HC Deb 18 August 1893 vol 16 cc509-10
MR. WHITMORE (Chelsea)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether the duties of the Director of the National Gallery have of recent years been practically limited to the selection and purchase of pictures; whether he is aware that only two pictures wore bought last year, and that until the Gallery is enlarged (which cannot be done for four or five years hence), there is no space in which more pictures can be conveniently hung; whether, in view of the approaching vacancy in the office, he will consider whether it is desirable to appoint a new Director at a salary of —1,000 per annum, in addition to the Keeper and Secretary of the Gallery; and whether the sum economised might be added to the sum allotted annually for the purchase of pictures?


The duties of the Director have in no way changed since the establishment of the office in 1855, and are by no means limited to the selection and purchase of pictures. The Director is the sole responsible officer for everything connected with the establishment. The number of pictures purchased varies, of course, very widely with the opportunities afforded. The acquisitions made in any given year form no criterion. Besides, the Director is equally responsible for the acceptance or rejection of the large number of pictures from time to time offered to the Gallery by gift or bequest. Although many of the rooms are at present much crowded under the indis- pensable arrangement according to schools, temporary accommodation can always be found for pictures acquired, pending an addition to the building. There is no vacancy in the office of Director at present. When there is, no doubt the First Lord of the Treasury will consider with the Trustees whether any changes in the organisation of the Gallery are required.

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