as follows: Catalogue des Objets d'Art exposés au Musée de Rouen, 3me Edit. Augmentée de Notices sur les Vies et les ouvrages des principaux Maitres de chaque Ecole, ainsi que sur les personnages célèbres dont les portraits figurent dans la Collection, 1837. Mr. Landseer has recently complained (in
6, Provision of an adequate building for the
display of a collection, worthy of the British nation; or, if the obstacles to a new erection be found insuperable, means to be taken for the enlargement and improvement of the present.*
Resolutions of a
The Committee of Enquiry into the condition and committee management of the British Museum, reported the folof House lowing resolutions (on the motion of Lord Stanley) to
the House of Commons, in July, 1836:
Necessity of increased establisbment.
“1. That the great accessions which have been made of late to the collections of the British Museum, and the increasing interest taken in them by the public, render it expedient to revise the establishment of the institution, with a view to place it upon a scale more commensurate with, and better adapted to the present state and future prospects of the Museum.
Trust: Family trustees.
“2. That this committee do not recommend any interference with the family trustees, who hold their offices under Acts of Parliament, being of the nature of national compacts.
“3. That, although the number of official trustees may appear unnecessarily large, and though practically most of them rarely, if
the Examiner Newspaper,) that the trustees have refused his petition, that their porter might be allowed to sell his “ Descriptive Catalogue” to visitors applying for it, alleging that they cannot patronise opinions.
* In the evidence of Mr. Solly, Mr. Rennie, and others, before the committee of 1836, complaints were made respecting serious injury to the “ Lazarus," and other pictures, from insects. I have not noticed this, because the evidence respecting the extent of the injury is not clear, and I cannot doubt that remedial means bave been employed. I am writing too far from London to obtain any personal information on the subject.