§ MR. BOWRING
asked the First Commissioner of Works, If it is true that symptoms of decay have recently manifested themselves in additional Frescoes in the Houses of Parliament, especially in those by Mr. Maclise and Mr. Herbert; and, if so, whether he proposes to take immediate steps with a view to arresting, if possible, the further progress of such decay?
§ MR. AYRTON
, in reply, said, it was undoubtedly true that for some time past the surface of these pictures had presented an appearance which greatly detracted from their effect; but what the exact cause of that appearance really was had not hitherto been clearly ascertained. There was a great difference of opinion on the subject. It was doubtful whether the appearance of one of the pictures arose from the natural decay of the picture itself, or from the efflorescence on the surface of some substance capable of being removed without injury to the picture. He had watched the picture with great interest, and had consulted several persons with regard to it. Recently he had the advantage of consulting Mr. Richmond, R.A., who had arrived 1327 at the conclusion that the appearance of the picture was owing to an efflorescence which might be removed from the surface, after which it would be nearly as good as ever. The subject, however, was one which required careful consideration. Dr. Percy, the eminent chemist attached to that House, was endeavouring to ascertain the nature of the substance on the pictures. He was also now making arrangements to secure the services of an eminent picture-cleaner, who had been recommended by Mr. Richmond as being best qualified for the purpose, and it was hoped that the result would be satisfactory.
§ MR. BOWRING
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman's remarks applied to Mr. Maclise's picture of "The Death of Nelson?"