HC Deb 23 May 1867 vol 187 cc935-6

said, he wished to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council, Whether the Secretary of the Department of Science and Art has been appointed Director of the South Kensington Museum; whether two Assistant Directors have also been appointed; and, if so, what are their names, duties, and salaries; whether the Director and Assistant Directors are to act independently of the "Art Referees" in the selection of objects for purchase; and, whether it be true, as stated in the public journals, that purchases have been already made at the Paris Exhibition by the Science and Art Department, and whether such purchases have the approval of the Art Referees? He also wished to ask, when the Estimate for Science and Art will be brought forward; and if the noble Lord is unable to fix a day, whether he will undertake to give sufficient notice on the subject?


in reply, said, the Secretary of the Department of Science and Art had been appointed Director to the Kensington Museum ten years ago. There was a Commission appointed in 1865, which consisted of the right hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Bruce), Sir Charles Trevelyan, and Mr. Shelley. They recommended that when Mr. Cole, the present Secretary, retired, the two offices of Secretary and Director should be separated. They also recommended that three Assistant Directors should be appointed — one for works and lighting, another for the arrangement of objects of science and art, and the third for custody, police, and general duties. Their names were as follow:—the first office was held by Captain Festing of the Royal Engineers, the second by Mr. Thompson, and the third by Mr. Owen. These gentlemen had been for several years in the Museum. Their duties had been re-organized in accordance with the recommendations of the Treasury Committeee, but their salaries had been in no way altered. The Assistant Directors did not act independently of the Art Referees in the selection of objects for purchase. And it was not true that purchases had been made at the Paris Exhibition by the Science and Art Department. In reply to the last Question of the hon. Gentleman, he had to inform him that the day was not yet fixed for taking the Vote for Science and Art. He would take care to give the House ample notice of the day it would be taken.