« IndietroContinua »
advisable to ereate one. The next been submitted to their approval, and question must be for the Academy signed by the President, Council, and themselves, whether under the liabi- Officers. Yet surely, after all, a right lity to be turned out as interlopers, and to the building, if substantiated, (and under an admission that their holding a right claimed by the all-potent the apartments renders them liable to House of Commons may amount to a public annual return of all accounts- the same thing,) does it follow that they can consistently, either with the they have a right to have accounts laid dignity of their Royal foundation or before them, of moneys towards which of their own stations, and with a just they have not contributed a farthing ? view of their own advantage resulting This sort of right is pushed to an exfrom their own exertions, submit to traordinary extent_an extent which, the degradation forced upon them the principle being admitted, may reach to the position, however it may have to every establishment, private as well the sanction of high authority, of “re as public. If the rule is to be, that whatmaining in upon sufferance ?"
ever the public is interested in, or We think the King had the right to takes pleasure in, must be liable to put the Academy into apartments in Parliamentary scrutiny as to accounts, his own Palace; and that, if that right we do not see what is to escape. Public was at the first doubtful, but never interest is easily implied. Mr Hume questioned, the undisturbed possession boldly declares, that he would carry of nearly seventy years ought to con- this scrutiny into every Exhibition. stitute the right. It would have been Sir R. Inglis says, “ the Royal Acathe more manly part in Parliament at demy was the only Institution of the the time of the wrong, if it were wrong,
kind in Europe which was not supto have resisted it; they have made the ported by the state, but it was mainsupposed wrong a right, and it is a tained by the hard-earned rewards of its mean thing now to consider it. Then own members, aided by contributions the acceptance of terms from the King, of artists associated with them. He dethe stipulation under which Somerset nied that money had ever been grantHouse was pulled down, and the loca- ed; and for money's worth he thought tion of the Academy according to that that a sufficient return had been made; stipulation – the King himself, and and, if this return were persisted in not any authority delegated by the being demanded, the honourable memCommons House of Parliament, giving ber for Kilkenny might as well carry the keys into the hands of the presi- out the principle to all exhibitors. dent-constitute, if any thing can, an Would he do that?" Mr Hume said, admission of the previous right. Why “yes." Then,"resumed Sir R. Inglis, did not Mr Hume then protest against
" he asked the honourable member to this assumption of the right in the move for returns of the proceeds of King? Why did they submit to the the Pantechnicon; or, to go to a case President, Council, and Officers of the nearer to himself, of the Society of Academy, for their approval, the plans British Artists." What will the “ Yes" of the New Buildings, if they were to
of Mr Hume not include? We are have no right in them when com- sorry to see the principle as strongly pleted? We extraet the following from laid down by Sir R. Peel. He said, the Appendix to the Report in 1836:- « He could not concur with his hon“ The Royal Academy received these ourable friend near him (Sir R. Inglise) apartments (Somerset House) as a gift in denying the right of the House of from their munificent founder, George Commons to call for enquiry. He III. ; and it has always been under- should be very sorry to limit their justood by the members, that his Majesty, risdiction with respect to public instiwhen he gave up to the Government tutions, even if they did not receive the his palace of old Somerset House, public money. . There was a clear dis(where the Royal Academy was ori- tinction between all commercial socieginally established,) stipulated that ties--those connected with the aequiapartments should be erected for that sition of gain, and institutions intended establishment in the new building. for the promotion of public objects." The Royal Academy remained in the Now, here the door is opened for more old palace till these rooms were com
scrutinies than one. We may have pleted, which had been destined for inquisitions of public objects. Public Their occupation; plans of which had objects ! It is the very cry of every
patent humbug-of every vender of another portion of Sir R. Peel's pills and blacking-of every exhibition speech; and, as it is so different in spifrom that of the tarantula and white rit from the extract made, we hope mice, to Van Amburg and his lions, there has been some error in the reall to amuse or benefit the public. It port, or that we have been mistaken in has been well said by one of our wit- the import of the first part, or, what is tiest divines and a politican, that a most improbable, that the Honourable man cannot leave his home for five or Baronet was not quite aware of the im. six weeks, without the risk of finding port of his own words; we the more a commissioner in it on his return. readily extract it, because it leads Really, if such a principle is to be to the question of what the House of claimed and acted upon by the House Commons should do.
6. The right of Commons, let Mr Morison the honourable gentleman, the Chancellor hygeist take care how he takes his of the Exchequer, stated that a case ride in the Park, lest he be stopped in might occur, in which, from the in. his canter by a Committee of the crease in the collection, (National GalHouse, with Mr Hume at its head, and lery,) it would be necessary to provide be ordered to empty his breeches additional accommodation. When that pocket, and instanter give a full ac- time arrived he hoped the country count of his hygeian establishment, its would
be rich enough, notwithstanding proceeds and expenditure, including the deficiency of the
post-office revenue, his own personal. A distinction, too, to build for itself a palace of the arts, between gain and public good! Are (cheers.) He hoped to live to see, in not an acquisition of gain and public the most favoured part of Hyde Park, good, in nine cases out of ten of every a magnificent structure devoted to the concern, interwoven; exhibitions of all reception of works of art, not merely kinds especially? There is the Quar. forthe accommodation of the sovereign, terly, the Edinburgh Review, the but for the accommodation and deMagazines, all established for “public light of the people of this country ; for objects ;" they are exhibitions to which their amusement, their intellectual the public contribute. Will Parliamen- refinement, and their improvement in tary privilege justify Mr Joseph Hume the arts, (cheers.) He hoped then to in demanding the bill and receipt for be able to give up the rest of this cost of Christopher's crutch? The at- building to the Royal Academy; and tempt would surely double the expen- when they did so, he hoped the time diture for that item of Maga's esta. would come when they would not blishment. Here are Thomas Moore have to blush with shame when. and Lady Morgan receiving the pub- ever they took a foreigner to see lic money; and, good easy souls, while. the Royal Academy at Charing-Cross. enjoying themselves to their uttermost, He hoped they would be rich enough little dream they of the prying principle to provide a structure of which they that will haul over every little curious should not be ashamed.” We presume item in their “expenditure of the pub that it is far beneath the really liberal lic money." And acquisition of gain is spirit of Sir R. Peel to imagine he to make a distinction! Then, do not the would mean to annex to this gift, the Academy exhibit with a view to the niggardly condition of prying into the sale of their works, to the acquisition accounts of the Academy.
And this, of gain? What else could possibly in- as Sir R. Peel recommends, is what duce many an R. A. to endure to can- the House of Commons should do. vass the countenance of many an hon. But, if they are still disposed to act in ourable member whom we have seen a contrary spirit, we do not see what flourishing in paint and flattery, but is left for the Academy but to refuse the acquisition of gain? You counte- to remain on the condition of Mr nance me and I will countenance you, Hume's motion but to suffer them. is the common bargain. Pay your selves to be ejected, and build for themmoney, and ask no further questions. selves out of their own funds another Well the religious inquisition has Academy; and we think their spirit been abolished, we wish a civil inqui. and energy would be amply rewarded, sition may not be set up in its stead. their triumph be complete, and the If it be, it is easy to see whence its Arts further promoted. We question members will be chosen.
not that the Arts will be lowered in We must, however, in justice, quote public estimation, and in efforts of genius, by any degradation and mean able friend the member for Wigan, and submission on their own parts. Hither of his honourable friend the member for to they have acted nobly in the dis- Kilkenny ; but the great improvements tribution of their funds; the sole introduced in the arts in France, under question, according to the motion given, the patronage of the minister Colbert, that should have been before the House. are an illustration of the benefits de. They have expended L.300,000 for rived from the patronage of the State, public benefit, which the state ought under whose auspices the Gallery at to have expended. We entertain not the Louvre was formed, and the Gothe slightest doubt that they will pro- belin tapestry, and other useful disceed honourably, and do right, having coveries in the arts and manufactures, some pity even in their own contempt introduced and encouraged. Therefore, for the narrow, the envious, and per- instead of deprecating the patronage haps the malignant, minds that have set of the fine arts by the State, he was on foot this persecution against them. of opinion that, on the grounds of
We cannot forbear making an ex. commercial policy alone, the House tract from the speech of Mr Hawes. ought to do more, much more for art, It is in a good spirit, and, we think, in than ever had been done in this few words contains the common sense country, (hear, hear.). It was too of the whole matter :- -“ He, how much, because they had given half-aever, entirely concurred in the view dozen paltry rooms to the Academy, to taken of the subject by the honourable found a claim on that ground to insist baronet (Sir R. Inglis,) and differed in on an account of the receipts and exconsequence from his honourable friend penditure of that institution, consisting the member for Kilkenny, who, in his of funds raised by the skill, acquireopinion, had not made out a case for ments, genius, and industry of the insisting that the order for those returns artists themselves. Allusion had been should be enforced. If there had been made, by his honourable friend, to a bona fide grant of public money Hampton Court Palace, and the argureceived by the Royal Academy, then, ment was raised, that because Hampton he admitted, it would be right that the fourt Palace was thrown open, so House should know what had been also should the Royal Academy. Why, done with it. But no such grant of Hampton Court was public property, money had been made to the Royal and an annual vote taken in Parliament Academy, and the House ought not for its maintenance, (hear, hear.) to forget, that their occupation of their He could not see the policy of this former apartments in Somerset House petty warfare on the Royal Academy, had been founded on a direct personal the only gratuitous school of art in grant from the favour of the Crown; the country; ar i thought the object and that they now were in possession sought for y tre returns, utterly unof their apartments in the National worthy oé the House. He would far Gallery, as an equivalent on being rather have seen the House evince a removed from their original premises. disposition to build a national deposiReference had been made, by history of art worthy of the country. He honourable friend, to Academies and did not, however, undervalue the serInstitutions abroad. Those establish- vices of the honourable member for ments on the Continent were entirely Kilkenny for improving the knowledge dependent for support on the bounty of the people ; but he could not supof the Crown, to whom they were of port him in those exertions to the course obsequious, as the source from prejudice of private rights, and the which their subsistence was derived; rights of meritorious men, who had but that was not the case with the received a small boon from the country, Royal Academy, whiclı, he must say, but who in the services they had had done great credit to the national rendered to the arts, had repaid that taste, and encouraged the study of the boon a hundred-fold,” (hear, hear.) fine arts in this country in the most This is very good-because it is just. efficient and liberal spirit, (hear, hear.) In doing our humble endeavours to Several of his honourable friends on show the honourable conduct of the that side of the House, were of opinion, Academy in respect of the management that public patronage was not desirable of their funds, we have not thought it for the encouragement of the fine arts. fitting to enter into any discussion as That was the opinion of his honour to the advantages of academies. Plau.
“ I eat
sible arguments for and against them know better. 6. What do you do," may be adduced ; nor should we have a said a little wondering boy to a drover, right to quarrel with any opinion on " with all those cattle?" that subject. We find them established them all myself,” said he. So would here and elsewhere, and being esta- you have the public believe that the blished, we must not, cannot, abolish Academy are the greatest of gourmanthem. Annihilate the Royal Academy dizers, and bid all beware of cannibal. to-morrow, others will be immediately ism. However, if you have not seen set up, and you will get no good for them eat, you really know little about your wrong
Not that we admit that it; and if you have, why, in that case, they are disadvantageous-we believe you have been in good company. quite otherwise. One good we see Failing in convicting them as the every day—the distressed widow and
• Forty Thieves,” dub them gluttons orphan of departed genius, eating their and cannibals. But who can doubt bread in peace and quietness. This is either the object or the success of these much. And of the good to art--the dinners, cheaply obtained, for they numbers who gain their bread by the tend greatly to create the funds? The profession, are beyond calculation more wealth of the country is here brought than they could bave been had the into social contact with art-a more Academy never existed. We know not than common interestcreated_aknow. what deadness of feeling there might ledge imparted, and taste diffused. have been for art, had not the Aca. The conversation makes patrons, not demy promoted a love for it. We patrons for the academicians alone, look back to Hogarth, Wilson, Gains- but for art generally. The dinners borough, and Sir Joshua Reynolds ; are, in fact, a wise policy.
One was and some assert they owe nothing to given to Mr Hume, the other day, the Academy. But we would say, that to promote a feeling of reform. Had Wilson at least owed the comfort of he a surfeit, and cannot see the policy his latter days to it, and all owe the in another line? estimation in which their works are As to other complaints, doubtless now held, to that improved taste wbich there may be some truth in them ; the Academy has engendered in the they may not be very important. public mind. The increased value Where there is proof, in the distri. of the works of Hogarth, Wilson, and bution of funds and general arrangeGainsborough, is a test of that im- ments, of a disinterested spirit, we provement. It is very easy to find fault may reasonably expect that faults with minor matters, and there are some pointed out, in a friendly manner, will matters which it has been the demo- meet at least with consideration. There cratic fashion to consider as high are two things, we think, well worthy crimes and misdemeanours, which are the attention of Academicians, from yet, perhaps, harmless—perhaps bene- both of which we think they are sufficial in their result. The very word ferers, and mostly sufferers themselves. dinners, in allusion to corporations We allude to their hanging the picand societies of any kind, has become tures, and to their privilege of resynonymous with mal-appropriation of painting upon the walls. We would funds. We are not, therefore, at all suggest, with all respect, that they surprised that the painter of the great should abolish the latter altogether; Reform Dinner, and who, while daubing it is an invidious, an indiscreet priviwith all his frenzy, witnessed the full. lege, and one which, we are persuaded, blown corruption of that, and had but is injurious, in a high degree, to Art the reeking steam for his share, should itself; and, we verily believe, has enbe quite wroth that the Academy gendered that artificialness, that atshould have expended, in seventy tempt to outdo all modesty, and to beyears, L. 19,750 in annual dinners.
come conspicuous, which is the great But not so hasty, Mr Haydon. . error of the English schools. For the Though you never did, and probably former, in the advanced state of the never will, digest any portion of their general taste, a ready remedy offers dinners, they are not so undigestible, itself. Let the Academicians entirely and unconvertible into good, as you forego the hanging the pictures, and suppose. It is all humbug-—and that annually appoint a Committee of Taste you know-catchwords for the reform- for the purpose, of persons not artists 'ing mania to take up-but you really nor exhibitors. Such a committee
would be above the suspicion of par- because we differ from all his conclutiality, and could not be themselves sions. But the dirty petty warfareinterested beyond their desire to make the warfare of pretence, of harassing the exhibition as good and worthy of by insult, by insisting on a scrutiny of the public admiration as possible. And accounts, when thereby an injury is we might venture to suggest that, if meant, with which the accounts have they would limit the portraits to one nothing to do, we cannot too strongly room, they would rescue art from the reprobate. We think, in this respect, blight of vanity, which it is scarcely Messrs Haydon and Hume cut very expected tha artists can themselves sorry figures, and, in unhappy frater. do. They would thus have a greater nity, are entitled to the designation scope for the various branches of art. that the wrathful Mr Bumble bestowed Sir M. A. Shee, the President of the upon the law. It is a great thing to Royal Academy, in bis Rhymes on Art, have a good “mouthpiece" in a proand in the notes, has strongly ani- per place. Pan was no great warrior madverted on some of these mistakes; in himself, but he did mighty feats, and, it must be confessed, he has fur- and routed many hosts, by riding an nished a handle of satire, which the op- ass, who knew how, when, and where ponents of the Academy now very to bray. adroitly use. It may not be quite A word to the Society of British fair, to insist upon the opinions of 1809 Artists. They petitioned the House to be necessarily the opinions of the not to sanction the removal of the same man in 1839; yet, as great ad. Royal Academy to their new apartvantage has been taken of them, we ments. And upon what plea? Bewould refer the reader to the examina. cause a rival exhibition so near to tion of Sir M. A. Shee before the them would injure their property !! Committee of the House of Commons, About as wise and reasonable as if Mr as given in the Report, of which we Jones, the surgeon at No. 5, should have before made mention. Sir M. petition Parliament, in its omnipotence, A. Shee may there comment on his not to permit Mr Thomas, accoucheur, own opinions. The examination of now removing his goods to No. 10, the President and Secretary are speci- to set up business in the same street mens, on the parts, of good taste, with him. Let this Society, however, good temper, truth, and talent, which beware how they petition Parliament their adversaries have not exhibited. to interfere with any other Societies, The Academy have, after all, but few and reflect upon the “yes” of Mr adversaries, Disappointment may Hume, which is meant to include allexhave created some, who yet, at one hibitors and exhibitions within the rule time, did not object to be members. of Parliamentary enquiry. We would Allowances may even here be made remind them of the fable of the horse, for sore feelings and prejudices. We who, in his enmity to the stag, suffershould be the last to find fault with ed the saddle to be put upon his back, a man because he is an opponent, and and never could shake it off again.
We do not hesitate to say that we lic desires and devotion inspired the have been more gratified by the pre painters to works of superhuman chasent exhibition of the Royal Academy, racter ; but still are our artists rapidthan we have been with any of its pre- ly progressing in that next best line, ceding. There is a vast improvement the line of human sympathies. When in the most essential character of art love, pity, fortitude, tenderness, innoin mind. Vulgarities are much more cence, as well as the greater energies
The unmeaning is vanishing. of cultivated worth, engage the genius We greatly rejoice at this, and look of the painter, as we see they do, and forward with strong hopes to the fu- will do, the British artist is raised to ture fruits of so great promise. Our a higher profession ; his venture is artists are taking that range of histo- great ; and he will elevate himself, the rical painting that is the most enga- art, and society. Oh what a scope has ging, not truly in the divine walk of the painter still, though he paint not Raphael, in whose days both the pub- Madonnas, even in earthly. female