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REPORT OF THE COMMONS' COMMITTEE ON ARTS AND MANU

FACTURES-PRELIMINARY REMARKS ON THE STATE OF ART

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« Les Arts concourent a éclairer une nation, et à augmenter la prospérité générale, en contribuant au bonheur de chaque individu, par leur influence marquée sur la vie civile ; mais nulle part on n'en a fait une branche de L’EDUCATION PUBLIQue pour adoucir par ces arts les mæurs du peuple.”—Heyne.

“National encouragement of the Fine Arts should in all cases be spirited,-generous,-impartial; and should not be subjected either to the caprices of power, to the varying humour of the transient depositories of the public confidence, or to the inconstant and ever mutable gusts of popular frenzy.”—Dr. J. R. Scott.

But the interposition of GOVERNMENT should not extend to interference; it should aim at the developement and extension of art, but it should neither control its action, nor force its cultivation."-SELECT COMMITTEE OF THE COMMONS, 1836.

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THE

ADMINISTRATIVE ECONOMY

OF

THE FINE ARTS IN ENGLAND.

CHAPTER I.

REPORT OF THE COMMONS' COMMITTEE ON ARTS AND MANU

FACTURES-PRELIMINARY REMARKS ON THE STATE OF ART

AND PATRONAGE IN ENGLAND.

The relations of the arts of design, Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture with the State, as instruments of National Education, and as means of public enjoyment and magnificence, open up a wide field of enquiry which has been less explored in England than, perhaps, in any other civilized country of the ancient or modern world.

But of late there have been several indications of an aroused attention to this subject.

Associations have been formed for the attainment of objects more or less closely connected with it. Repeated allusions have been made to it in parliamentary discussions, and committees have been appointed to enquire into the state of the arts and of artistic institutions amongst us. A central School of Design has been established by the Government, and facilities have been afforded for more free public access to our national monuments and public buildings.

And, in truth, every step which has been taken in any one of these several proceedings, has supplied ample evidence to show how necessary it was that the public interest in the progress of Art, and most of all in the duties of Government in relation thereto, should be aroused ; and has shown also how very much remains to be done before the rank of England, in this respect, will be worthy of the proud position which, in so many others, she holds among the nations.

This rank is truly determined, not so much by the possession of distinguished professors in one or more of their branches, as by that far better criterion-the degree in which the humanising influence of the arts is seen to prevade the population at large, aiding in the development of their best feelings, in the cultivation of their minds, and in the nurture of their public as well as private virtues. History has proofs enough, that where less than this is the general aim and purpose to which the plastic arts are usually applied, there may be indeed be-gilded and be-titled artisans, greatly applauded by those whom they amuse, but there can be no ARTISTS able, through successive ages, to assert their places among the wisest and worthiest of the teachers of mankind.

The Committee appointed “to inquire into the best means of extending a knowledge of the Arts, and of the principles of design among the people (especially the manufacturing population) of the country; and also to inquire into the constitution, management, and effects of institutions connected with the Arts,” commence

their Report by acknowledging, as an “inference they Parl. Paper are obliged to draw from the testimony they have No. 568, received; that, from the highest branches of poetical p. iii.

design down to the lowest connexion between design and manufactures, the Arts have received little encouragement in this country;" and again, that "in many

Session
1836.

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Ibid.

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