§ 54. Mr. HORE-BELISHA
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury why the Turner Bequest drawings, damaged in the recent floods, were placed in the cellars of the Tate Gallery?
These drawings were removed from the National Gallery to the Tate Gallery shortly after the Turner Gallery was opened at the Tate Gallery. A number of them were exhibited in the upstairs galleries, but the majority were kept in cupboards in the basement galleries, for the use of students when required, because they were too numerous for framing and public exhibition. As the cupboards were raised well above the ground, it had always been supposed that there was no risk of damage from floods.
Speaking offhand, and only from memory, they were found in large numbers in the National Gallery, and it was thought that they would be more available to the public if they were removed to the Tate Gallery.
§ Mr. HARDIE
Is it not a fact that it was the late Mr. Ruskin who caused these pictures to be removed?
§ 55. Mr. HORE-BELISHA
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether photographs have been taken of the drawings of the Turner bequest; and, if not, whether he will suggest to the directors of the Tate Gallery that this course should be followed?
No, Sir; most of these drawings have not been photographed. It would be extremely expensive to have so many drawings photographed; and as they are now kept in a place of safety, it is not considered necessary to incur the expense. But when a request is made for a particular photograph, steps are always taken to have a photograph taken.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
Seeing that some of these drawings are irreplaceable, will the hon. Gentleman not strongly represent to the Directors that in the 216 national interest, and in the interest of art, the drawings that have not been damaged should be photographed?
I would be inclined to agree in an ordinary case, but there are 10,000 or 15,000 of them, and it would be impossible to photograph them all.
§ 56. Mr. HORE-BELISHA
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, with reference to the recent flooding of the Tate Gallery, whether he will call the attention of the directors of the Tate Gallery to the fact that there are more than 400 provincial museums and galleries in the country, in order that consideration may be given to a more widespread loan of pictures to these galleries?
It is the policy of the Trustees to lend to provincial galleries. No application for an unhung picture from a properly constituted gallery in this country is ever refused if the necessary conditions for safe custody exist, and subject to the restrictions imposed by the National Gallery (Loan) Act, 1883.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
Can the hon. Gentleman explain why the Directors of these national museums are always appealing for money to buy new pictures which are not worth buying, when they cannot display old pictures which are irreplaceable and of the utmost value?
§ Colonel HOWARD-BURY
As the hon. Gentleman said yesterday that the Trustees do not refuse an application from any gallery, would he take into consideration an application from Dublin for an indefinite loan of the Lane pictures?