HC Deb 14 July 1881 vol 263 cc838-9

asked the First Commissioner of Works, Whether he will take steps to secure to artists further facilities, by granting them permission to copy the paintings in the National Gallery on Wednesday, the public being admitted as at present on that day, and without the payment of a fee; whether he would require the enforcement of the existing rule requiring visitors to deposit their sticks and umbrellas on entering, a system which has been relaxed by the authorities of the South Kensington Museum and of the Royal Academy; and, whether he will deem it necessary to enforce this inconvenient regulation in the South Kensington Museum?


Sir, I must remind the hon. Member that the details of management of the National Gallery are confided to the Trustees and Directors of the Gallery, and I have no power to interfere with their management in such matters. I have, however, communicated with the Trustees on the subject, and have been informed that they are unanimously of opinion that they cannot accede to the suggestions of the hon. Member. With respect to the first, they say that to admit copyers to the Gallery on Wednesday would materially interfere with the right and enjoyment of the public; and with respect to the other, they say that their own past experience has been that there would be danger to the pictures if people were allowed to bring their sticks and umbrellas into the Gallery. Two of their pictures were seriouly damaged when at Marlborough House in this respect.