HC Deb 13 April 1921 vol 140 cc1138-9W

asked the President of the Board of Education if he is aware that the great crowd of objects and glass cases in Courts Nos. 41, 42, 44, and 45 in the Victoria and Albert Museum prevent visitors and students from obtaining as advantageous views of the magnificent permanent collections of carpets and tapestries hung on the walls of these courts as those secured in respect of the tapestries on loan spaciously set out in the North Court and Courts 38 and 39; that the carpets and tapestries in Courts 41, 42, 44, and 45 form an educational series of successive types of carpet and tapestry design of distinctive national value; and that, with the exception of at most three or four specimens in the present loan collection from France, the vast temporary collection of tapestries in the North Court and Courts 38 and 39 exhibit no important types beyond those already exemplified in the permanent collections of the museum; and, if so, will he give directions that more attention shall be given to the better exhibition of our national collections rather than taking space for loan exhibitions, which do not add to the educational value of the museum, which is the reason for which the museum is publicly maintained?


The congestion, which I much regret, in the Courts referred to in the first part of the question is due to the fact that the repair and re-decoration of that part of the museum which was occupied by the staff of the Board of Education during the War has not yet been completed. I am quite alive to the educational value of the carpets and tapestries, and the Board have done, and are still doing, their best to exhibit them as advantageously as possible. I am not clear what the hon. Member means by the word "types," and I repudiate the suggestion that the exhibition which the French Government so generously placed at our disposal has not been of the very greatest value to students, designers and the general public. The exhibition, for the loan of which I am sure the Nation is most grateful, was rendered possible by the fact that the galleries which it occupies had been recently vacated by the Board's staff, and could not be immediately put to their normal uses. I cannot accept the suggestion that such loan exhibitions do not add to the educational value of the museum.

Back to