HC Deb 11 December 1956 vol 562 c219
39. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary to the Treasury if he is aware that of the 1,960 pictures in the National Gallery only 855 were on exhibition on 26th July last, because there was not enough space to exhibit the other 1,105; if he will now state whether space has since been found to exhibit the latter; and what are his plans for relieving the National Gallery of this problem and for enabling the public to see all the pictures there that were acquired for the purpose of public exhibition.

Mr. H. Brooke

Since 26th July the reopening of three more exhibition rooms has made it possible to hang a further 105 pictures in the National Gallery. Therefore, 960 pictures are now on exhibition in the Gallery, and a further 150 are loaned for exhibition elsewhere.

In answer to the last part of the Question, the Trustees tell me that in their Report for 1955–56, which is to be published on Thursday, they refer to a long-term reconstruction plan which would substantially increase the exhibition space in the Gallery.

Mr. Hughes

Does the Minister realise that both he and the Trustees are guilty of a serious breach of trust in not hanging the pictures which are entrusted to them for public exhibition, when there are other galleries ready and willing to do so? Will he take steps to see that some of the pictures are sent to appropriate galleries, for instance the Lane pictures to the Dublin Art Gallery?

Mr. Brooke

I suspected that the Lane pictures were in the hon. and learned Gentleman's mind, but I detect no mention of them in his original Question.