HC Deb 09 August 1904 vol 139 cc1568-90

I. £1,550, to complete the sum for National Gallery, etc., Scotland.

SIR J. STIRLING-MAXWELL (Glasgow, College)

said he desired to call attention to the Report of the Committee appointed by the Scotch Office to investigate the administration of the National Art and Portrait Galleries at Edinburgh. He thought Scotch Members would do well to inquire into a matter of so much importance to Scotchmen, and he protested against the Scotch Estimates having been relegated to so late a date in a session so barren of Scotch legislation. He knew there were many subjects in the Report of the Committee which required further inquiry before the recommendations could be realised, and he would confine himself to two or three points with which he thought they ought to at once deal and in regard to which there seemed no reason for delay. The platters which he felt might require further inquiry were at the seine time urgent ones, and he hoped they were receiving attention. For instance, there was the question of a new National Gallery in Scotland. It was a question which could not be decided off-hand, but the right hon. Gentleman would do well to remember that the Scottish National Gallery was such that in no other Gallery in Europe was the light and space so poor. There were three points in the Report with which he thought the-Secretary for Scotland should deal at once. The first was the constitution of the Board of Manufactures itself. The Board consisted, and always had consisted, of the most intelligent and public-spirited men they could find in Scotland, but as a Board it had been throughout its career of a most inefficient character, and the country had had to pay very dearly in consequence. He was glad to notice that in the Estimates there was a sum of £2,000 for the purchase of pictures, £1,000 for last year and £1,000 for the current year; but he asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he was going to entrust this money to the uninformed Board of Manufactures. If he were, he had persuaded the present Chancellor of the Exchequer to do what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol refused to do, and he was practically going to throw the money away. The Board of Manufactures effected the purchase of their pictures in a way which would be a discredit to any private collector, in a way which was positively scandalous. The proposal was absurd, and he could not believe that the right hon. Gentleman contemplated such a thing. They ought to put their National Gallery at once upon a business footing, to put the curator upon a proper footing, and to make the body to which he was subject a reasonable instead of an unreasonable and incompetent body as at present. The Curators of the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery were at present grossly underpaid. The Curator of the National Gallery received £250. No one would contend for a moment that he should receive less than £500. And the Curator of the Portrait Gallery received £150, rising to £200. A competent person could not possibly be found under £400 a year, except under the same happy circumstances as the case of the present holder, of the Curator having a private income.

Then the third matter which he would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to deal with was the question of the sum of £2,000 per year which Scotland received under the Act of Union, and which represented the loss which Scotland suffered through the equalisation of the Customs and Excise duties at the time of the Union. The money was the private property of Scotland, and it should not be used, as it was at present used and had been used for a great many years, for paying liabilities which really ought to be borne by the British taxpayer. This state of things could not have arisen had it not been for two things. Unfortunately, the money was put on the Votes in 1854, and this was a step that ought to have been retraced at once. It ought to be placed upon the Consolidation Fund, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would tell them that this would be done. If it were not, he would hear a great deal more about this £2,000. The second reason was that the Board of Manufactures seemed to have been oblivious of the fact that this was Scotch money, and had gradually allowed it to be absorbed for the payment of things which in England and Ireland were paid for by the taxpayer. They could not regret too much that they had shown this extraordinary blindness to their duties as trustees, but the only remedy was to put the Board upon a proper footing and make sure that such glarin gfaults should not recur. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to deal with these three matters at once, but he did not wish to be ungrateful and, therefore, he would call attention to what he had done for them. He had persuaded the Chancellor of the Exchequer to give them £2,000 this year for the purchase of pictures, and he was glad to see that the bargain made two Years ago had been carried out, because this £2,000 was promised by the right hon. Gentlemen the Member for West Bristol in 1901, and if it had not appeared on the Estimates they would have been subjected to robbery. He recognised also, and he gave the right hon. Gentleman great credit for it, that a sum of £200 had been put upon the Estimates to enable the National Portrait Gallery to make a modest acquirement in the way of pictures to that collection; and also a new sum of £150 which would enable that building to be cleaned. The effect was that these sums, amounting to £350 a year, now on the Estimates had to be used in correcting a state of affairs which had been a most disgraceful scandal in Scotland. They had also to thank his right hon. friend for a special grant of £800 for the Museum of Antiquities, and he recognised that he had done a service for Scotland for which every Scotchman ought to be exceedingly grateful. He asked the Secretary for Scotland if he was prepared to deal with the three subjects which he had specially brought to his attention.


said he was given an opportunity of being completely frank with the House, because he was quite certain the Scottish Members felt this was in no sense a Party question, and he was perfectly certain his hon. friend, or any hon. Members who would speak after him, had no wish to criticise the Government, but were merely anxious to be taken into confidence, and to be told what steps had been taken to deal with the very serious and solid recommendations made by the Committee. His hon. friend had frankly said that there were very large questions raised in the Report upon which he could not give judgment. He (Mr. Murray) hoped he should show before he sat down that he should go further than he had been asked to go. He had been asked three particular questions. The first was as to the constitution of the Board of Manufactures. The Report finished with certain recommendations, among other things advising that the constitution of this Board should be altered. He was rather sorry his hon. friend had thought it necessary to make a harsh attack upon the Board of Manufactures, for, after all, they had done their best according to their lights, and especially as it was a complete change of his former attitude, for two years ago; when the Board was attacked, he pointed out that they bought a picture for £5,000, and sold it for £6,000, so that, judged by the vulgar standard of money, they had not made a very bad bargain. In the Report the Board was attacked, not for its purchases, but for not sufficiently strenuously knocking, so to speak, at the door of the Treasury. The Board was inclined to wash its hands of the whole concern, and, as a matter of fact, some of the members did actually send in their resignations; but upon representations being made to them, they patriotically said that although the Report did them scant justice they were perfectly willing to continue in office, in order not to put the Executive into difficulty, until the new arrangements were made. He thought they ought to be given credit for that.

He considered the Chancellor of the Exchequer had met them very fairly in the matter. He had not only given £1,000 a year for the purchase of pictures, but he was making up a year of arrears. He did not think the hon. Member need have any fear with regard to this money being given to the Board of Manufactures, for the present Board would have no anxiety to spend the money in haste according to their own ideas; and he was perfectly certain that, if they could not spend, at least they could save and leave it for their successors. The reason he was not attempting during this session to proceed with the reconstitution of the Board of Manufactures was a very simple one. To his mind the question was inextricably bound up with the question of what they were going to do with the National Galleries and other buildings; and he wished at once to indicate that, if certain arrangements were eventually made, and theme was no need for them to take any great time, he was almost persuaded that there would be no necessity for the Board at all. He did not see, if the recommendations of the Committee were carried out, why the National Gallery should not be carried on by a separate trustee as was done in other countries. After all, the reason of these people being there was an historic one. They were appointed for a perfectly different purpose. They were originally a Board of Manufactures; then they became a Fishery Board, and last of all they came to art. The reason he did not hastily reform this body was because he was not convinced that there was any necessity for it at all, and because lie did not think it worth while in t he period of transition to start a new scheme until he knew where he was in regard to the re-arrangements of the various institutions. As regarded the salaries of the curators, he was entirely with his hon. friend, but he did not feel it possible to deal with that subject this year, because the recommendation of the Committee was for increased salaries with, of course, increased duties, and it seemed to him that the question depended upon the eventual position the man was given, and that again depended upon the whole re-arrangement of the various institutions. His hon. friend must not think that because the salaries had not been increased this year, he did not entirely agree with the recommendation, but he thought it ought to be done as part of the rearrangement of the general situation.

Then the third point was the question of the transfer of the £2,000 a year, Scotch money, from the Votes to the Consolidated Fund. This seemed to him really a question of arrangement, more or less, of accounts. He quite understood the recommendations of the Committee and saw that, if in future there were a continuance of this arrangement, the money might be lost sight of again in the future, as it undoubtedly had been in the past. But he did not look at it as a matter of immediate moment, although, as far as the principle was concerned, he agreed with his hon. friend. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer went into the arrangements that were to be made, it might be decided that it would be an advantage that they should have some of that £2,000 a year in the shape of an. accumulated capital sum.


Meanwhile it is being used for a wrong purpose.


could scarcely say that it was being used for the promotion of Scottish Art. It might be that there were charges which it at present met which ought to be met directly by the Imperial Exchequer, but that was a perfectly different thing. The Committee's Report said that, for instance, the maintenance of the various buildings ought to be drawn in the form of a Parliamentary grant. There he was with his hon. friend, and he did not think there would be any difficulty about it with the Treasury, but that was not exactly the same thing as saying that the £2,000 was being wrongly used.

He would now tell the Committee about what, after all, he looked upon as a mere interim arrangement with the Treasury for this year. The old Estimate was £3,440, including, of course, the £2,000. This year they had had what he called temporary grants, £800 for the Museum of Antiquities, £1,000 on account of the arrears for the purchase of pictures—permanently, of course, they would have £1,000 intended to go on year after year, £200 for the Portrait Gallery, and an additional £150, making a total of £6,550 as against £3,400, which was the old charge. So far as the Committee's Report had shown in its recom- mendations, they might really say they had settled the whole matter, with the exception of the salaries and the upkeep of the National Gallery. The salaries of the National Gallery the Committee thought ought to be met entirely out of a Parliamentary grant, and the upkeep it had put at £700; and the contributions to the salaries of the National Portrait Gallery ought to be put at £250. Therefore all the salaries, subject of course to what he had said about the salary advances not having been made, they had practically raised with the Treasury on the lines of the Report. He could not say that he had got his right hon. friend's consent yet, because he had not formally asked for it, but he did not think the demand which had been put forward by the Committee on the question of these items coming on the Votes just as the National Galleries of England and Ireland were put on the Votes as one which ought to be resisted. He thought the Treasury had met them fairly and had done everything that could be done at once. They said that so far as there were other claims they must be part of their big scheme.

Now he would come to what, after all, was at the botom of it all. What was going to be done as to the condition of affairs? The condition of affairs permitted of being very simply stated. There were three competitors for the space on The Mound at Edinburgh: the National Gallery, the Royal Academy, and the Royal Institution and kindred societies; there was only room for two. The Committee pointed out that at present there was not room in the one wing devoted to the National Gallery for a proper show of the pictures they had got, though the hon. Member had perhaps a little exaggerated the extreme difficulties one had to undergo to see the pictures. At any rate, however, there was neither room for the proper exhibition of the pictures nor was there room for expansion. Of course, the simplest plan would be to turn out the other wing and give that to the National Gallery; but then where was the Royal Institution to go? This was not the recommendation which the Committee favoured. They said that even if the National Gallery had the whole of the two wings, it would be no more than enough for their present needs, and would give absolutely no margin for expansion, because both buildings were absolutely incapable of extension. If they kept the National Gallery in the Royal Institution they had the advantage that they had a very fine building in a very fine position, but, on the other hand, there was absolutely no capacity for expansion, and they also turned out the Royal Institution, which, although it had no legal title to the rooms, had certainly a great claim to recognition, because it had been there all along, and it was represented by a great many influential people who would certainly very much object to having to go. The question naturally arose as to where they would put the National Gallery if they did not have it on The Mound. Now, in Edinburgh it was not an easy thing to get a site; but there was one which had been particularly pointed out and which had certainly created a great deal of discussion in art circles, and that was the Royal High School, situated on a plateau just beyond Edinburgh Gaol. It was a classical and beautiful building, which stood on a plateau where there was a good deal of room for expansion, and it was a building which, being of one storey after the Greek model, could remarkably easily be adapted to the purposes of a picture gallery. He believed there was also room there for an art school, and he did not think it would be at all a bad thing to have the art school in juxtaposition to the National Gallery; and therefore he could not disguise from himself that this was a very attractive site. He was in this backed up by a letter from the president of the Royal Scotish Academy.

One more fact, and then the Committee would really be in possession of everything. He was met in the winter by a most influential deputation of really all the competent scientific authorities in Scotland, who urged strenuously and with great force that not only should the Royal Institution be allowed to remain where it was, but really that the building ought to be made the home of the learned societies. It was pointed out that it would be an immense advantage to them if they could have first of all a central hall where lectures and discussion could take place, and, secondly, that, if they could house the other bodies, they would have the combined libraries of the various scientific societies in one spot.

With these facts before him, he would tell the Committee frankly what he did. It seemed to him that it was impossible to make a real choice between the various schemes without knowing something about the pounds, shillings, and pence, therefore the first thing he did was to ask the Board of Works for a report as to how much money it would take to turn the Royal Institution into a picture gallery, and, having done it, how much more space they would get. He thought this was a practical inquiry to make. The outcome of that was this: The National Gallery at present had 8,600 square feet of hanging space and the Royal Scottish Academy had 8,700 square feet. Now, if the Royal Institution were transmogrified, it would provide 20,326 square feet, but this would not be first - class space, because, owing to the construction of the building, the lower side rooms would only have side lights. The cost would be comparatively small, and would amount to something like £3,000 or £4,000. They would, of course, have to find quarters for the Royal Institution somewhere else in a fairly central position. So far as he could he was making inquiries to find out what would be the cost of putting down a new Royal Institution in a central position in Edinburgh, and he was endeavouring to ascertain the whole total cost of the transmigration. Then he would be face to face with the difficulty that they would not have much more space than the Royal Academy and the National Gallery had between them at the present time. The effective space of the northern building was no more than the effective space of the other building, and there would be no room for extension. He had further instituted an inquiry to see if the authorities of the High School would, in any sense, be willing to treat. There was a controversy going on between the town council and the school board upon this matter. If, as a matter of national policy, the Royal Academy should go to the High School it would have to be done by a Bill. He was not so much inquiring with a view to see whether he was likely to meet with a willing seller as to be able to make a sort of pecuniary comparison between the two alternative schemes he had suggested. That was how the matter stood, and he thought it best to be perfectly frank with the Committee. He had not got a separate policy of his own, and he wished to make this statement because he wished to elicit Scotch opinion upon the subject. It was purely a question of £ s. d., and one scheme might turn out to be ruinously expensive as contrasted with the other, and this was a very good argument with the Treasury. He should not be at all surprised if some people were to be found of the opinion that the High School site was too far from the Academy. Some people would say that the High School had possibilities of expansion which the other site had not. He might say that personally he was rather enamoured of the High School proposal, but that was a point upon which he thought public opinion should have an opportunity of expressing itself. Looking to the recommendations of the Committee, and the fact that they had a certain amount of money in hand, and remembering that they had also got the possibility, at any moment, of getting capital in return for their annuity, he thought the pecuniary difficulties ought to be surmounted. It was certain that the present state of affairs ought not to be allowed to go on, and although there were obviously great difficulties in finally settling which course should be decided upon, he had indicated very plainly what the two alternatives were, and he hoped the Committee would agree that he had not been allowing the grass to grow under his feet, nor was he in any way anxious to adopt a policy representing his own personal view. He was anxious, as far as possible, to carry out the recommendations of the Committee.

THE MASTER OF ELIBANK (Edinburgh, Midlothian)

pointed out that in the letter which had been quoted it was stated that under this arrangement Ireland received £34,000, whereas Scotland was only to receive £6,000. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would state what course of action he was likely to take?

MR. URE (Linlithgowshire)

said he had listened with great satisfaction to the statement of the Secretary for Scotland. What was proposed was nothing short of a revolutionary change in the management of the art galleries and art business in Scotland. It appeared to him that all the recommendations of the Departmental Committee, of which the hon. Baronet was a member, were very closely inter-related to one another and he observed that each recommendation concluded by stating that the Committee saw no reason why the change recommended should not at once be set about and that it brooked no delay. He thought the Secretary of Scotland had really gone as far as any practical administrator could go at the present stage in carrying out the recommendations of the Committee. He would briefly invite the attention of the Committee to the various recommendations in order that hon. Members might see clearly how far the Government were ready to go. The first and most vital recommendation was the reconstitution of the Board of Manufactures. That Board was really entrusted with the duty of encouraging art and supervising and managing all the institutions connected with art. He did not know whether the Secretary for Scotland intended to brush aside that recommendation or whether he proposed to set up a substitute for the Board of Manufactures equivalent to the body which managed the National Galleries in London and Dublin. It was quite obvious that some similar body would be required to be substituted. Why not accept the recommendations of the Departmental Committee and constitute another body at once so that the investigations which the right hon. Gentleman had been so assiduously and very properly making during the past few months might be handed over to this new body to which the hon. Baronet opposite would be prepared to entrust full powers of management. He understood that the Departmental Committee proposed that the new body should consist of fifteen members. The old body was too large, and there was no close and definite sense of responsibility, and no method or organisation about it, and those were the main complaints which had been made against it. It was proposed that of the fifteen members of the new body three should be members of the Royal Scottish Academy, two should be named by the Scottish Academy, one by the University, another by the County Council, one by the Royal Society, and another by the Society of Antiquaries. That seemed a suitable body to undertake the inquiry. It was necessary to appoint at once a curator with a proper salary and allowance for travelling expenses. It was indispensable that this new official should have the initiative, and what was perhaps more important, that his decisions and advice should not be overruled by the board which it was proposed to set up. If they did differ from the decisions of this official they should record their reasons in writing. The Secretary for Scotland said he found great difficulty in setting up this new official until he had made up his mind whether there was to be a board of control. Did the right hon. Gentleman propose to constitute a new board? He thought that that step was absolutely essential.

The next most important recommendation of the Departmental Committee was the severance of the school of art altogether from the Board of Manufactures. It was proposed to set up an entirely independent board to supervise the school of art, and he was proud to think that the model of the new system was to be found in Glasgow. Another important recommendation was that adequate funds should be given to the National Gallery. He rejoiced to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that he accepted without qualification the recommendation of the Committee that the new gallery should be placed on exactly the same footing as the National Galleries in England and Ireland, and that they should have in Scotland a National Gallery as fully equipped and as well-supported by the State. They approached the subject of he National Portrait Gallery with a real sense of shame, because it had been treated in a most penurious and niggardly fashion by successive Governments. It had often been said that the lack of private munificence had contributed to the poverty of the national collections in Scotland. For that there was no foundation; but he thought the pernicious treatment of successive Governments tended to dry up the springs of private munificence. The National Portrait Gallery practically owed its origin to the princely munificence of patriotic citizens. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would see that this difficulty was remedied. It was sad to read that in the National Portrait Gallery the staff was inadequate, the pictures could not be kept in good order, the ventilation was bad, and the ordinary repairs could not be properly carried out; and also that it was impossible to keep the building reasonably clean. He was glad to hear that it was not going to remain in that state any longer. He understood that the different sums voted for art purposes amounted to £3,150. He had been looking at the total net cost which the Committee estimated would be incurred if all their recommendations were carried out, and he learned that £4,200 would, in their judgment, suffice to carry out their recommendations. It was proposed that £2,900 should be given to the National Gallery, £600 to the National Portrait Gallery, because an increased salary to the curator was needed, £200 for additional pictures, and £400 to the Society of Antiquaries. The right hon. Gentleman had probably gone as far as it was possible for him to go in carrying out those recommendations. He hoped that in the meantime he would be generous in regard to salaries, and maintenance, and the upkeep of the buildings.

He agreed that the difficulty of choosing a new site was extreme, and nobody who knew Edinburgh would doubt that for a moment. He did not think that a third site was available and he wished the right hon. Gentleman well in his negotiations for the acquisition of the Royal High School. He was not quite certain whether he was going to place the National Gallery in the Royal High School. The Committee had pointed out that the present premises were quite inadequate in size for a permanent collection which they all anticipated would grow in extent every year. He understood that the recommendation was to leave the Royal Scottish Academy in possession of the buildings on The Mound, if suitable accommodation could be found for the pictures elsewhere. The Scottish Academy had gone as far as they could expect it to go in generously offering their pictures, which were valued at £38,000, as a gift to the nation in consideration of their remaining in the exclusive occupation of The Mound premises. That was an exceedingly good arrangement which, he understood, the right hon. Gentleman was willing to endorse. This discussion had been useful, if only for the fact that it had elicited from the Secretary for Scotland the very valuable and extremely satisfactory explanation he had given to the Committee.

*MR. WYLIE (Dumbartonshire)

said he was very pleased to hear the statement of the Secretary for Scotland that he had practically secured, as far as the annual grant was concerned, all that the Committee had recommended, and very little remained to be added to make it complete. He was sure they would all be ready to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman upon the success of his efforts with the Treasury. He desired to impress upon the Secretary for Scotland the necessity of providing liberal grants in connection with the new building for the National Gallery. Two Years ago it was pointed out that while the London art galleries were receiving £80,000 a Year, and the Dublin art galleries £8,760 a year, the Scottish galleries were receiving practically nothing. There had also been a large grant to Ireland for pictures when Scotland had received practically nothing in that respect. The Chancellor of the Exchequer two years ago intervened in the debate and rated the Scottish nation roundly for their parsimony in connection with art, pointing out that, in accordance with an agreement with the Treasury in 1886, contributions were given in proportion to the amount of the private donations to the picture galleries of the different countries. The right hon. Gentleman stated then that while Ireland had got pictures by private munificence to the extent of £60,000, Scotland had really done nothing, though a very much wealthier and stronger nation. He was glad that the Report of the Committee had corroborated what the Scottish Members said at the time to the effect that the liberality of Scotland, both municipal and private, had been very much in excess of that of any other part of the Kingdom. His hon. and learned friend opposite had referred to the splendid donation given by Mr. Finlay, of Aberdour, to the value of £60,000. The municipality of Edinburgh had not been behind in that respect, because it gave for £1,000 a site for the galleries which was worth £30,000. That was prac- tically a gift of £29,000. He was informed that the city of Glasgow, through private and municipal sources, had in the last twenty or thirty years given no less than £750,000 for art purposes. That was probably the most munificent subscription to art in the United Kingdom or in Europe. He could state on the authority of Sir Francis Powell, the celebrated artist, that the Glasgow art galleries were the finest in the country, and perhaps in Europe. Reference had been made by his hon. and learned friend to the Glasgow School of Art. He would say that the Edinburgh school could take no better model than that of Glasgow, either in connection with buildings or the manner in which classes were conducted. He wished to impress on the Treasury the necessity of contributing liberally to the very large fund which would undoubtedly be required for the purpose of putting on a proper footing the new building for the National Art Gallery. He hoped the Secretary for Scotland would be as successful with the Exchequer in his efforts to obtain a large capital sum as he had been in securing an annual grant for the purposes of art in Scotland.

MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

said the Secretary for Scotland had stated that he was glad this opportunity had occurred for eliciting Scottish opinion, but surely an earlier time than the end of the session would have given hon. Members a better opportunity for that purpose, for the attendance of Scottish Members today was very small. He was sure every Scottish Member would have been present if the debate had taken place a month ago. He desired to acknowledge the interest which the Secretary for Scotland had shown in the question, and the careful analysis he had given the Committee of the various elements and of the different proposals. He earnestly hoped the right hon. Gentleman would continue to show this interest by pressing for more money. He was rather struck by the Report of the Committee in that respect. The Committee recommended an additional grant of £4,200. It was a remarkable Committee. It consisted of the hon. Baronet the Member for the College Division of Glasgow, the hon. Member for East Perthshire, and two other Members who were there to see that Scotland did not get too much. One of these Members was the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary. He was a Scotchman and he was also a member of the Cabinet, whose desires he might be taken as representing in matters of economy. The fact of his signing the Report and giving his countenance to the recommendation for an increased grant was of peculiar interest. The Director of the National Gallery of Ireland was also a member of the Committee. They knew that there was always competition between what was called the sister countries, and the case was very much strengthened by the fact that the representative of the only competitor in this matter with Scotland had assented to the demands made upon the Government. He was quite sure that these demands were reasonable, and he thought his hon. friend the Member for the College Division was justified in saying that every possible precaution should be taken to prevent the sum of £2,000 which was exclusively Scottish property from being either used to meet any charge which ought properly to fall on the National Treasury, or from being dealt with in a way which might make it possible that its character as Scottish property should be taken away.

The Secretary for Scotland promised to give them legislation at an early date. He quite saw that the right hon. Gentleman must have the assent of the Treasury, because a grant of money was a vital element in any proposal he might make. He hoped they might take it that the right hon. Gentleman would not allow the grass to grow under his feet, that he would obtain this grant as soon as possible, and that he would be able to bring in a Bill next session which would deal with the proposals of the Committee and reconstitute this so called Board of Manufactures upon a new and better footing. Its present composition was rather absurd, and a very much better one might be found. Here he must make a remark in the interest of those parts of the country not immediately around Edinburgh Castle. The people of Edinburgh were apt to mistake them selves for the people of Scotland. There were people who considered themselves entitled to be represented in such matters as well as the people of Edinburgh. If the recommendations of the Committee were given effect to, it would be possible for the Secretary for Scotland out of the nominees assigned to him to make provision for counties and towns besides the capital. He noticed that the Departmental Committee suggested that a member should be appointed by Edinburgh Town Council, another by Edinburgh University, and that others should be represented by societies. The societies did, to a certain extent, represent Scotland outside of Edinburgh, but the University and town council members would represent the city of Edinburgh only. Therefore, he would say to the Secretary for Scotland, that if he was going to constitute the Board on a really proper national basis, he must have regard to the people outside of Edinburgh. By not making it too much of an Edinburgh board and by putting it on a wider basis, it would carry the confidence of the rest of Scotland.

On the question of site, he said that experience had shown, especially in the case of the learned societies of London, the immense benefit of endeavouring to consolidate the different societies in one local building. It would be a very great advantage if the Secretary for Scotland would endeavour to secure that the different learned and scientific societies of Edinburgh should be housed in, or near, the same spot. Any site chosen for art galleries should be one which would admit of the expansion of the galleries. It would be the greatest possible mistake to put the building in a place where that could not be done. The right hon. Gentleman carried the Committee with him when he indicated a site on Calton Hill. He was not certain but that the Secretary for Scotland might find it wise on the site question to have a Committee which would aid him, and which would take a little more evidence and report on the subject. No one could fail to feel the great importance of the question. Scotland had produced an unusually large number of eminent artists in proportion to the population, and it had shown a faculty for giving and maintaining a national quality in art production, and giving diversity and individuality to the subjects treated. If anything could be done to give it the means of maintaining that individuality which it had shown in the past, and which was more threatened under modern conditions than it was a hundred years ago, it would be a benefit not only to Scotland, but to the artists of the United Kingdom. Art should not run in one channel, but into a variety of types, and so enable the country the better to hold its place in competition with the other nations of the world.

There was one other point. It was a matter of the greatest importance to maintain the Museum of Antiquities and the National Portrait Gallery with a view to enable students and visitors from other countries to study the history of Scotland. There were very few countries whose history had so great an interest to travellers from Europe and America—partly through the dramatic events in the annals of the nation, and partly through the writings of Sir Walter Scott. And, therefore, anything which was done for the preservation of the antiquities of Scot-Lind, and for the display of its collection of art, was of exceptional value and of great interest not only to the inhabitants these islands, but to students from elsewhere. These considerations might seem remote from the matters they were discussing, but, when properly looked at, they were cognate to the main question they desired to bring before the Committee—viz., that they should deal liberally with these local collections and put their administration on a proper footing.


said he agreed with other Members for Scotland that the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland was a most satisfactory one. Indeed, there was a proposal of the right hon. Gentleman which he preferred to that of his hon. friend the hon. Baronet the Member for Glasgow. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the danger which existed that, as long as this £2,000 a year, which was Scottish property in connection with the Act of Union, was put on the Estimates year by year, it must be taken out of the Estimates; and the hon. Baronet suggested that it should be taken out of the Estimates and placed on the Consolidated Fund. He liked better the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland, who realised that a time might come when a Saxon Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was ignorant of the history of the matter, might suppose that this was a grant made year by year from the Exchequer to Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman suggested that this fund of £2,000 should be commuted at once, and the amount safely carried across the border. He agreed with that, especially as there was an opportunity now of utilising the money in connection with the new National Gallery for Scotland. He was not going to discuss the question of the composition of the new board that was to take the place of the existing one, because until they knew what were to be the duties of the new board it would be ridiculous to discuss its composition in the future. As to the question of sites, everybody who knew Edinburgh acknowledged that there were only two practical sites—the Mound, or the present position of The Royal High School. He had a suggestion, although lie knew it was useless to make it: viz., that the existing miserable buildings on Castle Hill should be pulled down and the site utilised for the new National Gallery. They would get rid, not of historical buildings, but of modern structures which were a disgrace to the site and the city.


Does the hon. Member mean the buildings on Castle Hill?


No; the modern barrack buildings on the Castle Rock. He did not propose to pull down anything that was historical. Nobody would suggest vandalism of that sort; but the barracks which in all their deformity and nakedness affronted the eye of every stranger who visited Edinburgh for the first time, and were a disgrace to the architectural art of Scotland. As to the two sites referred to by the right hon. Gentleman, he quite agreed that it was difficult to form any estimate of the expenditure that would be required. If other sites and other buildings were to be found for the other institutions the £4,000 suggested would fall into utter insignificance. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman that no better site could be found, if it could be obtained, than that of the Royal High School, standing as it did where one could see it almost from the end of Princes Street.


said that the Calton Gaol intercepted that view. And what about the gas-works?


said he understood the gas-works were to come down. One of the most essential necessities for improving that part of Edinburgh was the removal of the gas-works. They had no estimate of the cost of the Royal High School site, and were working in the dark, so far as money was concerned. Apart from the question of the money which could be extracted from an unwilling Treasury in England, he thought that either of the sites referred to by the right hon. Gentleman would be satisfactory. He congratulated the Secretary for Scotland on his statement.

MR. BOLAND (Kerry, S.)

said he desired to say that he was perfectly satisfied that all his colleagues for Ireland were quite ready to back up their Scotch friends in their ardent desire to have museums and art galleries put on a proper basis, because they felt that their own development of Irish art should be out on the same sound basis. Sir James Guthrie, referring to the Royal Hibernian Academy and the Irish National Gallery, said in the Report already referred to— My Council are given to understand that the cost of corresponding buildings in Dublin and London were, for the most part, met out of Treasury grants. Now, as a matter of fact, the only extent to which the Royal Hibernian Academy had benefited from the Treasury was £300. It had never benefited to the extent of a single penny in the way of a building grant. The Royal Hibernian Academy was built out of purely private funds. It was right that the Scotch claims should be properly put forward on their own merits, but they should not make capital out of totally erroneous views as to what had been done for Irish institutions. Sir Thomas Drew, president of the Royal Hibernian Academy, referring to the endowments of Scottish art, said— As against this, per contra, the Academy of Ireland has never had buildings or endowments of any sort from the State, but an annual vote of £300, and the chief consideration for that was the maintenance of a free life school for the few artists, male and female, studying in Ireland. Towards its main obligation of bringing contemporary art to the Irish people, its balance from State aid, when last computed, was £116. He would not go further into the figures, but undoubtedly the Irish people had contributed a great deal towards the support of art in Ireland; and they were thoroughly with the Scotch people in their endeavours to put Scotch art on a proper basis. He hoped that next year the Scotch Members would support the Irish Members in their desire to have a thorough inquiry into the working of the national institutions in Dublin.

MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire. Mid)

said he felt that the subject brought up that day would go on for years. It was not likely to be determined next year, or the year after, or the year after that. He quite agreed that the £2,000 referred to should be kept entirely distinct from Imperial money. There were two sums of £30,000 and £40,000 which came under the Treaty of Union. The first referred to the equivalent for the English National Debt and the second referred to the Scottish Universities. It had always been cast up cwt Scottish Members that that was imperial money given to Scotland, whereas it was only one portion of purely Scottish money—reserved to Scotland under the Treaty of Union. The money should be utilised every year for the purpose for which it was granted. He did not understand why ono generation should possess itself of the money. If that were allowed, the tendency of every generation would be to appropriate the money for its own purposes. With regard to the site for the National Gallery, he quite appreciated what had been said about the Royal High School at Edinburgh as a suitable site; but why should Edinburgh necessarily be chosen. In the past Edinburgh was the capital of Scotland; but why should they look at the site of the National Gallery from the point of view of sentiment. The gallery would be ten times more useful in Glasgow, where an enormous population had grown up in modern times. Edinburgh could keep its present buildings; but if a National Gallery was about to be established, Glasgow, with its population of over 1,000,000, would be more convenient. As regarded local aid, it would be forthcoming more readily if the gallery were situated in Glasgow rather than in Edinburgh. He quite appreciated the labours of the Committee; but the Report of a Departmental Committee took many years to carry out. Scotsmen would wish to see the more immediate matters put on the Imperial Estimates; but any further changes might well be left to the future.

MR. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)

said he hoped that the Secretary for Scotland would arrange for the proper expenditure of this money; and that it would be expended for exclusively Scottish purposes. He wished to draw attention to the fees which were charged. In no other art gallery in the world were such high fees charged. The charges were mean and contemptible, and should be got rid of. He hoped the Secretary for Scotland would be able to obtain the authority of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to dispense with these charges. The picture galleries on the Continent, including the galleries at Florence and Pisa, were free from anything of the kind. £34,000 per annum was given to the Art Gallery in Ireland; whereas only £6,000 was given to Scotland. The Secretary for Scotland should discuss that matter with the Chancellor of the Exchequer; because Scotland was surely entitled to as much as Ireland. It was very desirable to encourage art in Scotland; and he hoped that the Secretary for Scotland would succeed in obtaining from the Chancellor of the Exchequer a sufficient sum for that purpose.


said he wished to thank his right hon. friend for his statement. It was a most satisfactory statement, and showed that the matters at issue were perfectly safe in his right lion. friend's hands. He hoped that in anything he had said he did not display any distrust in his right hon. friend. His right hon. friend chaffed him for having defended art purchases a few years ago; but he did not defend the Board of Manufactures from the then Chancellor of the Exchequer. Inquiries since then had convinced him that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was on that occasion perfectly right in every charge he brought against the Board of Manufactures.


said he did not quarrel with the tone of the debate. He assured his hon. friend he was not at all apprehensive of want of confidence on his part. All he was doing was trying to defend a body of gentlemen whom he was sure had done their best in the circumstances in which they were placed. He could not pass without protest the attack of the hon. Member for Mid. Lanarkshire on the existence of the National Gallery in Edinburgh. Where did he want it—was it at Motherwell? Did he want the £2,000 divided among the parishes in Scotland according to their valuation and population. After all, he hon. Member must really give some place to Edinburgh, as the capital, and he would be a very poor Scot if he gave the hon. Gentleman the slightest hope of allowing the National Gallery of Scotland to be anywhere but in the capital. As to the reconstitution of the Board, he could do nothing without legislation. His point was that he hoped an arrangement would be made with the Treasury for the upkeep of these institutions. He could not abolish the Board as it was, because it was the only means at present by which the statutory funds could be distributed. The hon. Member for Perth had said the real figures were not given. He quite agreed. He did not think one could be in a position to give figures barring this, that if one knew what the work of the future was to be one could arrive at what would be the necessary solution. He pointed out that on the other alternative scheme they would have to find a new site for the societies which inhabited the Royal Institution, and that would be a very expensive process. Of course, as they were not quite so large, it would not be so expensive as housing the National Gallery elsewhere. He was bound to say, knowing Edinburgh as he did, he should despair of ever being able to solve this question by voluntary bargain at all. Therefore, what he wanted was the support of the House in one or other of the policies he had indicated, so that they might go forward with what might be the policy of the House.

Vote agreed to.

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