17 AUGUST 1833, Page 15


THE pictures belonging to the nation are, it seems, still to be treated little better than so much lumber; for we are as far off as ever from having a National Gallery. The old house in Pall Mall, where they have hitherto been stowed away, must im- mediately be taken down, or they might perchance have remained there till it fell in and buried its treasures under the ruins. The " intention of erecting a National Gallery on the site of the old Mews at Charing Cross, is, it would seem, abandoned ; there not being room for the building proposed, without obstructing the front view of St. Martin's Church and its noble portico. Public opinion has in this instance gained a signal victory, by the aid of the press. The folly of the self-conceited arc4itect, however, has contributed not alittle to his own discomfiture. 1 It is proposed that the pictures shall be placed in the Banqueting-house at Whitehall, which is at present used as a chapel for soldiers. This can only be considered as a temporary arrangement, though it is spoken of as a permanent one; for the building, besides being too small, is manifestly unfit for the purpose of exhibiting pictures." j The light is admitted at the sides, as in ordinary dwelliughouses; and the pictures must therefore be hung upon moveable screens in order that they may be viewed to advantage. The windows might be blocked up, and the light be admitted through the roof; but that could only be done by sacrificing the splendid painted ceiling, the work of RUBENS. Lord DUNCANNON, when questioned by Mr. WARBUR- TON as to the inaptitude of the hall for the purpose, especially as regards its limited extent, said that there was space for further enlargement. He did not, however, say where; nor can we per- ceive in what direction the building could be enlarged, but at an- enormous cost for the purchase of the ground. The mere ax- rangements for placing the pictures here will, it seems, cost half the total sum granted for the new Gallery; including compensts-. tion to the disappointed and self-defeated architect, and the ex- pense of erecting a chapel for the soldier& We think, by the by, that the soldiers .might pray as earnestly in their own barracks : for what have regiments chaplains ? Nothing was said about the suggestion to erect a Gallery in the Regent's Park. It is by far the most rational that has been made, and one that is yet, we hope, likely to be adopted. Lord ALTHORP said that Government was by no means decided upon any plan. Let this therefore be urged. What are‘the artists about, that they do not stir in a matter in which they might be expected to take a lively interest ? But their views do not reach beyond their own immediate and ins .dividual welfare.