HC Deb 15 February 1875 vol 222 cc312-3

asked the First Commissioner of Works, Whether he has obtained during the Recess any opinion as to the possibility of restoring the two Maclise Frescoes in the Queen's Gallery of the House of Lords; and, if he has, whether he will lay a Copy of such opinion upon the Table of the House?


In consequence of the representations made by the hon. Member last Session as to the state of Maclise's great water-glass pictures in the Royal Gallery, I, at the close of the Session, addressed myself to my noble Friend Lord Hardinge, and he was good enough to accede to my request and consent to preside over a small Committee, who should inspect those works of art, and say what should be done with them. Besides Lord Hardinge, I was fortunate enough to obtain the co-operation of Sir William Boxall, Mr. Ward, and Mr. Richmond. Mr. Watts had also agreed to give me his valuable help, but was prevented by illness from attending. The Committee met several times in the Royal Gallery, and made a minute examination of the pictures. After that they made a unanimous Report to me that they were strongly of opinion that by a simple process the decay might be arrested. They also added that if I would give the necessary permission, Mr. Richmond would, with great public spirit and at a great loss of valuable time, personally superintend the difficult and delicate process. Under such circumstances, I had no hesitation in assuming the responsibility; and I am very happy to say that the result has been attended with the very greatest success. With regard to Papers, I have only the Report of the Committee, signed by Lord Hardinge, enclosing a separate statement, from Mr. Richmond, detailing the process by which the good result has been obtained. Those Papers I shall be happy to lay on the Table of the House to-morrow.