19 MAY 1900, Page 15



Sin,—May I call attention once more to the absurd conserva- tism of the Academy in permitting all artists to send in eight works? We are told that 16,000 pictures, &c., have been received this year, and as only 2,057 have been placed, the number rejected must be 13,943! These numbers, of course, refer

only to outsiders, and if the average sent by each be four works, the total number represents 4,000 artists. But as only 1,257 names appear in the catalogue, it follows that 2,743 persons were disappointed; whereas if two works had been the allowance we should only have had 5,943 pictures rejected instead of 13,943, and consequently double the time would have been given to the inspection of the mass, with the probable result that some passed as goats would have remained as sheep, especially if only one work by each artist had been accepted. As a matter of fact, few of the outsiders had more than two hung, and the majority have but one; twenty-eight have three, ten have four, two have five, and two have seven, these higher numbers being miniatures. Surely it is to the in- terest of the Committee to work this reform, for the selection of 2,057 works out of 16,000 must be simply maddening. Then, lest delicacy should prevent the members limiting the number of outsiders' works while retaining eight of their own, let us see how many R.A.'s and A.R.A.'s exercise their right to so much wall-space. Nineteen sent one, twelve sent two, nine sent three, seventeen sent four, four sent five, four sent six, two sent seven, and one sent eight. Of these higher numbers, most of the works come under the heads of sculpture and black and white; and even the distin- guished exhibitor of eight works includes two enamels to make up his full complement; therefore we may infer that to the majority of the members (fifty-seven) from one to four works are considered, by their own choice, to be sufficient for exhibi- tion, the minority of eleven alone exercising their full privilege. Now, if every member had only sent four works, and every outsider two, the Committee would have gained space for another couple of hundred exhibitors ; and if two works would satisfy members, and one outsiders, four hundred fewer miserables would gnash their teeth in years to come. Once more, there is the case of what we may call the half-hung. These unfortunates, being superior to the immediately rejected, drag on three miserable weeks alternating between hope and fear, only to find at the last moment that they too are but goats ! Why should not their names appear at the end of the catalogue under the heading," Unhung for Want of Space" P Possibly, if one of the important provincial exhibitions would set the example in this reform, the Royal Academy might follow suit.—I am, Sir, &c.,