§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
asked the First Commissioner of Works what is the number of members of the recently-appointed Commission of Fine Art; how-many of these are practising artists, architects, or sculptors who have been already employed on public works; what number of them are members of the Royal Academy or other recognised societies of artists; whether he is aware of the widespread criticism with which the Commission has been met; and whether, in view of this criticism, he will discontinue the public grant of £2,000 a year to the 1582W Commission and appoint a Committee, with power to take evidence, to inquire into the question of the further expenditure of public money on art?
I have been asked to reply. The Commission of Fine Art consists at present of nine members. These include four architects, one painter, one sculptor, and one specialist in town planning. Three of the architects have been employed on public works, five of the personnel are members of the Royal Academy, and one is the present President of the Royal Institute of British Architects. I am not aware of widespread criticism: criticism and divergence of opinion are always active in the realms of art. I see no reason to discontinue assistance from public funds which is at a much lower rate than £2,000 per annum, or to appoint a Committee of Inquiry. I believe the Commission are already doing very useful work in the public interest. The Commission was created by the late Government, and it may possibly be strengthened by the addition of one or two members.