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is a very simple one; refusal on the part of the Treasury and National Gallery Board to accept pictures and sculpture in whose choice the Director bas no part. The Academy, by the terms of the Bequest, was obliged to hand over the collection to a National Gallery of British Art as soon as it was formed. It cannot employ the funds of the Bequest to build a gallery, and is not at all likely so to employ its own. The Academy would therefore be obliged by the deadlock created to come to Parliament for powers to alter the terms of the Bequest. Such a change would require careful consideration ; but I am inclined to think that the fairest scheme, in view of Chantrey's intentions, would be to give the greater part of the fund as a much-needed endowment to the Tate Gallery ; some part might be expended on the mural decoration of public buildings,' a reformed Academy giving the commissions. The Tate Gallery at present has no endowment; the corresponding gallery in Berlin is richly endowed.'
The Keeper would under the suggested scheme become Keeper of the English School at both galleries, with an increased salary in view of his duties at Millbank. For the purposes of that Gallery additions might well be made to the Board of Trustees from collectors of modern English art, men such as C. K. Butler, Edmund Davis and Judge Evans. Here, as at Trafalgar Square, in any new appointment the clerk might be replaced by an assistant chosen for his knowledge of art. This step has become urgent since the transfer of the Turner drawings took place. To make these available for students will throw the work of a 'print room upon the staff. Besides the Turner Collection there are drawings by Stevens, by Müller and others; and this section will naturally grow. Another section which might well expand on the unoccupied part of the site is that of English sculpture, going back to mediaeval times. The limiting backwards of a collection of English art to Hogarth is a pernicious thing from the false habit of mind it sets up; and not even at South Kensington is there any conspectus of the splendid development of sculpture and decorative art in which mediæval England is second only to France. The débris of two collections of casts exists at the Architectural Museum and the Crystal Palace.
CIRCULATION DEPARTMENT AND LOAN EXHIBITIONS
Mr. Witt makes an excellent suggestion for greater facilities in lending to other galleries by reduction of the period a picture
· The French Government spends 80001. a year under this head.
• The late director, Von Tschudi, spoke to me of 60001. or 70001. a year; but I am not clear whether this was entirely for purchase.
need remain after acquisition at Trafalgar Square. Indeed, pictures might well in certain cases be accepted as practically duplicates for the purpose of lending. The collection, as it stands, is in some directions overstocked. Twenty-one Ruisdaels are twenty too many for perpetual exhibition, though an occasional exhibition is good for study : they obscure the power of the one masterpiece among them. Some might be stored below for reference; others lent to the provinces. No one, by the way, has calculated the cost of hanging a picture accepted as a 'gift.' The proportion of building and maintenance charges, framing, glazing, cleaning, and so forth absorbed by gifts too easily accepted for perpetual hanging would astonish the taxpayer if it were worked out. Wall-space is costly; storage-room would cost very little.
Of late years the acceptance of loans to the Gallery has been developed to the great advantage of the public; the Vandycks at Trafalgar Square are one instance; the Stevens exhibition and Preraphaelite exhibition, recently opened at the Tate Gallery and crowded with visitors, are other instances of a policy that gives fresh interest to the collections.
CATALOGUES, REPORTS AND PHOTOGRAPHS
The labour involved in drawing up and revising complete and accurate catalogues is very heavy. When the present Director took office, the catalogues of the Gallery had fallen seriously into
This is in the way to be remedied. The Tate Gallery catalogue has been revised and that of the English School at Trafalgar Square ; that of the Foreign Schools is under revision. With care in future in the preparation of the annual reports the catalogues, so far as fresh additions are concerned, should make themselves. But with a view to this, and to its uses for reference, the form of the report should be remodelled; for in its antiquated shape it is tedious to prepare and obstructive to consult. It should begin with the present division into gifts, bequests, and purchases, but these should be set out in brief tabular form. After each table should follow a note giving the total under each head that results from the additions. Then should follow tables of the additions arranged under the head of Schools, again followed by notes of totals. Then should come what is at present given in a confused appendix, all particulars of those works, exactly as they will appear in the catalogues, arranged under the names of artists in alphabetical order. In an appendix should be given, as in Mr. E. T. Cook's handbook, a table of acquisitions, year by year, from the beginning. The next step called for is to illustrate the catalogues by the insertion of a process-block reproducing each work of art, printed beside the notice of the work. These should be quite small, like the blocks in the 'Ars Una' series. Their presence would recall the pictures at a glance, and do away with the necessity for a great deal of description, which could be limited to explanation of features in the action, and schemes of colour. The catalogues, as Mr. Holmes has pointed out, at present attempt too much in the way of biography; for this might be substituted a concise notice and short bibliography. The notices of pictures, on the other hand, should embrace full histories, illustrative matter, and summaries of critical views on attribution. It might be well to divide the catalogue into separately bound sections devoted to the different schools, leaving it to the abridged catalogue to include all. Works of the British School at the two galleries might be included in one section. In addition to this a larger series of 'Schools'' catalogues might include under one cover, in addition to the National Gallery Collection, the pictures at the Wallace Collection, at Kensington, the Dulwich and Soane Collections, and the Royal Galleries of Hampton Court, Windsor, Buckingham and other Palaces. Towards the preparation of such a scheme, men of the type of Mr. Brockwell, who has trained himself for such a task, 'might well be subsidised. The Library at the National Gallery might also be made available for reference to accredited students. From the negatives made for the catalogue, photographs of a convenient size, like those sold for a shilling at Berlin, should be on sale at the galleries. The sales would produce in time a profit on the outlay, and the convenience to students would be very great.
THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY
This gallery, administered in the spirit of the British Museum, is unfortunate in being badly designed on a cramped site, which should have been reserved for the extension of the National Gallery. It might very well be made one of the departments of the latter. Portraits that are works of art could take their place among other pictures; the rest might be stored underground in racks, as in a library, with a studio above ground to which they could be brought, like books, for students to consult, along with other material from the excellent library. And for the modern period photographs of celebrities might well take the place of pictures, when no really fine picture is available. The 'dossier' of each man, showing 'the child and what he had become,' in a whole series of photographs would occupy a tithe of the space,
and could be arranged with a list of biographical references. The small grant of 7501. would in this way yield results much more complete for historical study.
THE NATIONAL ART-COLLECTIONS FUND
When I first advocated eleven years ago' the formation of a Friends of the National Gallery’society, I had in mind, besides the growing expense of Old Masters, the absolute blank in that collection of modern painting; Ingres, Delacroix, Millet, Daumier, Monticelli, Manet, Degas, Whistler were in my mind. In 1903 that remarkable student and friend of the arts, Mrs. Herringham, came to me with an offer of the money for the expenses of the first year, and in a short time the project took shape with its wider scope and present name. It acquired a Watteau and a Whistler, but then the tyranny of the 'ransom' period above described became acute. In the absence of a Government scheme or sufficient Gallery funds the Society has had to bend its energies to the rescue of the Velazquez, the Holbein and the Mabuse successively. A good deal of a less sensational kind has been done, but the original plan of filling up gaps with modest purchases of unregarded Old Masters and of securing works by the moderns has been sadly diverted; the centre of gravity and responsibility has been shifted from the Trustees and the Government to the committee of the Fund, and it has become too much a supplementary source of income not provided by the State. From this position we may well beg for some relief, so that we may return to our
The Fund is now supplemented, for the more recent developments of English art, by the Contemporary Art Society, formed to hold and lend works which opinion on the National Gallery Board might not be ripe for accepting. The formation of these societies and the work they are doing is sufficient witness that the activity of the National Gallery under the present reading of its constitution has fallen short of the needs of the times, and that reform of procedure is called for if the work is not to be taken out of its hands by voluntary associations. It will be part of the problem of the future to adjust the sphere of these voluntary societies to that of the Directors and Boards of the various museums. One small change would have large results in an addition to the number of the Fund's members-viz. the admission of subscribers free to public galleries on paying days. The privilege of admission to Buckingham Palace for a single day added one hundred subscribers to the Fund; an extension of this
? Saturday Review, December 15, 1900.
privilege to members on occasions of the King's absence would add a thousand. In return for such a privilege the nation might well improve the wretched conditions of space and hanging under which these treasures are now seen. If office-room could be found for the Fund on the ground-floor of one of our galleries, a saving in rent would be effected, from which our collections would reap a benefit.
D. S. MacColl.