6 OCTOBER 1860, Page 21

fine arts.


The question as to the enlargement of the Museum or the removal of a large portion of its contents, such as the whole zoological collection, appears to be brought to a dead lock by the unanimous and extensive claims of every department for increased space. Probably the reasons urged by the head of each department arc equally cogent, but those which concern the fine arts claim the first attention, because so long as they are neglected, the public arc actually deprived of even the sight of these costly and most interesting acquisitions. The other collections may be crowded, but they are mostly, we believe, exposed to view. It is not so with the large collection of rare prints and drawings of the great masters, nor with the works of antique sculpture. The crypt or cellar, and even the portico of the Museum, are crammed with relies of classic antiquity, which have not only cost large sums of money, but have occupied the best talents and enterprise of scholars and explorers. The marbles from the tomb of Mausolus and the mosaics from the Palace of Dido have merely been exhumed and brought here to be buried again beneath antiquarian lumber, almost as effectually as under the sands of the desert. It is now about seven years since the Museum received the fine sculptures which formed the monument of Mausolus-a work which employed the best sculptors of the time of Bryaxis, Leochares, Scopes, and Timotheus, and has since been considered one of the seven wonders of the world. Yet these important objects have not been deemed in- teresting enough to be even mentioned in the guide-book of the Museum of this year's date. We conclude, after having made more than one un- successful search, that these sculptures are amongst the number of those which cannot be exhibited for want of space. It is also some consider- able time since Mr. Davis sent home the mosaic pavements and sculp- tures which he succeeded in finding amongst the ruins of Carthage. When that gentleman returns, he will be a little surprised to see the re- sults of his labours stowed away in the crypt with every possible sign of careful neglect. The guide-book is innocent of the existence of these objects again, although Mr. Franks, the President of the Society of Antiquaries, and one of the officers in the department of antiquities in the Museum, is able to furnish a description of them to The journal of the Antiquarian Society. So that at least some kind of description might have been afforded, either attached to the objects themselves or by the official guide-book. Foreigners coming to London, and well acquainted with the acquisitions which have been made for our Museum, must be seriously inconvenienced and disgusted at this want of proper infor- mation in the authorized guide-book of the Museum. The space under the portico, which has for some time been enclosed with temporary glasswork, is filled with sculpture, amongst which arc some lions, evidently of the best time of Greek art, but none of which is allowed to be seen ; neither is there the slightest information offered as to what these objects are.

The Museum may be overcrowded, but the system of accumulating treasures of art to be put aside for years, without any sort of notice or any attempt to show even a portion of them, is one that cannot be alto- gether attributable to the want of space for exhibiting all the objects.