MR. STUART WORTLEY
said, he rose, pursuant to notice, to call the attention of the House to the competition relative to the Monument to the late Duke of Wellington. He was induced to do so, not because he placed any presumptuous reliance upon his own authority as a judge in matters of taste, but because he believed considerable mistrust prevailed among the public with respect to the arrangements into which it was supposed the Government had entered in reference to the erection of that monument. He had no desire, in submitting the matter to the notice of hon. Members, to embarrass his noble, Friend the First Commissioner of Works in the difficult position in connection with, the subject in which he was placed; neither, in the course of the observations which he was about to make, did he wish to say a single word which might be supposed to be depreciatory against any of those artists—some of them men of great distinction in their profession—who had upon a late occasion unsuccessfully com- 2209 peted for the execution of the proposed monument. In using the word "unsuccessfully," he simply meant to imply that no one of the designs which had upon the occasion to which he referred been exhibited had been of so high a character as to have at the time been selected as a fitting model for the great work which was in contemplation. On the contrary, he conceived that he was vindicating the cause of those artists since, if he had rightly understood his noble Friend the First Commissioner of Works, it appeared that he now proposed to commit the execution of the Wellington Monument, not to the person who had obtained the first prize at the late Exhibition, but to an artist who had obtained a prize, and that he was about to take that course notwithstanding that since the competition had been entered into the site upon which it was intended to erect the monument had been completely changed. It was under those circumstances perfectly open, he thought, to those artists who had already sent in designs to say that they had been cramped with respect to the extent of the space which it was proposed to allot for the erection of the monument, and that under the more favourable circumstances in that respect now presented they would have produced better models than those which they had previously exhibited. Now, in the case of those models which had been previously exhibited, the right hon. Baronet the Member for Marylebone (Sir B. Hall) had wisely guarded himself against being compelled to take any one of them as the design in accordance with which the proposed monument was to be constructed; while his (Mr. S. Wortley's) noble Friend the present First Commissioner of Works seemed to be of opinion that he was bound to employ in its construction some one of the artists who had already competed. He had not, however, taken the design of Mr. Marshall, which gained the first prize, but had (no doubt with able assistance) selected that of Mr. Stevens, which did not stand higher than sixth in the list of prizes, and then, either not being entirely satisfied with that, or not being convinced that Mr. Stevens could execute it, he had called on Mr. Marshall to execute some of the sculpture round the monument; and, moreover, apparently with the view of giving it an architectural character, he proposed, in addition, to obtain the assistance of Mr. Cockerell and Mr. Penrose, the official architect of St. Paul's, to superintend the execution of the monu- 2210 ment. That was a course which appeared to every one to be inconsistent with the original notice given to artists, and also inconsistent with the ordinary course adopted upon occasions of competition upon other subjects. If a prize were held out for the best essay or the most valuable agricultural implement, the writer of the one, or the inventor of the other, whose production was deemed by the judges to be the best, received the prize. That had not been the case in the present instance, and the departure from the usual course had created great dissatisfaction, if not disgust. He did not in the least desire to undervalue the model of Mr. Stevens. He had had the pleasure of being introduced to that gentleman since this subject had been mooted. He had also communicated with the judges who acted upon the competition, and also with several of the leading artists, in order that it might not be supposed that he had anything to do with the selection of a particular artist for the execution of this work. He might say, however, that he agreed with his noble Friend in his estimate of Mr. Stevens's model, and when he first saw it, before any decision upon the point had been made known, he was of opinion that it was almost the only model in Westminster Hall that could be chosen. He did not say that Mr. Stevens was neither an architect nor a sculptor, for that gentleman had informed him that he had studied both those branches of art, but certainly he had produced no great work—had erected no great building to which he could point as evidence of his capabilities. That was no disparagement to Mr. Stevens, who was a young man doubtless destined to achieve future fame, but to take a model solely because it was graceful and elegant, standing in advantageous contrast with some of the little creditable models exhibited in Westminster Hall, without knowing whether the designer was able to execute the architectural and sculptural portions, was acting with a great degree of uncertainty. Some parts of the model had been pointed out as showing a want of knowledge of the human form, and opinions were entertained by good judges very adverse to Mr. Stevens's model. In those opinions, he (Mr. Wortley) did not concur; but, in a pamphlet written by a gentleman of great attainments, and who was engaged to instruct the students at the South Kensington Museum in some branches of study closely connected with art, it was stated that Mr. Stevens's 2211 monument was the least worthy of any of the nine selected. That proved that there were those who did not approve the selection which had been made. He (Mr. S. Wortley) had also made it his business to consult the opinions of the judges. The opinion of the chief of the judges, the Marquess of Lansdowne, was known, because that noble Lord, in his place in Parliament, had declared that, with respect to the designs sent in, "there was not one of such commanding merit as to induce the Commissioners to recommend it for adoption." He (Mr. S. Wortley) was authorized by every one of the judges with whom he had communicated to say that their opinions were in complete accordance with that of the noble Marquess. It had been, in fact, intended to state so much in the Report, but consideration for the artists induced them to refrain from doing so. Every hon. Member who mixed with artists or the lovers of art must be aware of the difference of opinion which existed as to the propriety of the selection that had been made. As far as his own observation had gone, the proposed arrangements of his noble Friend were regarded with dissatisfaction and mistrust. Having changed the site and selected Mr. Stevens's design, the next step of his noble Friend was to place the whole business in the hands of Mr. Stevens, who, with the help of Mr. Marshall and the assistance of Mr. Penrose, was, under the authority of his noble Friend, to decide what sort of a monument should be erected in St. Paul's Cathedral. He did not think, however, that either that House or the country would consent to leave the erection of the monument to an irresponsible committee of three, however eminent they might be. But, unfortunately, none of these gentlemen were much known. Of Mr. Stevens he had already spoken. Mr. Penrose was an able, accomplished, and efficient man, but being still a young man, his talents had not as yet become universally acknowledged. He had no wish to be understood as expressing any doubt as to the wisdom of the change of site. The original site was under one of the arches of the north aisle of St. Paul's, but that arrangement would have destroyed the beautiful architectural balance of that edifice unless there was a monument to be placed under each of the other arches. The public generally agreed in the change of site, and the one now chosen was admirably adapted for the purpose. The Consistory Court was of a shape similar to those large chapels 2212 Roman Catholic cathedrals which were selected for the monuments of great men. It was a noble position, and had the recommendation of being spacious enough to receive other monuments, and he hoped that in time there would be within it memorials of such men as Nelson and Collingwood. There was one much injured man, to whom the nation owed a heavy debt of gratitude, who sacrificed his life in the Crimea in the cause of his country, and at an age when he might well have refused to engage in active service—Lord Raglan—whose monument he should wish to see in that place. He had no doubt his noble Friend had been actuated by the feeling that he was bound to give something to the prizemen who took part in the general competition. He might have supposed that they had a moral claim on the Government, but looking at the terms of the contract, he (Mr. S. Wortley) contended that not a single word was used in it signifying an intention of carrying into execution any one of the prize models. The only passage in the contract from which such an intention might possibly be inferred had to his mind a directly contrary meaning. He referred to that in which it was stated that if the artist to whom the highest premium was awarded should be employed to execute his design, he would not be entitled to receive any premium. Therefore, so far as the contract went, and indeed, having regard to the general feeling among the artists themselves who competed, he believed no complaint of injury could fairly be made on the ground of none of the prize models having been carried into execution. The Marquess of Lansdowne, moreover, who had acted as the chief judge, had stated in the other House that the judges did not feel bound to recommend the competitors for employment, nor had he ever, except in one pamphlet, seen it contended that the Government were bound to do so. It was important to trace the history of this competition. So long ago as the funeral of the Duke, in 1852, the idea of a monument was propounded. The Earl of Derby was then in office, and his (Mr. Wortley's) noble Friend (Lord John Manners) was First Commissioner of Works. The first thing that was done to give effect to the suggestion was, after a change in the Government, when the late Sir W. Molesworth, who had then succeeded to the Board of Works, invited four of the principal artists in this country to furnish models of a monument to the Go- 2213 vernment—namely, Mr. Bailey, Mr. Foley, Mr. Gibson, and Baron Marochetti. The first two gentlemen accepted the invitation; Mr. Gibson refused, but gave no reasons for so doing, except that he made it a rule not to expose himself to competitions of that nature; Baron Marochetti also declined, assigning as a reason that in such a competition it would be scarcely less painful to succeed than to fall. Mr. Foley and Mr. Bailey each sent in a model to the Government, but neither was deemed satisfactory. They then endeavoured to ascertain from the Chief Commissioner what was wanted, so that they might, if possible, modify the models they had sent in in accordance with the views of the Government; but that was denied them, and eventually £50 a piece was given by this great nation to those two eminent men for all the trouble and expense they had been put to in the matter. He believed that if Sir W. Molesworth had at that time entrusted this great work to those distinguished men—Mr. Bailey, one of our oldest sculptors, and Mr. Foley, the author of the magnificent statue of Viscount Hardinge—they would have executed a monument in every way worthy the illustrious subject of it, and satisfactory to the country. That course, however, was not taken, and when the right hon. Baronet (Sir Benjamin Hall) became First Commissioner of Works he came to the determination to submit the matter to public competition, which it was universally admitted had failed. The judges could find no work of sufficient merit to recommend for adoption, and it was necessary to restrict the competitors so closely as to size that the judges could not look at a model sent in by one of our most distinguished artists because it was half a foot too wide. He (Mr. Wortley) did not regret that competition, however, though it had failed. The principle of competition in such cases had recently been discussed before a Committee of that House on the erection of a Foreign Office, and there was a paragraph in the Report of that Committee in which they gave a decided preference to the principle of limited competition, on the ground that where the competition was limited the highest class of artists might be expected to compete, and where it was otherwise the probability was that such men would not come into it at all. The principle of unlimited competition, on the other hand, had this advantage, that it sometimes elicited talent which might otherwise re- 2214 main unknown and unappreciated. He believed the public were little aware of the hardships which it inflicted on many artists. When the public looked at an exhibition of models of any great work of art, they little knew that many of the poor artists from whom they emanated had been obliged to borrow, and almost to beg, in order that they might be enabled to execute them. A good model of some great works of art could not be made for less than £200 or £300, and any one could imagine the grievous disappointment that ensued when, besides failure, the artist received no remuneration for all the labour, money, and time he had bestowed on his work. The necessary consequence was, that men who had an established reputation refused to come into a general competition, and, instead of attracting the best and greatest minds of the country, the competitors in such a case were men, generally speaking, of inferior experience and skill. The principle of open competition was not applied to any other profession. No one expected thus to get the best work from a lawyer or a physician. What would be thought of a Sovereign Who, when ill, threw open his case to public competition, and offered a fee to the physician who gave the best advice? Or what would have been said if the Earl of Shrewsbury had attempted to select counsel by open competition? The fact was, artists felt that this mode of dealing with them was an insult, because it was one pursued with respect to no other liberal profession. See what had been the result of open competition in the case of the Nelson Monument. At the time that monument was built the principle of open competition was newer, and more artists of reputation competed. But a builder got the prize, who on the death of Mr. Campbell, the artist, had had the good fortune to pick up, among the many valuable remnants of his studio, a magnificent design for a Nelson monument with four beautiful lions. He turned out, however, to be incapable of executing anything but the masonry. Other persons, therefore, had to be called in, and the result was that they had a pillar which everybody abused, and a statue of Nelson which no one could see, The monument had been raised at an expense, besides subscriptions, of £30,000 or £40,000; and such was the manner in which the work had been done, that some of the bas relievos had been filled with lead or zinc. If they had had high artists who had been responsible for their work, this 2215 would not have happened. He begged leave to subscribe entirely to the opinion of the Marquess of Lansdowne, that the Wellington Monument should be considered not a departmental but a national work, for which the Government should be responsible. In his opinion, the principle by which rivalry should be guided for this great work should be emulative, not competitive—that principle which had produced some of the greatest works of the sixteenth century. This was the principle in which originated some of the greatest works of Italy—St. Peter's, and most of the great pictures and statues of that age. The Transfiguration itself was the result of competition in that sense. The rivalry between Michael Angelo and Raffaelle led to the production of the Raising of Lazarus by Sebastian del Piombo—not the competition of a lottery, but competition in the sense of a noble and a generous emulation—a principle which he thought, if judiciously applied, would do much towards developing the artistic taste and genius of this country. His noble Friend might with justice refer to the difficulties with which this question was surrounded, and ask what it was he proposed. He fully appreciated the difficulties which his noble Friend had to contend with, and could assure him that it was in no hostile spirit he had taken up the question. On the contrary, lie had done so in the hope that he might be able to render him some assistance by eliciting opinions in the House that would be of use to him in arriving at a conclusion on the subject. But if the noble Lord had great difficulties to encounter, he had also great facilities in forming a sound opinion. He had shown that he need have no difficulty in finding capable artists, and he might acid that he had also abundance of money. We had —20,000 of the sum granted for the funeral of the Duke of Wellington. The highest estimate he (Mr. Wortley) had yet heard of the expense of a statue was £l0,000, and the remainder might be spent in architecturally ornamenting the site of the statue or in purchasing models. The noble Lord should call in the most eminent artists to give him the best designs they could produce, without tying them down to so many feet, and all classes of artists should he invited. It was of the very greatest importance that architecture and sculpture should go together as sister arts, without which success in the production of high works of art could not he expected. They 2216 all knew that in old times artists were not merely statuaries, or sculptors, or architects, but often combined all these together in their own persons. There was no jealousy of sister arts. The artist consulted the architect, and often studied that branch for himself, and it was in this way those works were produced which had astonished the world. Michael Angelo was a great painter, a great architect, and a great sculptor. Raffaelle was, as well as being a great painter, an architect, and was, indeed, appointed architect of St. Peter's. In our day, however, there was among artists an unworthy jealousy of architects. Some, indeed, were themselves architects; but, generally speaking, it was the vice of the artists of this day to confine themselves too exclusively to their own professions, and to regard with jealousy that of the architect. He trusted that state of things was passing away, and the sooner it did the better for the progress of high art. He could not look on this as a departmental question. It was one for which the whole Government was responsible, and not the Board of Works alone. They must be held responsible for the manlier in which the whole of this duty was discharged. It was of the utmost importance that a high tribunal should be appointed, for the higher the tribunal the less chance was there of favouritism. Of course, the Government would have to be assisted, and he could not see any real objection to artists themselves having a share in naming a tribunal, whatever it might be, to assist the Prime Minister in the selection he might make or the course he might take. In the Resolution which he was about to move, he had embodied the proposition that the best way of creating emulation would be to employ a certain number of the most distinguished artists, and remunerating them for the labour, time and attention they devoted to the subject, and thus making it worth their while to produce the best models in their power. One point which had been started was whether the competition should be extended to the artists of foreign nations? The occasion was peculiarly a national one, and a great deal was, therefore, to be said against giving opportunities to foreigners to compete, though, as far as he was concerned, he should be inclined rather to take the opposite view, and throw it open to the whole world. He would suggest that, putting aside all that had hitherto been done, and as they had a plenty of money 2217 at command, £300 a piece would amply compensate every one of the artists for the models or designs they sent in; and it should then be the duty of the Government to select one or more artists to carry into execution the design upon which their choice had fallen. If they took that course they would call out all that was grand and noble in the genius and artistic taste of the country, and he had not so bad an opinion of the artists of England as not to believe that, if they were selected for the work they would give their whole soul to it; for it was a matter which was calculated to stir men's blood more than an ordinary subject—the memory of the Duke of Wellington being still fresh in the hearts of the people, and no class feeling it more strongly than artists themselves. In conclusion, he thought if they acted upon the suggestions thus humbly and respectfully put forward, they would not have a mere statue but a noble monument in the greatest sense of the word—an ecclesiastical and architectural monument, worthy of the hero whose memory it would celebrate, and of the country to whose glory he had so largely contributed.
Motion made and Question proposed,—
That by the terms of the competition under which the models for the monument proposed to be erected to the memory of the late Duke of Wellington in St. Paul's Cathedral were lately exhibited in Westminster Hall, the artists competing were not entitled to expect that any of their works would be executed at the expense of the nation, unless on the ground of their intrinsic merit; and whereas the judges have not recommended for execution any of the works so exhibited, and a new and wholly different site has since been determined upon for this great National monument, it is therefore expedient that a limited number of distinguished artists should be further employed by Her Majesty's Government to furnish models with especial reference to the new site and altered circumstances, and that those artists should be remunerated for their labour, and their models purchased for the country.
§ The Question having been put,
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
(after a slight pause) said, he should not have risen so early in the debate if he had seen his noble Friend the First Commissioner of Works rise, but as his noble Friend seemed disposed not to rise so early, and as his right hon. Friend had pointedly alluded to the Report of the Committee of which he had the honour to have been Chairman, he trusted the House would excuse a few words from him on this subject. His right hon. Friend dealt with that Report, a[...] 2218 condemned unlimited competition. He (Mr. Beresford Hope) could not so understand it. That portion of the Report was indeed written by the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) except the last sentence, which he had called upon his right hon. Friend to read, and which he had himself drawn up; but he would not have accepted that paragraph if he had considered it to bear that signification; and he considered that the sentence last referred to, proved that such was not its meaning. No doubt, for his own part, his right hon. Friend appeared to condemn unlimited competition, but it would be strange if the House, after having voted at an early hour that evening in favour of unlimited competition, should now, at the instance of his right hon. Friend, virtually condemn that vote and decide that unlimited competition ought not to be sanctioned. His right hon. Friend had asked why they were more likely to produce good work by competition in the fine arts than to obtain a sound opinion upon a legal question by submitting it to the competition of lawyers. His answer might be very trite, but it Was not the less true—Segnius irritant animos submissa per cures,Quam quæ sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus.Competition for a work in architecture was a very (Efferent thing from the contention of lawyers upon a legal question. A Judge could hardly adjudicate between the hon. and learned Attorney General and the hon. and learned Member for Aylesbury, by keeping them standing on their legs, perpetually putting forth contrary opinions; but, on the other hand, the work of the artist remained quiescent and unchanged until the arbitrator pronounced his decision. There were, no doubt, cases in which competitions in art were not successful; a notable instance occurred some years since in a competition for the statue of Wordsworth in Westminster Abbey, at which he assisted to adjudicate, when one of the competitors requested the early return of his model, in order that he might take off the head and replace it with one of Sir Robert Peel for a competition for a statue to him. This very year, too, the bathos of competition was attained on the collection of designs for the monument of the Exhibition of 1851 proposed to be erected in Hyde Park, where one architect sent in a sketch, a huge glass globe rising out of a piece of water like a gigantic soap bubble in a saucer, and another 2219 depicted two illustrious persons seated in a degagé way on the top of a mass of sham rock work. He made his right hon. Friend a present of these instances of the failure of competition, but in the face of them the great and wholesome principle of free art was now being established. Perhaps our great artists would still refuse to compete. They hung back very often as they did in this case. But why? Because a clique was naturally opposed to a republic of free genius and free intellect nobly competing for the highest excellence. In the present instance, then, he concluded that something must be risked in order to ensure great results for the future, and to make good that principle. The worst that could be said was, that there was something common-place about the models sent to Westminster Hall for the Wellington monument. If that were true, it was the duty of the State to foster and encourage those artists who stood out above the rest in it, in order that by the improvement of the designs they submitted something might be elicited more worthy of the Duke of Wellington. By the confession of all sides, Mr. Stevens's model had great comparative excellence. He objected, then, to the modified censure which the Motion would cast upon the artists who sent models to Westminster Hall. Why, at the end of July, when there were scarcely sufficient Members to make a House, should his right hon. Friend propose a very expensive and questionable third competition for one and the same work? What guarantee was there that such a third competition would be more successful than the two former ones, or than the course proposed by my noble Friend? They had Mr. Stevens's model to give the idea. They had Mr. Marshall, if they liked, to make the figure (thus rewarding the first-prize man); they had the approval and superintendence of Mr. Penrose, the eminent architect in charge of the cathedral, who would ensure the harmony of the work and the structure, and they had that excellent site which had been selected in the old Consistory Court. If there were to be a fresh competition, all the artists who went in would have to conform themselves to the idea of Mr. Stevens's model; and after the experience they had had, what likelihood was there that the leading sculptors would submit to this restriction? It was urged that the new competition was necessary, in order to ensure the anatomical correctness of the effigy itself. He (Mr. B. 2220 Hope) would suggest an easier and cheaper way of attaining this object. What objection could there be to the employing of Mr. Stevens and Mr. Marshall to make full-sized models in clay of the effigy of the Duke, and then calling in all the other jealous and envious sculptors, all the anatomists and all the amateurs, or those who fancied they were, to pick holes in the models? They might thus pretty well ascertain, without the trouble or expense of en additional competition, how far Mr. Stevens and Mr. Marshall were qualified to execute the effigy, the main element in the whole competition. It had been said, diet Mr. Stevens was an unknown man; but he had produced a design which, although perhaps rather roughly modelled—because a poor and struggling artist could not afford the outlay which was required to give it greater finish—exhibited true genius; he had grasped the right idea, and in his (Mr. Beresford Hope's) opinion they ought to hold out to him a fostering and friendly hand. Mr. Stevens was a prizeman in the competition; the excellence of his design struck all observers; and he thought that, under all the circumstances, his noble Friend at the head of the Board of Works had arrived at a very wise decision. The site in the Consistory Court was exceedingly fine and appropriate, and He hoped his right hon. Friend would not press his Motion, but would be satisfied with having brought the subject under the notice of the House, and with the very able exposition he had given of the philosophy of art in its various relations. He (Mr. Beresford Hope) trusted that, under the auspices of the First Commissioner of Works, a monument would be erected in memory of the Duke of Wellington to which our countrymen might hereafter point with satisfaction and with pride.
§ MR. CONINGHAM
said, he was at a loss to understand what were the precise views of the right hon. Member for Bute (Mr. S. Wortley) who commenced by emphatically approving the monument which had been selected, who then found fault with the principle of competition, and who ended by proposing a system of universal competition which should be open to all the artists of the civilized world.
MR. STUART WORTLEY
was understood to say that he had not proposed an universal competition, but a limited competition, in which Mr. Stevens might himself take part.
§ MR. CONINGHAM
said, he had cer- 2221 tainly understood the right hon. Gentleman to purpose a further competition. It was true that the design selected by the noble Lord at the head of the Board of Works was the production of a young artist, but he thought any one who had examined it must have been struck with its superiority in point of conception and execution. It was originally intended that the monument should be placed in one of the arches of St. Paul's, but it had since been proposed that it should be transferred to the Consistory Court, which was the same height as the arches of the cathedral. The latter site would have this advantage, that the monument being what was termed pervious—that was to say pierced—and intended to be placed where the light could be seen through it, there would be a better opportunity of viewing the effect. He did not think there could be any ground of complaint on the part of those artists who had been invited to become competitors, but who had declined to avail themselves of the opportunity. It was useless to talk of the middle ages, and of such artists as Michael Angelo, Raphael, and Donatelli; for if men possessing similar genius could be found in this age they would be selected for such a work as was now contemplated, and might at once be entrusted with its execution. Most unfortunately, the erection of our public monuments had hitherto been entrusted to very incompetent persons, but he had great pleasure in congratulating the noble Lord on the selection he had made in the present instance. From what he had seen and heard that evening, judging by the model which Mr. Stevens had produced, and which he hoped they might see in the full-sized scale on the Site appropriated to it, and understanding that there was the most hearty and friendly cooperation on his part with Mr. Penrose and Mr. Cockrell, the architects, he (Mr. Coningham) could not but anticipate that from their joint consultations and united efforts the happiest results would ensue. He hoped, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman would not press his Motion.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, he had heard with much gratification the views which had been expressed by lion. Gentlemen whose opinions were far better entitled to weight than his own upon questions of art. He thought that, after the observations of the hon. Member for Maidstone (Mr. Hope), and the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Coningham), his right hon. Friend the Member for Bute (Mr. S. 2222 Wortley) must be satisfied that whatever support he might have received in the views which he was desirous should receive the sanction of the House, there were Gentlemen who were at least as competent as himself to form a judgment on this subject, who approved the course adopted by Her Majesty's Government. He was, however, happy to find that upon several important points he agreed with his right hon. Friend, and that they only had the misfortune to differ upon matters of minor importance. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Wortley) had said that he thought the selection of a site was most fortunate; that, so far as the prize designs were con corned, he conceived that the Government had chosen the best—and that they had taken the most valuable advice they could obtain. Now these were three most important admissions and he (Lord J. Manners) put it to the House whether they would now take the matter out of the hands—feeble as he admitted they were—of those who were responsible for its conduct, and erect themselves into a committee of taste to upset all the arrangements which had been made, and to defer for an indefinite period the erection of a national monument to the Duke of Wellington. It was true his right hon. Friend had mentioned some particulars in which he thought the judgment which had been arrived at was an unsound one; but he (Lord J. Manners) was almost at a loss to know on what grounds his judgment was founded. The right hon. Gentleman admitted that out of the eighty-three designs submitted to competition the best had been selected, but he said that the terms on which competition was invited were such as could give the competitors no reasonable hope that any one of them would be selected. He (Lord J. Manners) certainly did not put the same construction upon the terms of the notice, which were as follows:—The Commissioners of Her Majesty's Works and Public Buildings give notice that it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to erect a monument in St. Paul's Cathedral, London, to the memory of the late Duke of Wellington, and that they are prepared to receive designs for the same from artists of all countries.His right hon. Friend might, however, rely upon the concluding paragraph of the notice:—If, however, the artist to whom the highest premium may be awarded shall be employed to execute his design he will not be entitled to receive any premium.His right hon. Friend had put upon this 2223 sentence the interpretation of a lawyer, and said that it excluded any one whose design did not receive the first premium from being selected to execute the monument, but he (Lord J. Manners) believed its meaning was that if any artist, who had not received the highest prize, was selected he would be entitled to a premium in addition to the cost of his design. He said that a great country had no right to invite the artists of all the world to compete for national monuments unless they were resolved that that competition should lead to some substantial result, always provided that among the designs sent in there was one or more which were worthy of adoption. It all turned upon that question. Now, who was to decide this point? Was his right hon. Friend or anybody else in this House to say that out of eighty-three designs sent in not one was worthy of being executed? [Lord ELCHO: The judges said so.] They said no such thing. They did not, indeed, declare that any one of the designs was worthy of erection; but though they left this point in the dark, they added:—We cannot at the same time forbear suggesting that before any design is finally adopted by the Government, it would be desirable, considering the peculiarity of the situation contemplated, and that it essentially differs from that of all the other monuments now existing in the cathedral, the opinion of some experienced artists should be called for, who would be better, judges of the local effect than we consider ourselves to be; more especially as Mr. Cockrell, the only one of the appointed judges professionally connected with the arts, though we have derived from him valuable assistance and information in the progress of the examination, has declined on that account taking a part in the ultimate decision.It was quite clear that this, the only recommendation made, authorized the consideration of the local effect which would be produced by the design selected, and suggested that the Government should confer with those persons most competent to give advice before arriving at a final decision. Now, this was exactly the course he had taken. In the first instance he had satisfied his own mind, as well as he could, that some one design was worthy of adoption, and having done so he invited the gentleman to whom reference had been made in terms of such deserved commendation carefully to examine the prize designs. He (Lord J. Manners) had not indicated the bias of his own mind, but. Mr. Penrose informed him that design No. 18, which he had previously selected; was the one which, in his opinion, best suited the locality, and was most deserving of erec- 2224 tion, He thought he should have grossly neglected his duty if he had not availed himself of Mr. Penrose's assistance; and if his right hon. Friend meant to say that he had any previous knowledge of the opinion of that gentleman he laboured under a complete mistake. His (Lord J. Manners's) knowledge of Mr. Penrose was, if he might use the term, purely professional; but he felt that the recommendation of the judges was a sound one, and he knew he could not act upon it in a more satisfactory manner than by calling for the valuable advice on which he bad acted. Now, he was authorized by Mr. Penrose to say that he should view it as a great misfortune if the House were in any way to put a stop to the proceedings instituted with respect to this monument. He put it to the House, therefore, after all that had transpired, considering, as his right hon. Friend had pointed out, that six years bad elapsed, and that yet no monument had been erected, whether they would take the course of throwing the whole matter into inextricable confusion by adopting the proposal now made. The right hon. Gentleman had, to a certain extent, sketched the proceedings which had taken place, and he would venture to describe the steps by which they had arrived so slowly and unsatisfactorily at their present position. In 1854 the then First Commissioner of Works invited a limited competition for this monument, and selected four sculptors of undoubted eminence—Mr. Bailey, Mr. Foley, Baron Marochetti, and Mr. Gibson. Of these gentlemen two declined to enter into the competition, and Baron Marochetti returned this answer to Sir William Molesworth:—I am flattered that my name has been placed on the list of sculptors from whom it has been proposed to select one to execute the Monument to the Duke of Wellington in St. Paul's Cathedral. I hasten to express to you my thanks for the honour thus conferred upon me, but I must decline to engage in a competition in which success would be only less painful than failure. If, however, the proposed competition should not produce the desired result, and if in such an event I should be judged worthy of employment on this work, I should with pride bestow on it the utmost efforts of my art, no less on account of the man who is to be commemorated, than of the place the monument is to occupy.Mr. Gibson, writing from Rome, sent an answer much more curt in its terms:—I have the pleasure to acknowledge the honour of your communication to me respecting a monument to the memory of his Grace the Duke of Wellington. I beg to say that I am always ready to undertake any work of importance for my country, but decline to send designs in competition.2225 Did his right hon. Friend propose to ask those two eminent men again to compete? [Mr. S. WORTLEY: Not to compete!] Then, in the name of common sense, what were they to do? [Mr. S. WORTLEY: To emulate!] To emulate! Well, he was a plain man, and could not apprehend these nice distinctions, nor did he think the sculptors would be less puzzled by them than he was. Did his right hon. Friend mean to say that the offer of £300 a piece would make all this distinction between competition and emulation? He (Lord J. Manners) did not think so badly of those eminent sculptors as to imagine that the certainty of a small sum of money would induce them to enter into a competition which the invitation of the Government had not induced them to enter. But Mr. Bailey and Mr. Foley, both sculptors of great eminence, did not decline this invitation. They entered into the limited competition proposed; but what was the result? The Government of the day, no doubt rightly, decided that neither of their designs was worthy of being erected in St. Paul's, as a monument to the Duke of Wellington. Now, in the office of the First Commissioner of Works was a most valuable and important reply from the pen of Mr. Bailey to the letter which announced this decision to him. Mr. Bailey pointed out all the evils which must result to art if, when a limited competition was entered upon, none of the designs sent in were selected for execution. He (Lord J. Manners) wished he had found it possible to present to the House, prior to this debate, Mr. Bailey's letter and other papers relating to this subject; but, as they were rather in the nature of private letters than of public papers, he hardly felt justified in so doing. The whole tone and tenor of Mr. Bailey's communication, however, were such as would make him very reluctant to invite any limited competition without a clear decision beforehand that, whatever might be the merits of the designs sent in, one or the other should be selected. Mr. Bailey pointed out that by inviting artists to enter into such a competition, and then throwing their designs over and instituting an unlimited competition, you gave to the second competitors the inestimable advantage of pilfering ideas from those who had first sent in designs. But now apply the objection taken with so much force by Mr. Bailey in a case where only two designs were in question to this new proposal of a second limited competition after no less than 2226 eighty-three designs had been submitted in competition. Was it not clear that those whose designs had thus stood the test of public criticism might fairly say, "You have no right now to hand over the competition to a limited number of gentlemen, selected by the favouritism of the Government of the day, when there is a possibility that they may pick here and there from the designs which have cost us so much thought, labour, time, and money, expended by some of the poorest and most struggling artists in the world?" He had heard that sentence of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman with the greatest pleasure. It was just, and he asked the House of Commons to act in accordance with it. His right hon. Friend pointed out what these struggling artists were called upon to do—what sacrifices of time, labour, and money were entailed upon them; and he asked that, in return, the House of Commons should not, without the most weighty considerations, set aside their designs. He asked his right hon. Friend whether he thought he had assigned any satisfactory reason for departing on this occasion from what ought to be the general rule. They bad not heard his right hon. Friend say that he was himself of opinion that the design which had been selected was unworthy of being completed. The right hon. Gentleman told them that he had privately canvassed all the judges, and that they had all told him they signed their Report without intending to have their approbation of any one of the designs acted upon. All he could say was, that, if such were the case, it was the duty of the judges to have made that clear before all the world. He could find no such declaration in their Report. On the contrary, after reading the Report with the most minute care he could bestow, he had arrived at the opposite conclusion. In private the judges had not told him anything of the sort, and he thought the House of Commons would do well not to act upon these private recommendations, which those who made them declined to put in print. As he understood the Report of the judges, he felt fully justified in the course which he had taken; and the more be gathered the opinions of those who were able to speak with authority upon the subject, the more he was fortified in the decision at which he had arrived. He believed that the opinion us rich he had already quoted of Mr. Penrose was shared by men in the highest position in artistic circles. He be- 2227 lieved that if the House of Commons did not now interfere Her Majesty's Government would be able at no distant period to afford the gratification to the people of this country of seeing, in the noblest site which St. Paul's Cathedral presented, a monument erected worthy alike of the great man whom it commemorated and the building in which it was placed. But if at the fag-end of the Session, in a House so thin as that which he was now addressing, his right hon. Friend induced the House of Commons to pass this Resolution, it would paralyze the hands of the Executive and of the artists as well, and trace over again the unfortunate history of so many of the public monuments of England. The Government would be reluctant, under those circumstances, to take upon themselves any responsibility in those thorny matters of art, and artists would be disgusted at the manner in which they were treated in being asked to enter again into a limited competition without any certainty that any one of the competitors would be employed. They had been invited to a limited competition with no result; they had been invited to an unlimited competition, with what result depends upon the fate of this Motion; and it was proposed to invite them to a second limited competition with no certain prospect—he would say, with no hope—of any fortunate result. His right hon. Friend indulged in a dream if he supposed the Prime Minister, burdened as he was with affairs of State, would undertake to go from studio to studio, attended by a jury of artists, all differing in opinion, all anxious to carryout their own views, and some very possibly biassed by personal considerations in favour of one or other of the competing sculptors. The Prime Minister must from necessity devolve the responsibility upon the Minister whose duty it was, from the nature of his office, to make the selection in a nature of this kind; and he trusted and almost believed his right hon. Friend, whose whole speech was characterized with so much kindness and courtesy to himself, did not intend to press his Motion to a division. He thought the House would be ill-advised if they passed the Resolution, and he entreated them not to agree to it, but to leave the matter in the hands of the responsible Ministers of the Crown, who, after two competitions, felt themselves in a position to arrive at a final decision, which they believed would be satisfactory to the country. His hon. Friend the 2228 Member for Brighton (Mr. Coningham) had alluded to the expediency of placing on the proposed site a model of the full size of the monument. The proposal was most admirable, and should he be intrusted with the future prosecution of the task, it was his intention to propose to Mr. Stevens that a model of that character should be erected in the Consistory Chapel, with free access to it for all, so that before anything was finally decided those who took an interest in the question might have an opportunity of examining it. If the result of that exhibition should be to show that Mr. Stevens was not competent to execute the chief figure of the design, it was the wish of Mr. Stevens that Her Majesty's Government should only leave to him the execution of the design, and appoint some other artist to execute the figure. Frankly, he had no fear himself that a man of genius, as Mr. Stevens had shown himself to be, would fail in that particular; but, in justice to the modesty and good feeling of a young and rising artist, he mentioned that Mr. Stevens had expressed no objection to the proposal, and that it met with his entire approbation. If the House thought him unworthy of the position in which Her Majesty had been pleased to place him, he should, of course, bow to their decision; but he thought he had shown that the course which he had adopted was consistent with the views of those who had the best means of forming a sound opinion. He was satisfied himself that if no interference now took place, and if the Government were permitted to carry out those intentions which they had indicated, the result would be success; but if, on the other hand, impediments were thrown in the way, there would be interminable delay, constant bickerings, and their successors would say there had been a complete mistake in the management of that which ought to be one of the greatest monuments of a great nation.
said, that the reasons which the noble Lord had given for the course which he had taken had not been satisfactory to his mind. He quite agreed with the noble Lord that, when a competition was resolved upon, a preference ought to be given, in the selection of the artist, to those who had competed. But the noble Lord had omitted to add that the monument to be erected was not, properly speaking, the monument competed for. In the best times of art, sculpture was viewed more in relation to architecture than it had been in later days; and what- 2229 ever might be the abstract beauty of a piece of sculpture, it was dependent for general effect on harmonizing with the building and its architecture. In the present case, when the competition was announced, the site determined upon was specified as being under one of the arches of the nave of St. Paul's, and the artists who competed produced a work which they believed to be suitable to the place. The site, it must be admitted, was not a good one. The monument would have been seen by spectators on four sides, and on two sides the light would have come upon it direct from the windows. The artists, therefore, naturally fell into the pyramidal form of design, and presented one central figure surrounded by smaller figures, none of them being of such a character as to allow of their being placed against a wall. From this reason, perhaps, it was that so many of the designs provoked a comparison with the work of the silversmith or the confectioner, when they prepared central ornaments for a dining table. One of the artists, however, proposed the design of an equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington, placed upon storeys of arches, the only precedent for which was the equestrian statue of the Duke at Hyde Park Corner. He agreed with those who thought that the Consistory Chapel was a better situation than the nave; but in that chapel there was only a single window, and the light would only fall upon the monument from one side. The best place was against the wall, in an alcove which was well suited for the monument. The proper design for such a monument was mural, and it followed that all the designs were different from those which the same artists would have sent in if they had known of the new site. In the Consistory Chapel the work need not be allegorical, and might resemble more nearly the great monument of Italy, the tomb of the Medici. Whatever might be the merits of Mr. Stevens's design, it would, in his opinion, be much better adapted for the former site under the arch than for the Consistory Chapel. He trusted, therefore, that it would not be hastily selected, but that the sculptors of the highest professional acquirements and skill in England would be afforded an opportunity of giving their opinions as to the general effect which a particular piece of sculpture would be likely to produce in the proposed site. By taking that course there would be a much better chance of securing a monument worthy of the age and of the coun- 2230 try than by the adoption of the plan which the noble Lord proposed. For his own part, he could not help thinking that it was extremely inexpedient to commit the erection of the monument to three persons who were apparently to possess equal authority as to the manner in which the work was to be carried into execution. Let him suppose that those three persons should not coincide in opinion with respect to the work, who, he would ask, was to decide between them? If the framing of the general design of the monument were intrusted to one of the number, and that to the other two was confided merely the execution of the details, to such a proposal he should entertain no very strong objection. So far, however, as he understood the proposal of the Government, each of the three gentlemen in question was to possess an equal share of authority with his colleagues. To Mr. Marshall, it seemed, was to be committed the execution of the sculpture connected with the work. [Lord J. MANNERS: I never mentioned Mr. Marshall's name.] He had understood the noble Lord to say, upon a former occasion, that the figures were to be executed by Mr. Marshall. [Lord J. MANNERS: Not in that monument.] Well, at all events, in the chapel, and the result would, in all probability, be a want of harmony in the whole work, owing to the circumstance that those figures would not be in accordance with the rest of the work, and that there would thus be a conglomeration of various styles. He trusted, therefore, that the noble Lord would see the propriety of not persevering in the course which he had indicated, and that he would afford the artists of England an opportunity of framing a new design for the new site. Some of the ablest of the artists residing in this country—Mr. Gibson and Baron Marochetti, for instance had not competed upon the last occasion; and it was but right that, before any further steps were taken in the matter, the Government should have the advantage of being aided in the conclusion at which they might arrive by men of such high eminence. The site being changed, them was the less necessity for confining the selection to any of the models which had been produced at the competition. He thought the noble Lord desired to do what was right, but he could not help feeling that he had assumed a responsibility which it was not wise in him to assume. Mr. Stevens had not hitherto produced any work which should 2231 induce them to trust blindly in his hands a national work, such as this monument to the Duke of Wellington ought to be; and he trusted the noble Lord would not sanction the placing of an equestrian statue on the top of the arch, inasmuch as that form of monument was open to strong objection, as was demonstrated in the case of the statue at Hyde Park Corner, Having made these observations, it remained for him simply to express a hope that the Motion of his right hon. and learned Friend would receive the support of the House.
§ MR. STIRLING
said, he thought the House owed a debt of gratitude to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for having introduced the subject under discussion to its notice; but he must at the same time observe that the arguments which lie had adduced in support of his Motion did not seem to him (Mr. Stirling) sufficiently cogent to induce hon. Members to support the proposition of which he was the advocate. The great argument against that proposition was, he thought, to be found in the circumstance that there had already been two instances in which competition for the execution of the monument in question had taken place, and that both instances had been marked by failure. The same result might occur again. It was quite true that the noble Lord when he came into office found the subject in a very difficult position. The failure of the late competition was not owing to any want of care on the part of the right hon. Gentleman who then had charge of the department, but rather to the ignorance of the public as to what it was they really required. Sculptors were invited to send in designs adapted to a site which subsequent reflection had shown to be unfit, and thus the labours of those artists were thrown away. The noble Lord had to decide upon his own responsibility whether there should be a fresh competition, or he should select from those who had been already chosen. The noble Lord had adopted the latter course, and had selected Mr. Stevens, with Mr. Marshall and Mr. Penrose. With respect to the latter gentleman it was not quite the fact that he had produced no great work by which a judgment could be formed of his abilities. The beautiful sepulchral chamber in which the remains of the Duke of Wellington now rested, was the production of that gentleman, and that sarcophagus was one of the most remarkable works of modern times. He (Mr. Stirling) was disposed to support the decision of the noble 2232 Lord, believing that it was intended Mr. Penrose should make a mural design in the Consistory Court, to be filled in with sculpture by the two other gentlemen. He had however, been alarmed to hear the noble Lord state that Mr. Penrose approved the design of Mr. Stevens as the one that should be adopted, for the erection of a monument consisting of a dome and canopy, and a horse on the top, in the cathedral of St. Paul's, would be a most disastrous artistic exploit. He hoped therefore that the noble Lord had not selected Mr. Stevens's model as the one to be erected, but that he had chosen him as a man who having displayed so much talent in the execution of that design ought, in his opinion, to be entrusted with the execution of a new design to harmonize with the new site in which the monument to the Duke of Wellington was to be placed. Upon that point he hoped to receive some further information from his noble Friend.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, the noble Lord the First Commissioner of Works on a former occasion had expressed a hope that there would be no dogmatizing upon art; and that evening he warned the House against resolving itself into a Committee of Taste. The present was not a question of taste so much as of common sense. The object in view was to erect to the memory of the Duke of Wellington the finest monument that the sum at their disposal (£20,000) could procure, and the question was, whether the course adopted by the noble Lord was the best that could be taken. Upon that point he differed from the noble Lord. There had been two competitions, the first of which was an undoubted failure. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir B. Hall) then invited an unlimited competition, upon which the noble Lord said the judges gave no opinion. That was true so far as to any pointed award, but the Marquess of Lansdowne had expressed his opinion in Parliament that not one of the designs was of sufficient merit to induce the Commissioners to recommend its adoption. Such, too, he was informed were the opinions of the other judges, and thus the second competition had also been a complete failure. And without giving any opinion of his own, he might add that public opinion had confirmed the judgment of the Commissioners. The hon. Member for Maidstone (Mr. Hope) had advocated the course taken by the Government, and admitted that the results of the competition were not ridiculous but common-place, notwith- 2233 standing which admission, he proposed that one of the competing designs should be erected. The hon. Gentleman did not desire that any of the designs so condemned should be erected, but seemed to fancy that if "we," whoever "we" might be, were to sit upon the models, something might result from the process of incubation which would be satisfactory. With that process he (Lord Elcho) would have nothing to do. The noble Lord condemned his own scheme by not wishing to erect any one of the designs, and instead of giving the commission to the first prize man, giving it to the sixth, under the superintendence of an architect, with the aid of another competitor, to execute some figures suitable to the monument and the site. That might be a wise course, but if unity of design was desired, the work should be intrusted to one alone. If they wished that this monument should bear the impress of the genius of the gentleman of whom they had heard so much (Mr. Stevens), let them confide the monument entirely to him, and let him be responsible for it. There was an old saying, that too many cooks spoiled the broth, and he was afraid that this might be the result in the present instance. He believed the truth to be that his noble Friend was fond of a quiet life, and was therefore anxious to conciliate as many artists as he could by employing as many of them as possible; and he could hardly wonder at that feeling of his noble Friend, for he had himself had opportunities of knowing that artists were people whom it was very difficult to satisfy. But he hoped his noble Friend would show that he could resist that influence. The designs which resulted from open competition had certainly not stood the test of public criticism. On the contrary, they had been condemned by the public, and he contended that the Government was in no wise bound by the terms of the competition to confide the erection of the monument to any one of the competitors. The terms of the competition for the Wellington Monument and the Foreign Office were precisely similar. In the case of the Foreign Office, as in that of the Wellington Monument, there was nothing in the terms of the competition which necessarily bound the Government to select the architect from the successful competitors. It must be clear to the House that when the principle of unlimited competition was adopted the object was to attract talent from all quarters, with the view to obtain the best possible design; but when that principle was 2234 adopted no one could foresee the result of such a competition. It remained to be seen, in such a case, whether or not artists of the highest class came forward; and, therefore, it would be foolish in the last degree if the Government were to be bound necessarily to accept any one of the designs that resulted from a competition which was unlimited. He was strongly in favour of competition, but he as strongly objected to the Government of necessity giving the execution of the work in a case like the one in question to one of the persons who had taken part in the competition. If the Government were to be so bound, and the work, when executed, should turn out a failure, the public would point to it as the result of unlimited competition. He ventured to think that the Government would act more wisely if they were to select one or two of the most eminent artists which England, or, if necessary, the world could produce, and confide the execution of the work to him or them, The object the House had now in view was to erect a monument worthy of the illustrious Duke and of the country; but his opinion was, that the course the Government meant to pursue was not likely to lead to that result, and the House had, therefore, better be satisfied with the sarcophagus and save their £20,000, than consent to the erection of another monster perhaps as startling as that which was to be seen at Hyde Park Corner.
§ SIR BENJAMIN HALL
said, when he held the office of First Commissioner of Works he suggested to the Government that they should have recourse to unlimited competition with regard to the monument proposed to be erected to the memory of the Duke of Wellington. There had previously been a limited competition, as stated by his right hon. Friend (Mr. Wortley). Four artists were selected—Baron Marochetti and Mr. Gibson had declined to compete, but Mr. Foley and Mr. Bailey had sent in designs which were not deemed worthy of adoption by the Government. Then it was that he (Sir B. Hall) proposed to resort to unlimited competition; and, looking at the object in view, and the large sum of money that was to be expended upon the work proposed to be executed, he thought that the best principle on which the Government could act, and the House of Commons had sanctioned his proposal. Allusion had been made as to the terms of the competition issued from the Office of Works, and to 2235 their being strongly guarded. They were peculiarly guarded, because he felt, where the competition was absolutely unlimited, it might be possible in a case of this kind that persons might be capable of sending in very pretty designs, calculated to strike the eye, but who might be incapable of carrying out those designs in marble or any other material which might be decided upon. The suggestion he had made resulted in the exhibition of designs which were seen in Westminster Hall. They had two exhibitions of designs in the same place last season, and he never saw so great a contrast as that between the designs exhibited for the public offices and these for the Wellington Monument, whilst the talent displayed in the designs for the new public offices, and for laying out the ground in the neighbourhood of Downing Street with a view to the concentration of the public offices in that locality, was so great that the exhibition elicited universal approbation. He was bound to admit that the exhibition of designs for the Wellington Monument was a failure. That opinion was confirmed by the judges, and, he believed, by the public at large. His right hon. Friend had referred to the Report recently presented to the House by the Committee which sat upon the reconstruction of a new Foreign Office and other matters relating thereto, and in allusion to the principle of unlimited competition had read only that part of the Report which just suited his special purpose, and had wholly omitted to bring under the consideration of the House that portion which showed the benefits resulting from unlimited competition. He (Sir B. Hall) was a member of that Committee, and he would read to the House the words which concluded the paragraph on the subject of limited and unlimited competition. They were as follows:—The principle of unlimited competition has the advantage of giving an opening for the recognition of real, though unknown talent, which patronage, however wisely exercised, or even limited competition, may fail to call forth.In a competition of that nature he thought it was the duty of the Government to give the execution of the design to one of the successful competitors, provided—and he wished that to be understood—there was the conviction on the part of those who had to decide, that the talent displayed in the competition and the known practical experience of the competitors, afforded to the public a sufficient security for the suc- 2236 cessful and proper execution of the work in the event of its being entrusted to any one of them, and in this view of the case he was fortified by the opinion of the Committee which was that—In now recommending that a preference should be given to the successful competitors in the erection of the new Foreign Office, your Committee have been induced to do so from a conviction that the talent displayed in their designs, and in most cases their known practical experience in the construction of buildings, afford to the public all needful security for the successful and proper execution of the work.It would be a question for the noble Lord to determine whether all those who had gained the premiums for the Wellington Monument were capable of executing the work, or which of the successful competitors was most capable, supposing that the noble Lord was of opinion that any of them ought to be employed. With regard to the site, he begged to remind the House that at first the only site that could be procured was under one of the arches. Since that time the Consistory Court, in consequence of recent legislation, had become vacant, and it had been placed at the disposal of the noble Lord. Now, it had struck him very forcibly that the design which had been prepared for one part of the building could not with any propriety be put up in another part of the building for which it was in no way adapted. An equestrian figure, the horse standing upon arches seemed an extraordinary design for the site now selected, and he believed it would be extremely difficult so to alter the design as to make it suitable for the Consistory Court. The noble Lord had stated that before anything was done he would have the model exhibited on the proposed site; he hoped that in the meantime he would reconsider the whole subject. With that understanding he thought they should leave the responsibility with the Government. He knew the extreme difficulties which the noble Lord had to undergo in his department in regard to matters which were termed matters of taste, and he would be the last man to do anything to increase those difficulties. He entreated him, however, to consider fully this subject, and if he should see that the model as now designed really could not be put into the chapel with effect, then let him communicate either with the successful competitors or with other artists, so that the monument might be put up as speedily as possible, and might harmonize with the locality for which it was destined.
§ MR. MONCKTON MILNES
said, he was afraid they must all admit, however painful it might be to many excellent gentlemen, that the exhibition in Westminster Hall had been a failure; and, having come to that conclusion, the next thing was to see if anything could be done out of the sphere of that competition. The best course for the Government to pursue would be to call into their counsels all the artists who were thought capable of performing the work required, whether they had joined in the competition or not. His noble Friend would do well if he put aside altogether his present proposal, and next year asked the artists of this and other countries to exhibit their models, not under any regulated form of competition, but simply for the purpose of showing to the Government and the country the best possible statue that could be produced. He thought that by a plan of that kind they would ensure the exercise on the subject of the talents of the most distinguished artists of the age, for there was no danger of the pride or self-esteem of the distinguished exhibitors being in any way offended, and that if there was next year an exhibition of this kind, accompanied with no conditions whatever, it would prove successful. Better have no statue at all than one that would be unworthy of the country.
remarked that there was no instance of a man on horseback having been allowed to enter a temple.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, in answer to be hon. Member for Perth (Mr. Stirling), that what he proposed to do was to authorize Mr. Stevens to erect a model, with such modification as might seem requisite, on the proposed site in the consistory Chapel of St. Paul's, so that they might be able to judge of its fitness and of the effect.
MR. STUART WORTLEY
said, he understood that under no circumstances would the authorities of St. Paul's allow a figure of a person on horseback to be erected in St. Paul's. He did not undervalue Mr. Penrose, but he did not think he was so well known that the public would like to have the management of this great national monument committed to him and Mr. Stevens. Throughout this debate he had been represented as recommending a second limited competition. He recommended no such thing. What he recommended was, that they should, as his hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract (Mr. M. Milnes) said, set aside all that had 2238 taken place at the competition, which had utterly failed in producing any worthy design, but that they should excite emulation by employing the principal artists who were known in Europe to send in designs, making it certain that the best design would be adopted, and then he had the best reason for believing that there was not one of them who would not produce a design.
§ Question put,
§ House divided:—Ayes 26; Noes 44: Majority 18.