5 APRIL 1963, Page 15

SIR,—Thermal activities towards radical reform are characteristic of the young

who need such outlets for their energy-plethora, and often the proposed reforms are invalid, campaigned for with more violence than sense. The inclination or impulse to agitate for a reform is a wanton and seductive one, occurring capriciously and sporadically to some like a cold, especially appealing to bored 'intellec- tuals' (even ones no longer young), who sub- consciously cast around for an Aunt Sally, compar- able to children looking for a diversion like the destruction of something that will make a big breaking noise, like a corpulent rococo vase, or the summer shows should be scrapped could ever be- should be quickly cured, for if allowed to develop they could become dangerous.

Not that Mr. Wallis's invidious advocation (Spectator, March 29) that the Royal Academy summer shows should be scrapped could ever be- come dangerous, for I doubt if the administrators of the Royal Academy will take any notice. But just suppose Mr. Wallis was omnipotent: what a terrifying chimera that is. Artists, deprived of the liberal Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, where they can show work of virtually unlimited sizes to an equally unlimited audience denied to other galleries, and sell with no commission deduction, would then be completely at the mercy of the money-mad despots of Bond Street with their per- nicious restrictive practices and cruel corsets for creativity. No more the truly democratic Royal Academy selection committee, but instead the arbi- trary judgments of some businessman in a private gallery unjustifiably claiming to be an authority on wsthetics. No more the newly emergent and laudable catholicism of Burlington House, but instead the tight requirements and irrational trammels of indi- vidual private galleries, each having its own tiny ideas about subject-matter, style, size and frames.

The Royal Academy Summer Show is the artist's one refuge today from the proliferating pound-pots of Bond Street, but Mr. Wallis in his thoughtless- ness would take it away. Obviously you can't equate an art-critic with an artist-lover.

JOHN BRATBY 7 Hardy Road, SE3