HC Deb 03 August 1891 vol 356 cc1119-20
MR. DE LISLE (Leicestershire, Mid)

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the new buildings proposed to be added to the South Kensington Museum include "suitable accommodation" for the pictures of the Chantrey Bequest; whether he can inform the nation, through the courtesy of the President of the Royal Academy, what is the number of pictures already purchased under the terms of the Chantrey Bequest, and what is their estimated approximate value; and whether, in case the estimated value of the pictures is greater than the estimated cost of providing suitable accommodation, Her Majesty's Government will take steps at once to carry out the terms of the Chantrey Bequest, with a view to acquire a full title to the possession of the pictures "as the property of the nation"?


No special provision has been made in the plans of the new buildings to be added to the South Kensington Museum for the Chantrey Bequest pictures; but the additional space which will be at the disposal of the Science and Art Department will enable them, if the pictures remain with them, to hang them to better advantage. Fifty - four pictures and seven works of sculpture have been purchased under the terms of the Chantrey Bequest, at a total cost of £39,245. The subject of the last part of the hon. Member's question must be considered in connection with the proposed British Art Gallery, and I cannot at present give any undertaking with reference to it.


In consequence of the reply of my right hon. Friend, I beg leave to give notice that I will call attention to the subject next Session and move— That, in the opinion of this House, the time has come for the Nation to acquire possession of the pictures and statuary purchased under the terms of the Chantrey Bequest by the 'provision of suitable and proper buildings or accommodation for their preservation and exhibition as the property of the Nation.'