HC Deb 01 April 1886 vol 304 cc452-3
MR. STUART-WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam)

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, With reference to the sepulchral and other sculptures at present stored in the basement of the British Museum, what is the height from floor to ceiling of the place in question; what are the heights of the surrounding buildings, and at what distances do they stand from the windows of the place in question; whether any beyond a few of the sculptures can be sketched or properly viewed where they at present stand; whether the same trouble and skill is given to the cleansing of these sculptures as to those in the rest of the Museum; and, whether, according to a recent estimate, a great part of these sculptures could, be properly exhibited in a room on the site of the old print room, by the alteration of certain door- ways, at a cost of not more than £2,000?

MR. HANBURY (Preston)

asked, Whether any provision was made in the Estimates for exhibiting these sculptures?


The basement in question is vaulted, the height from floor to crown of arch being 12 feet 2 inches. There are more rooms than one in which the Greek and Roman sculptures are placed. One of these, for sepulchral monuments, has only borrowed light on each side; the distance of the adjacent building is 26 feet 4 inches, and the height of the wall 33 feet 2 inches. The greater part of the sepulchral monuments can be viewed and sketched by students when the weather is not unfavourable; but they cannot be visited by the general public. The sculptures in the other rooms can be sufficiently seen; but the rooms are unsuitable for purposes of general exhibition. The sculptures are not regularly dusted as are those in the exhibition galleries, in which there is a greater amount of dust from the traffic of visitors. They are carefully washed once a year. They were so washed in September and October, 1884, in April, 1885, and in January, 1886. The room formerly occupied by the department of prints and drawings can be made to accommodate the principal part of the sepulchral monuments at an estimated cost of £1,600.