§ 77. Mr. B. PETO
asked the Undersecretary of State for the Home Department, as representing the First Commissioner of Works, whether his attention has been called to the protest against the retention in Hyde Park of the Epstein panel of the Hudson memorial, signed by the president of the Royal Academy and many other distinguished artists and art lovers; and whether he intends to order its removal?
§ 78. Sir H. CRAIK
asked the Undersecretary of State for the Home Department, as representing the First Commissioner of Works, whether the First Commissioner is prepared to give the names of those who composed the committee of taste upon whose recommendation the First Commissioner, then in office, gave accommodation to the piece of sculpture which has given rise to controversy in connection with its position in the Bird Sanctuary in Hyde Park.
§ 79. Sir W. DAVISON
asked the Undersecretary of State for the Home Department, as representing the First Commissioner of Works, whether he has now satisfied himself as to the general demand from all classes of the public for the removal of the Epstein sculpture from the Hudson Memorial Bird Sanctuary in Hyde Park: whether he is aware that 919 the subscribers to the Hudson Memorial were never consulted with regard to the Epstein panel and are indignant that their subscriptions should have been used for the erection of this piece of sculpture as a memorial to Hudson; and what action the Office of Works propose to take to secure the removal of the panel from its present position?
§ Mr. GODFREY LOCKER-LAMPSON (for
The First Commissioner is quite prepared to give the names of the committee on whose advice the First Commissioner of the day accepted the panel. The names of this committee, which comprised persons of distinction in the world of art, have already, I believe, appeared in the Press. The design was submitted to the Office of Works by the Hudson Memorial Committee which it was assumed represented the views of the subscribers to the memorial. The First Commissioner's attention has been drawn to the recent protest against the retention in Hyde Park of the panel, and also to a strongly supported manifesto in favour of its retention. My right hon. Friend is not satisfied that there is a general desire for the removal of the panel.
§ Mr. PETO
Is the hon. Member aware that the Report of the Sites Committee, to which he refers, was not unanimous, and is he prepared to give the opinions of eminent members of the Committee professional sculptors, on that Report, which were most unfavourable to the design submitted? Is he aware that a great many of the subscribers to the Hudson Memorial are most dissatisfied with the piece of sculpture in question, and are indignant that their money should be used for that purpose, and that they were never informed that any sculpture was proposed, before they were asked to subscribe in the first instance?
§ Sir H. CRAIK
Has the First Commissioner of Works given the members of the Committee any opportunity to give a revised opinion?
§ Sir W. DAVISON
Is the hon. Member aware that both Sir George Frampton and Sir Reginald Blomfield, the two expert members of the Committee, both expressed their strong disapproval of the monument in question?
It is true that the Report was not unanimous, but I would remind my hon. Friends that there is a very acute division of opinion on this subject, and that if we removed this panel there would be a very strong agitation. The Office of Works went on the assumption that the subscribers to the memorial agreed to the design of the panel.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
Is the hon. Member aware that not even a preliminary sketch was given to the Committee on behalf of the subscribers, but that Mr. Epstein, by a few people, was given carte blanche.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
In view of the controversy that has arisen, will the First Commissioner consider the extreme desirability of refusing admission to any articles of this sort, and of keeping the parks for trees, grass and flowers?
§ Mr. LOCKER-LAMPSON
I can assure my right hon. Friend that I agree that the greatest care ought to be taken as to what is placed in the parks.
§ Sir MARTIN CONWAY
Does the hon. Member know of any committee dealing with any subject connected with art that has been unanimous at all?