HC Deb 06 June 1864 vol 175 cc1297-336

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

£10,000, New National Gallery at Burlington House.


said, he desired to take that opportunity of making some explanation on the subject. The Vote had its origin in the conviction on the part of the Government that the time was come when an attempt should be made to solve the difficulties which for the last twenty years had impeded the settlement of a long vexed question, and had compelled the retention of the national pictures in a building which was unsuited for their proper exhibition. In 1840 apian had been prepared for making very extensive alterations in the existing National Gallery; a number of Committees and Commissions had inquired into the subject. The first Committee which made any definite Report on the subject was that which sat in 1848. They stated that they could not but regard the present building as deficient in space, and wanting in dignity and elevation, and they recommended that a large and improved building should be erected on the same site. In 1850 another Committee, consisting of almost the same Members, was appointed. Among their names were to be found those of Sir Robert Peel, Lord John Russell, Mr. Disraeli, Mr. Sidney Herbert, and Sir Benjamin Hall. They, however, thought better of the opinions which they had previously expressed, and stated that upon re-viewing the evidence they would not recommend that any expenditure should be incurred on the existing site. Then followed the Commission of 1851, on which sat Lord Seymour and other experienced persons, who, having fully considered the subject, decided against the site in Trafalgar Square, and recommended a site of fifteen or twenty acres fronting Hyde Park or else in Kensington Gardens; but they gave the preference to the latter. The next Committee was the one moved for by Colonel Mure, which followed the same course, and pronounced against Trafalgar Square, and recommending Kensington Gore. A Bill was brought into the House of Commons with the view of giving effect to that recommendation; but the House seemed unwilling, without further inquiry, to allow the National Gallery to be removed to so great a distance from the centre of London. The result of the debate and the division which took place on that occasion was that another Commission was appointed, at the head of which was Lord Broughton. That Commission reported that they found their choice practically limited to two sites, Trafalgar Square and Kensington Gore— but gave the preference to the former, stating that they did so in the expectation that the building which might be substituted for the present National Gallery should be one which would be worthy of the British people, which would command universal admiration, and do honour to the age. The cost of the building and site thus recommended was in the same year estimated in a paper which had been laid on the table of the House at £500,000. They proposed to take the barracks and workhouse, and also that portion of the west of St. Martin's Lane which lay between the workhouse and St. Martin's Church. The estimate framed was however, he believed, too low, and a building such as was described would be more likely to cost a million than only half a million of money. In 1861 there was a Committee of the House of Lords on the subject, which held out the prospect that a noble gallery might be erected on the present or any other site, but that, in the event of that prospect not being fulfilled, then, a limited addition to the present building might be made. He had quoted these recommendations of the Committees and Commissions in order to show how strong was the weight of authority in favour of looking elsewhere for a site for the new National Gallery than Trafalgar Square. He would now proceed to state what the views of the Government were with regard to the building for which the present Vote was asked. The desire of the Government was to have the very best building that could be erected. He proposed that it should be all on one floor; that it should be lighted from the top; that there should be three spacious galleries of 200 feet in length and 40 feet in width, running parallel to one another; that these should be crossed by three other galleries of the same dimensions, and that between the interstices there should be galleries of smaller size and height. The effect produced by that arrangement would, he thought, be very grand. There would be ample space for all the pictures that might be received during many years, assuming the pictures to increase in the same ratio as hitherto. But the time would come when even the space provided under this plan—36,000 square feet—would be insufficient. One half of the pictures in the National Gallery had been obtained by gift or bequest, and he believed that if ample space were provided bequests and gifts would largely increase in number. They knew that the gift of Sir Francis Bourgois was lost to the country because the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the day was either unable or unwilling to build a gallery to receive the pictures; and the man- ner in which the pictures given by Mr. Vernon, Mr. Jacob Bell, and Mr. Turner had been exhibited had been no encouragement to donors. It would be the most miserable parsimony to grudge the expenditure necessary to provide galleries to receive the pictures which public spirited individuals might present to the nation. The space proposed to be given to the new gallery was calculated by the wants of the present gallery. The present gallery contained 470 pictures, which it was calculated would require to hang them properly about 2,250 feet lineal, exclusive of door and window spaces. The whole of the Burlington House site consisted of three acres and a half. About half of this was occupied by the gardens, upon which buildings might be placed which would give ample accommodation for the present needs and anticipated extensions of the gallery in future years. When those buildings became insufficient, an extension might be made over the part of the site now occupied by the buildings which surrounded the quadrangle, and a suitable architectural elevation might be substituted for the buildings of Burlington House. The upper gallery toplighted would run round either all or the greater portion of the quadrangle, and the ground floor might be devoted to the use of the- learned Societies and the University of London. If it was desired, that portion of the quadrangle next to Piccadilly might be treated like the front of Somerset House; the entrance might be through an archway in the centre of the building, and in that building might be placed the halls, theatres, and large rooms to be used by the learned Societies and the University in succession at different times. That was the way in which provision was made for future extension; but by building on the ground now vacant, leaving Burlington House untouched, all the present and proximate wants of the National Gallery would be provided for. The cartoons might, if it was thought fit, be brought up from Hampton Court; and, for his own part, he should desire that, as London already possessed the greatest works of sculpture— the Elgin Marbles—it should also have the greatest works in drawing—the Cartoons of Eaphael. The cost of the building now to be erected was estimated at £152,000, and there was, he believed, no reason to fear that that estimate would be exceeded. The building would be a cheap one for its size and situation. The sides being concealed by the Albany and the Burlington Arcade it would be impossible to have any architectural facades to the east or west; but to the north there would be an opportunity of having a two-story building of stone, with proper architectural embellishments, in which it was proposed to place the offices of the Trustees and the apartments of the resident officers of the National Gallery. Without minutely com paring this site with others, he might remind the Committee, that while it was in the immediate neighbourhood of the great thoroughfare Piccadilly, it would have the advantage of being separated from it by the short distance that would make it less of a resort for idlers who would come for other purposes than to look at pictures. It was the habit of persons who happened to be without an umbrella in a shower of rain to go into the National Gallery for shelter; it was also the habit of persons who walked about the streets with their luncheons in their pockets to go into the National Gallery to eat them; and any one who had been there much would have observed that, owing to its proximity to the barracks, the soldiers were in the habit of meeting their friends there. It thus became to such an extent a lounging place for conversation, that the study and enjoyment of persons who went to see the pictures were very much interfered with. Piccadilly was central and easy of access to poor and rich, but the gallery would be out of the noise and throng. The effect of placing the entrance to the Geological Museum in Jermyn Street instead of in Piccadilly, had been to keep it chiefly for those who desired to inspect the collections and were interested in the subjects which they illustrated. The court-yard of Burlington House would supply a dignified entrance, and a convenient place for carriages to wait for persons who were visiting the gallery. Among other advantages attending the design was one easily understood; this was, that the site was actually ready. There was no purchase of a site, no necessity for pulling down and rebuilding; the moment the Vote of the House passed steps might be taken for commencing the new buildings. After the numerous Committees and Commissions that had investigated the subject, he thought the Committee would feel that it would be a very great advantage if they could have some certainty that steps would be immediately taken to begin the necessary work. If, however, this proposal should not be adopted, and they were thrown back upon another long round of Committees and Commissions, and to inquire over and over again into the subject—looking to all the possible sites that might be suggested— and many there had been already suggested which were not, however, half so good as Burlington House—he thought it possible that another twenty years might elapse before they came to any formal and satisfactory conclusion upon it. He thought he could undertake to say that the present would be the cheapest proposal that could be made—["No, no!"]—the most convenient and altogether the best that could be found. ["No, no!"] He was sure it would enable them to get a better gallery than they could have anywhere else, and therefore, on that ground, as well as on the grounds both of economy and convenience, and in the hope of getting a perfect gallery in all its internal arrangements, he hoped the Committee would support the present proposal.


, in rising to move the rejection of the Supplementary Estimate for the new National Gallery, Burlington House, said he was disposed to concur in one observation which had been made by the right hon. Gentleman.


, who had risen at the same time, interposing, said, he thought it would greatly facilitate the discussion if the noble Lord would allow him to put the following Questions to the right hon. Gentleman. First, Whether he could state to the Committee the relative space contained in the Burlington House site compared with the present National Gallery buildings, the barracks, and the workhouse in the rear; and second, whether he could give them any information what accommodation space this portion of Burlington House would give, in comparison with the other large galleries of Europe?


said, the military authorities had on many occasions strongly protested against their taking the barracks; but supposing they were to take in the barracks and the workhouse, it would give an area of three and a half acres, which was the size of the Burlington House site. The proposed Gallery at Burlington House would certainly be larger than the Galleries of Berlin or Munich, and more floor space than the Louvre, though not more wall space.


was about to say, when he was interrupted by the noble Lord, that he quite concurred with the right hon. Gentleman that it would be very unsatisfactory to go the round of a fresh series of Committees and Commissions upon this subject, and that was one of the principal reasons which had induced him to put his Amendment on the paper, so that there might be no mistake in future with regard to the real intentions of Parliament upon this subject. He wished the House, by accepting the proposition, to place in the most unmistakable manner on record, the reiteration of their determination that the National Gallery should remain in Trafalgar Square. While, however, he agreed with the right hon. Gentleman in his desire to escape more Committees and Commissions, he could not agree with his short and not very accurate description of the labour of these Committees and Commissions during the last twenty years. The whole tendency and scope of the evidence taken before them and their decisions had been unfavourable to the removal of the National Gallery from what the late Sir Robert Peel called "the finest site in Europe." He admitted that the right hon. Gentleman was correct in saying that the Committee of 1850 had recommended the removal of the national pictures from Trafalgar Square; but he did not tell them that the Committee recommended it under the apprehension that the pictures, if continued there, would be deteriorated by the smoke. That objection, however, had been entirely removed of late years, and he thought the right hon. Gentleman was rather unkind towards his noble Friend at the head of the Government (Viscount Palmerston), in not complimenting him on the great success that had attended, he believed, almost the only effort of Parliamentary legislation which the noble Lord had been successful in passing—namely, the Smoke Prohibition Bill. The result of that measure, he had been assured by those who had charge of the pictures, was to banish all fear of deterioration from the smoke—the only possible damage likely to arise to the pictures now being from the dirt which arose from the vast multitudes of people who went to look at the pictures— the numbers being, it seemed to him, a very good reason why they should not change the site of the National Gallery. That the right hon. Gentleman might not say he was overstating that part of the case, he would read a few lines from the Report of the Committee of 1850. They said that the present gallery did not afford sufficient space for the due exhibition of the pictures, but that a considerable addition of space might be obtained by the removal of the Royal Academy from their portion of the gallery; and the Committee further said that if the present site was in all respects suitable for the accommodation of the national pictures, the Committee world at once recommend that the portion now occupied by the Royal Academy should be added to the National Gallery; it appeared, however, to the Committee that the present site, although well adapted for an edifice, was considered by most of the witnesses as unfavourable for the preservation of pictures. That was the only ground alleged by the Committee; but the objections to which they referred had now been entirely removed; and if the Committee were re-appointed to-morrow, there could be no doubt they would recommend the course he was calling upon this Committee to pursue. On going through his catalogue of the Commissions and Inquiries that had been held on this subject, the right hon. Gentleman omitted that which took place about four years ago, and which went to show, in addition, the settled wish of those who took an interest in the subject that the national pictures should remain in Trafalgar Square. It was well known that his right hon. Friend (Mr. Disraeli) announced that the Derby Government did not only recommend that the whole of the site in Trafalgar Square should be taken up for the national pictures, but that they had entered into negotiations with the Royal Academy to consent to convert at their own charge a portion of the Burlington House site, which would give them the requisite accommodation. That announcement, he believed, met with the general concurrence of the Members of that House, and of those out of doors who were interested in the question; and the present Government, by the course they pursued twelve months after they came into office, showed that they adopted and sanctioned and adhered to the decision of their predecessors. But perhaps they would be told in regard to this, as they had been in other important matters, that though they had come to the wise resolution of treading in the footsteps of their predecessors, they had not the moral courage and good sense to act up to it, and they had relapsed into that artistic heresy of which he complained. "Well, he would show that, for at least a year after they came into office, the present adhered to the plan of the late Government. In 1860, when the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works asked the House of Commons first for £13,000, then for £15,000, and afterwards for £17,000, for the purpose of enlarging and improving the National Gallery, an hon. Member who suspected the intentions of Her Majesty's Government put question after question to the right hon. Gentleman, and a very awkward storm of disapprobation was raised at his proposal. It was then late in the Session, there were few independent Members present, and the Government were roasters of the position; but so critical had that position become, that before the Vote was taken the noble Lord, as was his wont, put the right hon. Gentleman and his explanation entirely on one side, took the matter into his own hands, and assured the suspicious independent Members that Her Majesty's Government were absolutely determined that the pictures should remain in Trafalgar Square. He would refresh the right hon. Gentleman's memory with regard to what then took place. The noble Lord at the head of the Government said on that occasion— The Government assumed that the building in Trafalgar Square was to be given up to the National Gallery, and that that building, if so given up now, would suffice for some years for all the pictures belonging to the nation. … They proposed, therefore, to adopt the simplest possible course—to deck over the middle gulf and make an even floor upon the upper story, which for the present would afford sufficient space for the exhibition of the national pictures, and when the Royal Academy should otherwise be provided for would make the building more adapted for the purposes of a national collection, and for years to come would avoid the necessity for the large plan and great expenditure which had been suggested." —[3 Hansard, clx. 1541.] He (Lord John Manners) should have thought that this was stringent enough, but the few Members who were in the House were still suspicious. More questions were put, and the noble Lord was obliged to speak a second time before the Vote was taken, and he said— The plan proposed was calculated to make the present building more suitable than at present for the permanent reception of the national collection." — [Itid. 1544.] Could any words be stronger? The Committee divided, and in consequence of these assurances, by a majority of eight, the expenditure of £17,000 for the purpose of adapting the building in Trafalgar Square for the permanent reception of the national pictures was carried. He could not tell how it was, but so suspicious were certain hon. Members of the intention of the Government that, on the bringing up of the Report, the debate was renewed, and the noble Lord had again to come into the field, and he said— Now that the Royal Academy should go elsewhere was, he apprehended, a question already decided. The material point to be determined upon was where they were to go. The arrangement now making involved the intention of appropriating the whole of the building to the national pictures."—[Ibid. 1591.] After that statement what could the House think of the conduct of Her Majesty's Government in coming to that House, and without any fresh evidence to rely on, and he might say without any substantial reason, to ask the House to forget that they had spent £17,000 on the faith of those assurances, and embark on a further expenditure of £150,000 for ten years, and at the end of that time upon a further expenditure, which he would leave the Committee to estimate? The right hon. Gentleman was rather liberal in his additions to the plans of the architects. One Commission thought that a very handsome building, might be erected for £500,000, but the right hon. Gentleman said they had understated the amount, and that the building to be worthy of the dignity and reputation of the country, could not be erected for less than a million. The right hon. Gentleman gave them no figures on which he founded his estimate, and he gave them no idea of the size of the building which he thought suitable for the dignity and reputation of the country. If, therefore, they were to begin, on his recommendation of a modest building, at £150,000, and then, after destroying the whole of Burlington House, to remodel everything and build over the three acres and a half, he should be doing no injustice to the right hon. Gentleman were he to say that an architectural design of that kind might well cost the million which he proposed to the House as a proper figure to put to the recommendation of the Commissioners. He should be disposed to say, having reference to the very remarkable statements made by the noble Lord in 1860, that if the Government proposed a scheme for the removal of the National Gallery to Burlington House, it would be something very like obtaining money under false Parliamentary pretences. No language could be stronger than the noble Lord's, and in con- sequence of that the House voted the £17,000. He would not press that point further. Every hon. Gentleman would be able to estimate for himself the value of those strong and decided asseverations of the noble Lord; but he said if, after the expenditure of the £17,000, they were now to incur a further outlay of £150,000 at once (and no human being could tell how much at the end of ten years), and to which they must add that £17,000 to the expenditure asked for then, the right hon. Gentleman ought to be able to show he had entered into an arrangement with the Royal Academy, in virtue of which they would refund to the Government the £17,000 which, under these circumstances, would have been expended for their sole and exclusive benefit. The Committee would observe that throughout the right hon. Gentleman's speech he had not uttered a single syllable what the future relations of the Government to the Royal Academy were to be. He had not told them under what form the arrangement with the Royal Academy was to be carried out—whether the £17,000 was to be refunded; whether the Royal Academy had entered into any arrangement as to rendering up the present building, which the noble Viscount stood alone in regarding as a creditable and handsome one, or for refronting that which the right hon. Gentleman had declared to be an ugly, poor, and miserable building. He had left the Committee entirely in the dark as to what was to be done with the building in Trafalgar Square when he had handed it over to the Royal Academy. All he had done was to assure the Committee that he did not intend at present to spend more than £150,000 in the rear of Burlington House, and at the end of ten years to come down and ask for more. The right hon. Gentleman went into the question of site, and not being successful in showing that the plan was a very economical one, he attempted to show that the Burlington House site was the best one for a national collection of pictures. He must say that he did not think that in that part of his argument the right hon. Gentleman had been more successful than in his appeal to the financial part of the question. It was admitted that the objection of smoke was got over, but he did not know whether the Committee required to be informed of the admirable nature of the Trafalgar Square site for a great national collection. The right hon. Gentleman, however, having pointed out a site which he had declared to be preferable, the Committee would not object to hear a few testimonials from men who were entitled to speak with authority upon this question. The late Sir Charles Barry, in 1848, expressed a decided opinion in his last examination in favour of the present site being retained, and he said he was more and more confirmed in opinion, that of all the sites in London it was the most desirable. The hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Tite), in 1863, in his evidence before the last Commission, expressed himself favourable to the site, and said the general feeling in its favour had been well expressed by the late Mr. Alderman Cubitt, who said he was accustomed to go there easily—he knew his way there, and he thought it was a proper place for a national collection; and Mr. Tite added he thought it was a very common feeling, and he agreed in opinion with Sir Charles Barry. Mr. Hurlstone was of opinion that a central situation for a National Gallery was of vital importance, and that without that condition it did not fulfil the objects for which it was established. The present National Gallery was now occupying the finest site in Europe, and it possessed the advantage of an almost infinite capability of extension by a quadrangle in the rear, and of becoming inferior to none on the Continent for convenience and extent. Much of the evidence in favour of the Trafalgar Square site was given before certain great metropolitan improvements had been effected. If Trafalgar Square was the most accessible and most central situation ten or fifteen years ago, it was infinitely more so now. They had taken means for effecting the purification of the Thames, and for making an embankment along its shores; they had given facilities for railways to come into the heart of London, and at the present time they had a great railway station at Charing Cross, which would bring in thousands of the working classes to witness and admire the national pictures at Trafalgar Square. There were also a multitude of steamers plying on the Thames, which landed their passengers in close proximity to Trafalgar Square; and at no distant period the course of metropolitan improvements and new railways would tend to bring increased numbers from the northern districts. For the reasons he had stated, from the evidence before the Committee of 1861, and the Commission of 1863, and bearing in his recollection all the circumstances in con- nection with this subject, he saw no reason for the removal of the site in Trafalgar Square. The right hon. Gentleman talked of the inconvenience of the present site in Trafalgar Square, and told them that people took their umbrellas in. Was he serious in adducing this as an argument to the House of Commons for the removal of the National Gallery? And the right hon. Gentleman told them that the soldiers went in. Goodness gracious ! why should they not? You could do the people no greater kindness than by giving them access to anything that would educate their taste. He should have thought that the right hon. Gentleman, attached as he was to a Government professing such a desire to elevate the lower classes, would not urge this as a reason for transferring the collection. Why did they not act on this principle on the present occasion? Why were they to remove the collection from the site that was fitted for and suitable to the great body of the people? Well, there is a reason, and the Committee will probably think it an extraordinary one. Before the Committee of the House of Lords in 1861, Lord Overstone stated his opinion that Burlington House would be the best site, and being asked his reasons for that opinion, said— In the first place, I think it is important, as regards a site for the National Gallery, that it should be in immediate connection with the great thoroughfares, at the same time, however, affording retirement and seclusion from them, and it seems to me that Burlington House presents, in that respect, peculiar facilities and advantages. The right hon. Gentleman had enlarged on that, and pointed out what a benefit having a long passage to traverse would be to people who had to snatch half an hour or an hour from their daily labour to approach that passage. And then the noble Lord went on to say— I think, in the second place, the present elevation of Burlington House is peculiarly graceful and elegant"— But at the end of ten years, according to the right hon. Gentleman, it was doomed— The equal of which, in the general opinion of the community, we should stand little chance in producing if we made the attempt… …In addition to that, such a removal of the National Gallery to Burlington House would enable the Royal Academy to remain in its present position, which, from its extreme publicity, is well suited for the purposes of the Royal Academy, while it is, on the same account, rather disadvantageous for the purposes of the National Gallery. He (Lord J. Manners) ventured to take a totally different view. In. his opinion, for the same reason, it was advantageous for the National Gallery. According to his view the National Gallery was something for the use of the nation, and not for any class. If it was on a site convenient for students that was a recommendation; if it was on a site convenient to the man of leisure, who could go at any time and often, all very well; but, above all other considerations, they should have a site that was convenient to the great masses of the people who had not leisure, and to whom every half hour was of importance. And so far from such a site not being a good one he thought it was the best, and differed entirely from those who thought a secluded site the best. Then, after Lord Overstone had given his evidence, Sir Charles Eastlake — Sir Charles Eastlake was not exactly, as Mrs. Malaprop said, three gentlemen at once, but he was undoubtedly two—the Director of the National Gallery and the President of the Royal Academy—and he (Lord John Manners) wished to take this opportunity of tendering his cordial tribute to his services in both capacities; but Sir Charles East-lake being asked to give his opinion on this question of site, naturally felt himself in a difficulty, and the Committee would, no doubt, be amused by a reference to two parts of that gentleman's evidence. Sir Charles Eastlake, being asked by Lord Colchester why it was considered essential that the buildings for the Royal Academy should be erected upon that portion of Burlington House which was next to Piccadilly, replied— For the objects of the Royal Academy during the annual exhibition, it is essential that they should be near a thoroughfare. Lord Colchester then asked— You would object to their being placed in the garden behind the existing houses? And Sir Charles promptly replied— It would be tantamount to the extinction of the institution. The Committee—all able men—were naturally startled by so strong an expression of opinion, and he was further asked— What would be your opinion of Burlington House, with the present open space in front of it, and the gardens behind it, as a desirable or undesirable site for the National Gallery?—I think it would be a very good site. Can you suggest any better site?—I cannot. Then Lord Stanley of Alderley — not a person, be it remembered, hostile to Her Majesty's Government, but a Member of the Cabinet—put this question— Is not the present site as good, if not better, than Burlington House, and would not all the reasons that have been urged to the advantage of the present site for the Royal Academy equally apply with regard to the exhibition of the National Gallery? That was certainly a very awkward question, and Sir Charles replied as follows:— I confess I think there is some truth in the reasons I have heard given by Lord Overstone, with regard to the comparative seclusion of Burlington House; I think that a quiet preparation before approaching pictures by the Old Masters is desirable. It never struck me before; but I have been impressed with that and other observations I have heard from Lord Overstone. And again he is asked— You think that calm preparation, which is desirable before approaching the Old Masters, is not necessary before-entering upon a collection by modern artists? To which he replies— I quite think so. I think that the works of our fellow citizens are more nearly allied to present and public interests; and that the transition is easier from the crowds of London to the efforts of living artists than to productions which belong to a remote period. Now Lord Overstone, who started this view of the subject, seemed to be impressed by the very peculiar position which the Director of the National Gallery and the President of the Royal Academy had been made to occupy through his fault, and he put this question— Is not it the case that modern works have more the character of a show, while the exhibition of the Old Masters has more the character of study? To which the President of the Royal Academy replies— I do not like to use the word 'show,' with regard to the excellent pictures which we sometimes see on the walls of the Royal Academy, but I admit the principle completely. The Under Secretary (Mr. Layard) said this was the true principle to go on. If that was so, had the country been under a delusion for many years? They had always assumed, and he did so now, that the national collection should be on a site where the nation could see it. Now, with respect to the Royal Academy, his noble Friend the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho), who was going to support this proposal, had found great fault with the management of that institution. He (Lord John Manners) did not profess to be a virtuoso, or to know much about the character, constitution, and results of the Royal Academy. He did not wish to say a single word against that body or the works which they had exhibited—he had great regard for the first, and great admiration for the second. But when they were asked, without a word of explanation from the Government, as to what was to be done respecting the Royal Academy, to hand over to them the finest site in Europe, he must entreat the Committee to reflect for a moment upon the essential distinction between the functions of the Royal Academy and of the National Gallery. The Royal Academy, from the necessity of its existence, could open its doors, and then only for a money payment during a very short period of the year. For a money payment during three months of the year only the public were admitted within its walls. The National Gallery was open without payment four days in every week all the year round; and, therefore, when the House of Commons was called upon to sanction a transfer of this sort, and to hand over this most valuable, this most desirable, and this which was described as "the finest site in Europe," to a private body, who charged a shilling for every person who went in, and who could not, from the nature of their operations, open their doors for nine months in the year, he thought this a very serious consideration of itself. They had heard something of "reticence and reserve," and when they added the "reticence and reserve "practised by the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of "Works as to any stipulation or engagement entered into by the Royal Academy when they obtained possession of this national building, he thought the Committee would agree that this was a most rash and hasty conclusion to which Her Majesty's Government had arrived. So much as to site. Now, as to space. The right hon. Gentleman gave the Committee to understand that the true policy was to build new galleries vast enough to receive all the presents and bequests which in all time to come might be made to the nation. He thought this a most curious principle. It was notorious that the National Gallery had received as presents much which those intrusted with the management would rather not exhibit. It was said that if pictures were not liked they might be rejected. But when whole collections were left to the nation, it was necessary to accept or to reject the whole. He submitted, therefore, that it was a dangerous principle to build galleries in order to receive every bequest or gift that might possibly be made to the nation. The proper principle to proceed on was to build on a site capable of future additions a gallery large enough to receive the pictures the nation already had, and not one large enough for anything beyond that which they might or might not hereafter receive. If they provided sufficient space for the pictures they had, and sufficient space could hereafter be made available for those they might acquire, then the Committee had done all that was required. He believed there was ample space at Trafalgar Square to accommodate all the existing pictures, together with the probable accretions to the collection, at a slight expense. The time must come when the accretions must be brought to a termination. We could not go on adding to the collection indefinitely. Something like 2,000 pictures would be a collection to which it would not be advisable to make additions. He repudiated, therefore, the notion of having gigantic brick and mortar erections, for the accommodation of innumerable pictures—good, bad, and indifferent. The right hon. Gentleman said there was an available space at Burlington House, fully equal to the area of Trafalgar Square; but there was room in the National Gallery's own premises, after Incurring only a small expense. Witness the evidence of Sir Charles Barry and Mr. Pennethorne before the different Committees. A scheme had bee n prepared by an officer of the National Gallery, according to which, at a very slight expense, an additional gallery, 200 feet by forty, could be obtained in the rear of the existing National Gallery without buying a single inch of land. The right hon. Gentleman said that scheme had not found favour with the military authorities; but he (Lord John Manners) had reason to believe that the highest military authorities had no objection whatever to the scheme. If further space were required in process of time, it was a great mistake to suppose that the military authorities were wedded to the site of Trafalgar Square for their barracks. They were perfectly ready to have their barracks put in another position; this was a mere question of cost, and there was no difficulty in the matter. The space which might thus be acquired on the present site, with a portion of the barrack-yard, would afford accommodation to the National Gallery for years to come, and might be cheaply and well given. There was a proposal of Sir Charles Barry for refronting the National Gallery, and adding three or four times the existing accommodation. He (Lord John Manners) did not recommend that plan, nor any other in particular; but there it was. Besides, Mr. Pennethorne had made a plan with a like view. So also had Captain Fowke, and his scheme would add tenfold to the present accommodation for about £50,000 All these schemes were before the House, with the sanction of eminent and practical names; and all he said with regard to them was, that they constituted reasons why the Committee might safely reject the proposed Vote, on the ground of expense, on the ground of space, and on the ground of site. It had been urged that if the National Gallery were retained at Trafalgar Square, and the Royal Academy spent £50,000, £60,000, or £70,000 in building rooms at Burlington House, they would have no money left to carry out their needed and projected reforms. This meant merely that if this Vote were passed the building in Trafalgar-Square, upon which in 1860 some £17,000 was expended, was to be handed over to the Royal Academy in perpetuity, with no condition that they were to spend any money at all in improving it, and indeed with no probability of their doing so; for if the money is to be spent in effecting the reforms suggested by the noble Lord's (Lord Elcho's) Commission, it will not be available for other purposes. This was a proposal which would hardly find favour with the House or the country. He believed that if the House had any regard to space, to economy, and to the feelings and wishes of the great body of the people out of doors, he might with confidence ask them to reject the Supplemental Estimate, the more so as such a course would have the effect of settling the question, at all events for the present generation. Those who voted for the removal of the National Gallery to Burlington House would do their best to lose a situation which was in the highest degree popular, and at the same time admirably adapted to the requirements of such an institution; while those who voted against the proposal of the Government would have the satisfaction, if they succeeded, of knowing that they had prevented the carrying out of a mischievous, uncalled for, and extravagant scheme. The noble Lord, in conclusion, said he would vote for the rejection of the supplemental Estimate for the new National Gallery, Burlington House.


said, he intended to vote for the proposal of the Government with a perfect conviction that we had arrived at the point at which the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman was the only one that could be accepted. He believed that no person ever passed the present National Gallery building without feelings of disgust. There were buildings to whose unpretentious ugliness one became reconciled; but about the National Gallery building there was something perpetually intolerable and offensive. Inside, matters were almost worse. The whole of Europe might be ransacked without finding a building so unfitted in every respect for the reception of a national collection of pictures. If they wished to amend the exterior they must pull it down; they could only render the interior fit for use by gutting it entirely. The noble Lord opposite (Lord J. Manners) had referred to the opinion of Sir Charles Barry. Well, he (Mr. Gregory) had been looking to the evidence of Sir Charles Barry in 1848. He said— I am of opinion that if the site of St. Martin's Workhouse were purchased, if an alteration were made in the barrack-yard, if a piece of Castle Street were stopped, and if the portico and other portions of the building were taken down, and if considerable additions were made to the present building, then I should consider the site to be one of the best in England. But the noble Lord had forgotten to state that when Sir Charles Barry was asked in 1857, whether he still continued to believe that the present site of the National Gallery was the best, he replied that he had modified that opinion, and that he considered the British Museum was the best site for the Gallery of Pictures. The question was, first of all, with regard to space. We had to house all the pictures, many of which were at present insufficiently housed. We had to bring into one collection the pictures now scattered about. But there were the national drawings, at this moment at the British Museum, and to dissociate which from the national pictures appeared to be a ridiculous solecism. The noble Lord had spoken of the determination evinced by the House of Commons, under Lord Derby's Administration, that the National Gallery should remain where it was and the Royal Academy be sent away; and he asked where was the further evidence to account for a change of opinion since that event. Well, since the Government of Lord Derby the subject had been under the consideration of a fresh Commission, and that Commission had recommended the removal of the Gallery to Burlington House. The Commission had also given it as their opinion that, even if the space now occupied by the Royal Academy were given up to the National Gallery, the remedy would be only temporary, as the pictures might be expected to outgrow in a few years the space available in the entire building. In a few years it would be necessary to obtain the ground occupied by the barracks, and' the baths and wash-houses in the rear; and this would involve considerable practicable difficulty as well as expense. The hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Tite) had been referred to by the noble Lord; but that hon. Member when examined before the Royal Commission said that, while retaining his opinion in favour of the existing site, he had re-considered the subject, and thought that it would cost half a million of money to place on it all that was necessary for the purposes of the National Gallery, while the Government scheme was estimated to cost no more than £152,000. Considering the cheering with which the noble Lord's speech was received, chiefly from below the gangway, it would seem that those vigilant guardians of the public purse had no scruple whatever in spending £500,000. ["No, no !"] He confessed he was not prepared to pay this sum to buy fresh ground, when, at that moment, they had got ground in two places, each fit for sites for our Galleries and Museums. They had bought ground at Burlington House, and they did not know what to do with it. They had bought ground at Kensington, and they were racking their imagination and brains to find out what to do with it. He wished that hon. Members would go to the National Gallery oftener in order to see the class of women by whom it was frequented. The visitors really appeared to him to consist of housemaids and soldiers. He had been there frequently himself, and so could bear personal testimony to the fact. The noble Lord had spoken of the accessibility of the present Gallery, but he regarded Burlington House as being also extremely central— it was one of the most acceptable places in the whole of London, and he did not believe that the public would be the slightest sufferers by the change. Considering that this was a matter in which action ought to be taken at once, and considering that the plan which the right hon. Gentleman proposed not only provided for the present pictures, but for future acquisitions, and considering that all this could be done for a comparatively small sum of money, he would most cordially support the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman.


said, that one very strong recommendation of the present site of the National Gallery was that it formed a very fine space capable of enlargement, and made the building what a National Gallery in every other capital appeared, a conspicuous object. A heavy expense had been incurred in adjusting the square in front of it, and the building, though many hon. Gentlemen objected to the architecture, was, in his eye, plain, simple, and handsome; the portico, which was removed from Carlton House, being very beautiful. At the time the building was erected complaints were made that it wanted heighth; but if the dome and what were called the "pepper-boxes" were taken away, a very fine gallery might be constructed above the present rooms, and elevation would thus be given to the whole structure. The sum of £17,000, which was expended in altering the interior, was granted expressly on the condition that the building should permanently remain the National Gallery. The right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works had said that the proposed new gallery would all be lighted from above; but it was a great mistake to have a picture gallery entirely lighted in that way. A large proportion of pictures were painted from a side light, and there ought to be a side light in portions of a National Gallery, in order that some pictures, and particularly cabinet pictures, might be viewed in the same light as they were painted in. The National Gallery was so favourably situated that an additional set of apartments erected on the top of the present would be completely placed above the thick atmosphere of London, which did not ascend above a certain height. True, there was a large chimney belonging to the Government waterworks at the back constantly belching out smoke; but that chimney was under the special charge of the right hon. Gentleman the Commissioner of Works, and, when an Act of Parliament had been passed to do away with smoke, it was disgraceful that so much smoke from that chimney was allowed to be sent forth. At Burlington House the light would come entirely from two dark streets—Cork Street and Burlington Street. He believed that the coat of the present National Gallery, taking into account the money spent on the ornamentation of the square and for the purpose of making alterations in the gallery itself, amounted to upwards of £200,000, and he asked whether that expenditure was to be entirely lost, and the whole thing handed over to the Royal Academy. What would be the expense of the new gallery? The right hon. Gentleman confessed to £150,000, but that estimate was likely to be more than doubled in the end, and it was perfectly ludicrous to suppose that anything would be gained by beginning to construct a new National Gallery. He hoped the House would adhere to its previously expressed opinion, and that the Government also would regard its promise, while for himself he should support the Motion of the noble Lord.


said, that after the speech of the noble Lord he wished to make a few remarks in reply. In the first place, he thought the noble Lord did not agree with the hon. Member who spoke last in fervent admiration of the existing building. It was humiliating to the nation that its fine pictures should be placed in a building so unworthy of them. It was an ignoble, disjointed, mean, and petty building, and yet full of pretension. The exterior was unsatisfactory, and the internal arrange merits were equally so. The rooms were too low for the proper lighting of the pictures and too small for the circulation of the visitors. It was wanting both in the dignity and the convenience of a national building. As the noble Lord knew, the gallery was not large enough to contain all the pictures that ought to be hung. If, however, it was possible to remain content with the present building, he would not propose to interfere with it; but when it was a question of building, it was proper to consider the right place and the right way of building. The suggestion of the noble Lord to run a light gallery over the barrack-yard was open to the objection that it would interfere with the light and air of the barracks, while the visitors to the gallery would be annoyed by the noises in the barrack-yard underneath them. The noble Lord's proposal would not prevent the large expenditure which had been alluded to, as although the gallery as constructed according to the noble Lord's proposal would contain all our pictures now banished to Kensington, yet a demand for enlargement would speedily arise, and then any addition would involve the expenditure of a very large sum of money. The scheme of the noble Lord would be inconvenient and unsatisfactory, and, if adopted, would deprive the country of an opportunity of obtaining the best gallery in Europe. He did not so much refer to the exterior, and they knew that in most galleries the internal arrangements had been sacrificed to the architectural demands of the exterior; yet he thought the scheme of placing a long gallery at right angles with the present building would produce a very ridiculous "effect, contrasting the new and handsome elevation with the present low and mean building. There were no satisfactory picture galleries in France or Italy, and the only models for imitation were to be found at Dresden and Munich. But recent experience of galleries built for temporary purposes had taught us much, and in the Exhibition buildings at Dublin, Manchester, Paris, and at Kensington, they had seen galleries where pictures had been properly hung, and conveniently seen by multitudes of persons. For those Exhibitions the architects had thought only of placing the pictures and the free circulation of the visitors, and therefore they had been completely successful. All the advantages secured at those places could be secured in the new site; but the noble Lord's proposal was a retrograde step from which we could never recover. Before it had become clear that the existing gallery was insufficient for the national pictures, the Government did all in their power to make it as useful and convenient as possible. They covered over the central hall which, separating the National Gallery from the Royal Academy, was of no use and of no architectural beauty, and thus they obtained what was now the only good room in the building, and enabled the country to receive the Turner bequest without the risk of delay and without the expense of building. If the plan which he proposed were adopted, the new gallery would be erected at Burlington House, and then it would remain for Parliament and the Government to decide to what use the building in Trafalgar Square could be applied. Although he thought the national pictures required a building of greater dignity and better arrangement than the present National Gallery, yet he did not think that for exhibitions of modern pictures annually held these faults would be so marked. He thought, therefore, that it would be a good thing to hand the building over to the Royal Academy. He proposed that, not for the benefit of the Royal Academy, but for the benefit of the national pictures, which could be best provided for in a building expressly erected for the purpose at Burlington House. But no arrangement had been entered into with the Royal Academy. That would be a matter for further consideration. If the Royal Academy were allowed to possess that building—and it was very important that the annual exhibition of modern pictures should be in a place where they could be well seen, since crowds of people took the utmost interest in them, and there could be no doubt that exhibition promoted art— if the Royal Academy were to take possession of that building it would, of course, not be expected that they should have it without paying for it. There was one way in which they might pay for it—namely, if the opinion of those persons should prevail who greatly desired to see improvements of the facade of the National Gallery, the Royal Academy might be required to do that work. If, on the other hand, it was thought desirable that they should pay rent, the Royal Academy would be able to do so. And they should remember that the alternative proposition made by the late Government in 1857 did give gratuitously a site to the Royal Academy, and that site being about a quarter of the whole ground, which cost £140,000, what was proposed to be given to the Royal Academy would be worth £35,000 or £38,000. Whatever other arrangements should be made, he hoped the Committee would not lose the opportunity of getting a gallery which would be worthy of our pictures, and the internal arrangements of which would at least carry out this practical purpose— that the pictures should be seen. It should be remembered that there was a good deal of smoke around Trafalgar Square. Smoke was still found in the building, and was doing material damage to the pictures. Again, sufficient protection was not given from fire. If the pictures were burnt the loss would be irreparable. Modern pictures might be painted over again, but nothing could supply the place of the Old Masters. With reference to the question on the paper as to finding further accommodation for the University of London at Burlington House, he feared there was not much prospect of that without interfering with the accommodation required for other objects.


said, that if the noble Lord (Lord John Manners) had remained a short time longer in office something would have been done in this matter. He could not assent to this Vote unless there should be some agreement come to between the Government and the Royal Academy. Six years ago the Royal Academy would have accepted the offer of the noble Lord to build their own gallery in Burlington Gardens, and if the Government had given them a site of the value just mentioned, that would have given a sufficient hold upon them to oblige them to come to any terms the House might have chosen to lay down. That arrangement was broken up; the Royal Commission did not appear to have advanced them at all, and the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cowper) now came down with a scheme the only recommendation of which appeared to be that it was the very reverse of the scheme of the noble Lord. In his opinion the site of the National Gallery was the best site for the national pictures. The Royal Academy was a very popular exhibition for three months in the year, and wherever it might go the public would be sure to find it out, and visit the collection as readily as they did in its present situation. Nor did he see what claim they had to have the whole of the site handed over to them. The right hon. Gentleman attributed to the noble Lord a wish to build a gallery at right angles to the present building, reaching over the barrack square; but all the noble Lord said was, that there was every facility for obtaining increased accommodation if it was required. He, however, believed that there was sufficient accommodation in the building for the present collection, and that there would be for years to come.


said, that his vote on this subject would be solely dictated by an honest belief as to what would be for the real interest of art. His noble Friend thought it for the interest of art that the pictures should remain in Trafalgar Square, but in that he differed from him. He thought it would be for the interests of art that the pictures should be transferred to Burlington House. In 1856, when he brought forward the subject of a Royal Commission, he had a wild vision of all these fine works of art being collected together at Kensington Palace. That was a Utopian scheme, and he no longer believed in it. The Commission of 1856 reported in favour of the retention of the pictures on the present site, but they qualified it so far that they said it should be sufficiently enlarged. He read the Report as mainly directed against the attempt to remove the pictures to Kensington Gore. The spirit of the Report was that the collection should be placed in a central situation; and when they considered how London was spreading on all sides, the difference between the centralness of Trafalgar Square and Burlington House was hardly worth mentioning. The subsequent Commission of Inquiry into the Royal Academy two years later reported last year. What was the conclusion with reference to the national pictures? That if they were prepared to make the additional accommodation at Trafalgar Square it would be well that the national collection should remain there; but, if they were to remain, they must be prepared to purchase the barracks and build others elsewhere. He believed the Chelsea barracks cost £250,000 and the site £100,000. His hon. Friend took a Utopian view, and wished to sweep away the barracks, the baths and wash-houses, and other buildings, and to erect a new National Gallery for the sake of the public. But there was not the slightest prospect of the Government proposing, or of that House sanctioning, in our day, any such scheme as that. If, indeed, they were willing to do that in the interest of the pictures, let them do it, and probably they would get as good a gallery as at Burlington House. But he did not believe they were prepared for such an expenditure. They would rather go on patching, cribbing a bit from the barracks here, and another bit there. When his noble Friend came to that part of his case, the House evidently felt that it was the weakest part, for the cheers which had previously greeted him then ceased. His noble Friend said all he proposed to do was to find space for the present collection; and when he came to speak of a provision for the future, it merely amounted to the covering over of a small portion of the barrack-yard. The alternatives which the House had really to look in the face were either a large expenditure for sweeping away the barracks and the workhouse, and then building on that site, or the adoption of the plan of the Government for transferring the collection to Burlington House. Under all the circumstances of the case he recommended the adoption of the practical and useful suggestion of the Government. The feeling among many hon. Members appeared to be, that the proposal of the Government was a job for the benefit of the Royal Academy. Now, no one would accuse him of an over-favourable disposition towards the Royal Academy, and he had always felt surprised that he should ever have had the honour of being invited to dine there, because on more than one occasion he had deemed it his duty to call attention to the defects in the administration and constitution of that body. But the House ought to dissever the question of the accommodation for the national pictures from the question of the accommodation for the Royal Academy. Let them settle what was best for the national pictures, wholly irrespective of the Royal Academy. They would, he believed, do what was best for the national pictures if they adopted the proposal of the Government. Having done that, it would be left for the House next year to consider whether they should hand over the rest of the building to the Royal Academy, which was now in occupation of one part of it. If the Government were ever in a position to make that proposal, he hoped they would take care to exact from the Royal Academy such conditions for the interest of art as would justify the handing over of that portion of the building to it. Though the Royal Academy was nominally a private institution, it was essentially a public institution, or so far so, at least, that no private association of artists could compete with it—that it had a monopoly of art in this country. And it was the duty of the House of Commons so to regulate that monopoly in the interests of artists and of art that it would be a sound and rightly conducted national institution. It would not follow, if they transferred the national pictures to Burlington House, that therefore the building in Trafalgar Square should not be improved. One of the conditions to be imposed on the Royal Academy might be that it should spend on the present building the sum it proposed to expend elsewhere. What with the fountains, what with the statues to Havelock and Napier, with the Nelson column, and one thing or another, they had done what they could to disfigure the finest site in Europe. [An hon. MEMBER: The Lions.] Sir Edwin Landseer had been four years engaged upon these lions, and Baron Marochetti stated that Sir Edwin Landseer daily worked harder on them than he did. ["Question!"] Let them not discourage a distinguished artist who was giving his time and skill for a mere trifle. ["Question!"] He had thought it might not be uninteresting to hon. Gentlemen to know from one who had seen Sir Edwin at work, that when completed these lions would gain for him a name as a sculptor of animals equal to that which he now possessed as a painter. In conclusion, he hoped that the Committee would not hastily reject a Vote which he was sure was one the Government had brought forward in the interest of art.


said, that if when the noble Lord opposite (Lord John Manners) made his clear and conclusive speech the House had been as full as it was now, the Government must have been induced to withdraw the Vote in deference to the general feeling. The noble Lord had shown that at the period when the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire announced to the House that the National Gallery was to remain where it was, the statement was received with unanimous satisfaction on both sides. The noble Viscount now at the head of the Government in 1860 fully accepted that announcement; and in asking for a Vote of £17,000, pledged himself that the National Gallery should remain where it was for the reception of the National pictures, and that an early arrangement should be made for the Royal Academy to quit the building. How was it that, in face of such statements, the question had remained in abeyance? It was on account of the ideas entertained by the managers of matters at Kensington, who, in one of their earliest Reports, claimed to have the National Gallery removed thither; and the influence of that illustrious body continued until the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire announced, simultaneously with his statement that the National Gallery should be devoted to the national pictures, that the Government had dissolved its partnership with the Kensington people. Why had the noble Viscount not kept his pledge? It was said there had been the Report of a Commission which had changed the current of opinion both in and out of the House. The noble Lord (Lord Elcho) did not seem accurately to recollect the transactions of his own Commission; for on the question of the site for a new National Gallery, they stated that they forbore, as being beyond their province, from giving any opinion. The views of the Commissioners, so far as they had entered into the question, were rather remarkable. Their idea was, that it was necessary to provide accommodation in the form of rooms for the Royal Academy, in order that the Government might be able to exercise what they thought a legitimate control over the Academy. They proposed that the Government should nominate certain lay Academicians, who were to have no knowledge of art, and who, in addition to the duties intrusted to them in the management of the Royal Academy itself, might be expected to render important services in Parliament and elsewhere. For example, they were to satisfy the natural curiosity of Members of either House with respect to the proceedings of the Academy, and they were to advise the Chief Commissioner and the Government upon all subjects relating to art, in order that such mistakes as had hitherto occurred might be avoided in future. Such was the purpose for which Parliament was now asked to make a present of £140,000, at least, to the Royal Academy. The evidence taken before the Commissioners threw a light upon the probable views of the lay Academicians, for he found the noble Lord (Lord Elcho), after stating that the site in Trafalgar Square was a fine one, asking whether, if they obtained possession of it, the Royal Academy would undertake to remove the unsightly things there; and, as he had not then fallen in love with the lions, which he had since seen, whether they would take away the Nelson Column among the rest. It thus appeared that for £140,000 Parliament was to buy the right to put lay members into the Royal Academy, that those distinguished gentlemen, with no professional knowledge of art, were to regulate all the proceedings of the Government and the Chief Commissioner in all matters of art; and, finally, that the Royal Academy were to he accommodated with rooms, on condition that they should remove the Nelson Column and all the rest of the monuments in Trafalgar Square, leaving the lions to the admiration of the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire. He thought the House would pause before giving up a public site to a private body, especially since there was a large amount of public property behind the National Gallery, which, without the frontage, would be of no use at all. It was not true that the noble Lord the Member for Leicestershire (Lord John Manners) had proposed any particular scheme. What he had said was, that there was public property behind the National Gallery, and that the very persons paraded as authorities by the Government had themselves suggested plans which would be quite sufficient to provide for all the wants of the nation for many years, as far as the exhibition of pictures was concerned. But, besides that, the House had the pledge of the noble Viscount at the head of the Government— a pledge on the faith of which a large sum of money had been voted—that the National Gallery, if all devoted to the exhibition of pictures belonging to the nation, would itself be sufficient for many years to come. Moreover, it was to be remembered that Trafalgar Square was not a mere thoroughfare, but a point to which many great thoroughfares converged; omnibuses and cheap conveyances of every kind passed through it in hundreds, the great penny thoroughfare of the Thames came close up to it, and that in the immediate vicinity there was now a railway in communication with all parts of the kingdom. It was in all respects a locality in which a public institution like the National Gallery should be placed. What reason, he asked, was there that the nation should be driven from its own natural habitation in order that the Royal Academy, a mere visitor, might take possession of its property in perpetuity? He believed the Royal Academy was willing to accept the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bucks; and he was quite sure that, if allowed to erect its own building at its own cost, it would flourish more than if taken under the control of the Government, seduced into silence and acquiescence by a bribe of £140,000.


said, that much had been said in the interest of art—he wished to make a remark in the interest of the taxpayers. On Friday last the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had read a severe lecture to some hon. Members who ventured to suggest that justice should be done to certain naval officers at the expense of a few thousand pounds; and he called on the House to support him in resisting the Motion, and spoke of the suffering which a large portion of the taxpayers endured by reason of the imposts which he was obliged to levy from them. Now, however, the right hon. Gentleman, when a Vote of £150,000 was asked for, for the removal of the National Gallery from the site which a majority of hon. Members considered the best suited for it, sat in silence, and said not a word on behalf of those who would have to find the money. Why did he not lecture the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cowper) for proposing the present Vote? He (Mr. Ferrand) appealed to the financial reformers below the gangway, and reminded them that in a few months they must appear before the electors, and that their votes would be commented upon on the hustings; and that, if they supported the Government in this gross job, they would many of them find themselves at the bottom of the poll.


said, the chief argument in favour of the Government proposal had been stated to be that of economy. Now, in 1848, Sir Charles Barry on being asked to give his opinion as to what could be done with the site in Trafalgar Square, prepared a plan which showed that the National Gallery might be so extended and improved as to afford six times the amount of accommodation now given to the national pictures and the Royal Academy combined. Sir Charles Barry had shown how by taking part of the site of the workhouse and a part of the barracks a gallery might be erected sufficient for the wants of a century to Come. When a railway company could go to any quarter of London and build a large terminus, laying out in various ways the ground round about it, why should the Government alone be impotent to procure sufficient space for an important public institution? It was the Kensington Gore scheme which prevented the Report of the Committee of 1848 being acted upon. Anybody looking at the Reports of that Committee might see there was a practical course traced out which the Government had nothing to do but to follow with advantage to the country. On the ground of economy he supported the proposition of the noble Lord opposite.


said, he had not the honour of being acquainted with a single member of the Royal Academy, and had not to acknowledge even the compliment which was paid to his noble Friend (Lord Elcho), so much, it seemed, to his surprise. He looked at this question as simply one of fact, which any hon. Member could decide for himself from his own observation, and without reading the Report of the Commission. The fact was that we had two great institutions side by side—the National Gallery and the Royal Academy. They were both under the same roof, and the building had become so crowded that they were elbowing each other, and one of them must be turned out. The question was, which of the two should be ejected. That was a matter, it seemed to him, which ought to be decided by the degree of popularity which one of these institutions had obtained over the other. He himself was a lover of the Old Masters, and could not, therefore, be supposed to speak with any prejudice in favour of the works of their modern rivals. He was bound, however, to say —and anyone who had looked into the case would corroborate it — that of the two institutions the Royal Academy enjoyed by far the larger share of popularity. He would venture, were it Parliamentary, to make a bet that for one person who went to see the Old Masters fifty at least went to see the exhibition of the Royal Academy. ["No!"] He had no hesitation in asserting that as a fact, and he appealed to anybody who had the means of getting at the statistics to confirm it. He did not put this forward as an evidence of good taste; in his judgment, it showed a want of taste —he mentioned it merely as a fact. It required a different kind of education from that which the public usually received to appreciate the Old Masters, and there were other reasons which accounted for the preference popularly accorded to modern paintings. People had friends among the living artists, and there was a greater demand for their works. He might use the very argument of his hon. Friend behind him, as to the advantage of a central situation like Trafalgar Square, and its great accessibility by the river and the railway, in support of his case. If it were true that the Royal Academy was more frequented than the National Gallery, then they ought to afford to the public greater facilities for visiting it. He did not regard this as a question of public expense. He had no doubt there was about the same economy in the one view as in the other; but he looked at the matter as one of public convenience; and discarding a good deal of prejudice which he must own he had once entertained, he held that, in the interest of the public, it was better that the arrangement now proposed should be carried out than that the Royal Academy should be turned away.


Sir, I wish, in the first place, to explain the change of opinion to which reference has been made. Undoubtedly, in 1860—I think it was—I adopted the decision of the late Government, that the National Gallery was to remain in Trafalgar Square, and that the Royal Academy was to have assigned to it a portion of the ground in Burlington House Gardens, close to Piccadilly, where it might erect a suitable edifice for its own purposes. Subsequent considerations, however, have induced me to alter that view, and I now think that, on the whole, the arrangement which we propose would be best—namely, that the National Gallery should be built on the ground to the rear of Burlington House, and that the Royal Academy should, under certain conditions, hare the use, not the possession, of the building in Trafalgar Square. Now, this is really not a party question. We ought all of us to have the same object at heart, and that is, first, to provide a proper receptacle for the collection of ancient pictures which we now possess, and next, to promote the display of modern art and the education of the artist, so that the public may know from year to year what the progress of art is in this country. With regard to the latter aim, I must say that it seems to me to have been entirely lost sight of in the discussion of this evening. And yet it lies at the root of the whole system of a National Gallery. For what purpose is a nation to have a collection of admirable pictures? They are intended not simply for the gratification of those who go to look at them, but to serve as a means of instruction in the formation of a great and distinguished school of national art. That is the main object of a National Gallery; and it should be combined with a Royal Academy which shall afford the means of instruction to those who had devoted themselves to this profession, and of exhibition to those whose pictures are deemed worthy of display. With regard to the National Gallery, we have more pictures than the present building can contain, and we want additional accommodation. The question is, how to obtain that accommodation at the least expense. The noble Lord (Lord J. Manners) proposes a scheme which would inevitably lead to great expense—it is, that we should enlarge the present building in Trafalgar Square. In order, however, to make such an enlargement as would suffice for the pictures we now possess and those we are likely to obtain, we cannot proceed on the make-shift plan of constructing a gallery set upon iron pillars at the back of the present building. In order to make the gallery answer the purpose it would be necessary to take the barrack yard, to buy the workhouse and the other buildings connected with it; and, to satisfy those who look at the matter with a critical eye, the front of the present building would also have to be altered. That would necessarily involve very great expense; and when the hon. Member for Plymouth (Mr. Ferrand) calls on the Gentlemen below the gangway to recollect that they will have to render an account to their constituencies within a limited period of time, I may use the same argument to induce them to vote for that plan which will produce the best accommodation with the least charge on the public revenue. A good gallery for the exhibition of pictures requires peculiar internal arrangements, and provision must be made for these. Within the ground at Burlington Gardens we can obtain a suitable receptacle for our pictures, ample in accommodation, and satisfactory in regard to the means of displaying them, and we can get this at a less expense than that at which we could procure the same accommodation at the other place. By one plan you will get excellent accommodation at a small cost; by the other you will be led into an enormous expenditure, the amount of which I defy any man precisely to limit; and when it has been incurred you will not have the same advantages for exhibiting your pictures. I do hope, therefore, that this House, which prides itself on its economy, and which often spends hours in discussing very minute sums in the different Estimates, will not, by acceding to the Motion of the noble Lord, lay the foundation for an immense expenditure, but will adopt the more economical and efficient scheme proposed by my right hon. Friend.


Before the Committee goes to a division I hope it will seriously consider the position in which it is placed by the speech just delivered by the noble Lord. I well remember, on an evening when the House was remarkably thin, when there were barely forty Members in it, that the noble Lord induced those forty Members to pass a Vote of £ 17,000 for the enlargement of the Gallery in Trafalgar Square precisely for the reason that he had made up his mind that Trafalgar Square should form the site for the permanent gallery for the receipt of the national collection. At that time the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works—I was going to call him the First Commissioner for Taste—I beg his pardon —had not discovered that these domes were only fit for a suburban villa; he had not discovered that these rooms were narrow, disjointed, petty, and dusty; but he told us that if that £17,000 was laid out on this building it would make it everything which could be wished; and, moreover, that it would adapt it singularly for a permanent National Gallery. To-night, however, the right hon. Gentleman has not only made these discoveries, hut he has actually succeeded in doing that which is still more wonderful—he has converted his noble relative; and now the noble Lord having whiled that £17,000 from our pockets, comes down and says, "I have since seen reason to alter my opinion—you must lay out £150,000 on this Burlington House scheme.'' Really, if I had not had an answer ready to my hand—an answer, too, from the noble Lord's own Chancellor of the Exchequer—I should not have troubled the Committee this evening. My hon. Friend the Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ayrton) had been twitting the Government for their large expenditure on Burlington House, and this is what the Chancellor of the Exchequer says in reply —and it is certainly very curious, that this speech has been allowed to stand without a preface. The hon. Gentleman said— He regretted as much as the hon. Member could do that such long periods should elapse before any conclusion could be arrived at as to the disposal of buildings of that kind, the price of which had been paid and which entailed a large annual charge for interest. He had no hesitation in saying that this and other circumstances of a like kind were entirely owing to the lamentable and deplorable state of our whole arrangement with regard to the management of our public works. Then he goes on to explain the cause of this very much as I should do myself, and it really seems as if the right hon. Gentleman had foreseen the speech which the First Lord of the Treasury has made tonight— Vacillation, uncertainty, costliness, extravagance, meanness, and all the conflicting vices that could be enumerated, were united in our present system. There was a total want of authority to direct and guide. And he concludes in these words—words which I should have been afraid to utter myself, and which certainly seem to require a special preface all to themselves— He believed such were the evils of the system that nothing short of a revolutionary reform would ever be sufficient to rectify it. In the face of declarations such as these, in the face of vacillations such as I have described, not only on the part of the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works, but of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, who has told us tonight that he got that £17,000 not exactly on false pretences, but from not having properly looked into the matter, is the House prepared to vote this estimate of £150,000? Recollect what has been the cost of this wretched place we are sitting in—£750,000 was the original estimate; £3,000,000 has been the cost. The House of Commons will be wanting in its duty to the country if, in spite of the speech of the noble Lord—who, however well fitted to lead us in foreign affairs, is a very bad leader on anything connected with economy—it does not refuse to enter on this expenditure; and I call on those who have any feeling for the public purse to support the Motion of the noble Lord late First Commissioner of Works.

Motion made, and Question put, That a sum, not exceeding £10,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1865, for the erection of the New National Gallery at Burlington House.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 122 Noes 174: Majority 52.

  1. (1.) £51,127, to complete the sum for the Houses of Parliament.
  2. (2.) £39,147, to complete the sum for the Treasury.
  3. (3.) £19,883, to complete the sum for the Home Office.
  4. (4.) £53,015, to complete the sum for the Foreign Office.


said, he would take that occasion to ask for some explanation in respect to the despatches written by and received at the office o the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs He thought that some distinguishing marl should be placed upon the despatches published in the blue-book, in order to show which of them were communicated by telegram, and which had been written it the ordinary way. He must complain of the off-hand and unceremonious manner in which he had been answered by the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs when he asked for information on the subject. That hon. Gentleman, in the absence of the noble Viscount, had replied to him in a manner more worthy of the senior partner of the firm of Quirk, Gammon and Snap, than of an official whose duty it was to furnish such information as was required by that House from the Department which he represented. The privilege of asking questions was one of the most important they possesssd, and he (Mr. Darby Griffith) would never allow it to suffer injury or prejudice in his humble hands.


said, that he could only repeat the explanations he had given upon that subject on former occasions. A large portion of the Government correspondence was at present conducted through the electric telegraph. The despatches were sent in cipher, and the answers to them were communicated in the same form. The Government afterwards published the substance of them, although in different language. The objection to marking despatches sent in cipher with an indication that it had been so sent was that by that means materials would be furnished by which ingenious persons so disposed might obtain a key to the cipher used.


said, that he was not satisfied with the explanation. He looked upon this as a mere piece of official obstinacy and red-tapism.

Vote agreed to.

(5.) 23,421, to complete the sum for the Colonial Office.

(6.) £17,306, to complete the sum for the Privy Council Office.


asked for some explanation of an item of £10,600 charged for Contingent Expenses.


stated that this sum was required to defray the expenditure of the Privy Council Office under the Public Health Act. £3,000 was annually placed at the disposal of the Privy Council to pay medical and other officers who were from time to time deputed to conduct inquiries and experiments; £2,000 was for the national vaccine establishment; £2,000 for vaccination inspection, and the remaining £3,600 was a matter of account arising from the medical department of the Privy Council having been unaware of the rule that payments should only be made out of I the Votes for the current year.


, in reference to the charge for expenses connected: with the inspection of sheep to prevent the spread of disease, desired to call attention to the fifth Report of the medical; officer, ordered to be printed on the 14th of April. He believed it was the desire of the medical officer that the Report should be of great benefit to the country, and he had no doubt the effect of the appointment would be to correct some of the fallacies of the faculty; but, on the other hand, he thought the contents of the Report were enough to raise a panic in the country. Every fifth animal, and by consequence every fifth mutton chop, was stated to be diseased, while there was not only death in the pot but in the pail. The total loss by preventible diseases in cattle was estimated at £6,000,000 yearly. He wished to know who was to be held responsible for such statements, inasmuch as the medical officer who had despatched eminent veterinary surgeons on commissions of inquiry, not only through this country but abroad, disconnected himself in a note at the end of his Report from the opinions put forward by them. The Report stated that much of the epidemic disease was attributable to foreign origin; but if they referred to the Customs Report they would find that the medical officers of that Department stated that in the year when the small-pox broke out amongst the sheep in Wiltshire that not a single sheep entered into London suffering from that disease. On the Continent 2½ per cent covered the losses of the Cattle Insurance Offices, but in this country the Cattle Insurance Offices had to be wound up in consequence of the cattle dying so fast. He was anxious to know how the Inspector and his assistants were paid.


said, the Secretary to the Treasury had already explained the source from which those gentlemen were paid. He did not exactly understand what it was the hon. Gentleman complained of in the Report. He appeared to admit the great ability of the Report generally, but he took exception to Professor Gamgee's Report on cattle diseases in general, who was engaged under the direction of the Inspector to make that Report. There was great doubt as to the origin and extent of the diseases of cattle, and a Select Committee was investigating the subject, and the Inspector had gone into it in such a manner as the great interests of the country demanded. The hon. Gentleman seemed to object to the Vote on account of the discrepancy between the Reports; but, considering the difference of opinion that prevailed on the subject, he did not see how they could require two medical officers to agree before they were paid.

Vote agreed to.


said, that before the Chairman reported Progress, he wished to express a hope with regard to the Vote for the National Gallery. The Committee having rejected the Vote of £150,000 for a new National Gallery in one of its economical fits ["No!"] — well, then, in one of its uneconomical fits ["Oh!"] —he wished to know what course the Government intended to take. The feeling of the Committee appeared to be in favour of retaining the National Gallery in its present site, but any person who had attended to the discussion must have come to the conclusion that the House of Commons desired to have a building in every way worthy of the nation. If not, there was no meaning in the Vote the Committee had come to. Now, he found by a letter to the Treasury, written by Sir Benjamin Hall some years ago, that the estimate of Mr. Hunt, the Surveyor of Public Buildings, for enlarging and improving the National Gallery—an estimate demanded by the Treasury a few years ago—was £500,000; and he wished to know whether, before the Session closed, the Government would be prepared to ask the House for a Vote towards the erection of the new National Gallery, which the Committee wished to occupy the site of the present building. ["No !"] If this was not the wish of the Committee, it had only stultified itself by its Vote that night. He would not press for an answer to his question at that moment, but he would express a hope that the Government would take the matter into consideration.


said, that the noble Lord had assumed a great deal in the interpretation he had put upon the Vote. The House of Commons had simply rejected the scheme of the Government, and had expressed no opinion with regard to a building worthy of the nation. They had expressed no wish that a new National Gallery should be built in Trafalgar Square, but the feeling rather was that a very moderate extension of the present building would be sufficient. What the Committee wanted was to get rid of the Royal Academy. That body had plenty of money, and could afford to build itself a gallery.


wished to know whether the Government would, in consequence of the Vote come to that night, take any steps to make the whole of the National Gallery available for the purposes of the national pictures?

House resumed.

Resolutions to be reported To-morrow;

Committee to sit again on Wednesday.