2 MAY 1840, Page 19


Tins society is not Si) eXtQl1S1Vdy known as it ought to be, and conse- quently has not been able to render that assistance in advancing the fine arts of the country, and improving the popular taste, that its plan is peculiarly calculated for : we therefore gladly lend our aid in giving publicity to the principles on which it is founded. These are the same that regulate the Continental ..1.1-t-Unians, and which have been adopted with rr6' success hy the Edinburgh Assmjation for Promoting the


Fine Arts ; and their tendency is to encoura.-;e exy,..1i. nee in the artists,

for dis- and to refine the percepthms of the public, by select

tribution among the suhseril.ers, sonic of the choicest pro,hietions of the exhibitions of the current year. The Art-Union of' Loudon awards money prizes; and as the great majority of persons are more or less unacquainted with works ofart, their selection is likely to be guided by favouritism, Or arbitrory prererence rather than enlightened judgment ; thus the benefit that should result from the annual expenditure of a large sum on pieces of the highest order of merit, if not altogether lost, is diminished in the ratio of uninstructed ignorance to cultivated taste.

We have before stated our objections to the London Art-Union to be that it tends to increase the demand for pictures of a low taste and mediocre talent, as well as of small size and price ; and the display of productions chosen by the prize-holders confirms this opinion : it is a scheme for promoting cheap and bad patronage in art. Now this Society, on the contrary, by electing a Committee of Taste to make the selection, in- sures the choice of the best works the exhibitions afford; thus increasing the money value of the prizes, for really fine pictures generally rise above the first cost when they change hands. A good picture, more- over, gains upon the liking ; and the constant sight of it would in- sensibly improve the taste and extend the knowledge of its possessor.

The Society has another valuable recommendation, in a regulation for setting apart ten per cent, for the purchase of a history or Scripture piece, to be presented to some .church or public institution. In the pre- sent dearth of encouragement for high art, this is a very important fea- ture of the plan. Had such a rule existed in the Edinburgh Association, whose subscriptions reached 7,000/. last year, some edifice would have been enriched with a fine work of art, and some rising genius stimulated to further efforts. The Society ii■r the Eneoura!lement qf British Art present annually to the subscribers an engraving from one of the pictures purchased by them : Mr, BoxALL's Hope" is chosen for the present year. The Committee includes several distinguished connoisseurs and patrons of art ; among them are Mr. BountsuroN, Mr. G. HUMERI', Nr. JOHN FAIR1.11•:, and Mr. Wxai.s. The list is open for subscribers at DOMINIC CoLNAGIO'S, Pall Mall East.