HC Deb 26 June 1890 vol 346 cc60-1
MR. WHITMORE (Chelsea)

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Government are willing to entertain the proposals and assist the scheme, suggested by Mr. Henry Tate in his letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, dated 17th June instant, for the establishment of a National Gallery of British Art?

MR. WOOTTON ISAACSON (Tower Hamlets, Stepney)

On the same subject I will ask the First Lord whether Her Majesty's Government have come to any decision as to the acceptance of Mr. Tate's offer of pictures?


The views of the Government with reference to Mr. Tate's offer had been communicated to that gentleman in a letter sent yesterday from the Treasury, and this letter would probably be published. If Mr. Tate's most generous offer was not accepted at once, it was not owing so much to want of space in the National Gallery as to the fact that Mr. Tate rather insisted on the condition that his pictures should be kept together as a separate collection, and such a condition was rather at variance with the regulations that were generally observed at the National Gallery. The Government were extremely grateful to Mr. Tate for his munificent offer, and sincerely hoped that they might be able to accept it. Discussions were being held now as to the allocation of the eastern and western galleries at South Kensington to the purposes of a gallery for British Art. These galleries were well lighted and were fireproof. On this subject he had himself been in communication with the Commissioners of the Exhibition of 1851, the Trustees of the National Gallery, and Sir Frederick Leighton. Mr. Tate attached at present certain conditions of management to his offer of his pictures which it might be difficult, if not impossible, to accept; but he trusted that when Mr. Tate should see that arrangements had been made for the establishment of a gallery for British artists at South Kensington, he would think fit to present this valuable collection of pictures, as originally proposed, to the nation.