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fact, much too good, and quite unsuited to its purpose. The result was perfectly disastrous. It was like wrapping up a cream cheese in a fur coat. True, one or two members took a personal interest in details of the work. The pictures in the Galleries were consequently well hung so far as the insufficient space allowed, and the few purchases were wisely made. True, the School of Applied Art, under the direct supervision of Sir R. Rowand Anderson became a practical School of Architecture, and the main instrument in any advance there has been in building design in Scotland. But the responsibility shared by so many was felt by none, and apart from the points just mentioned the administration of the Board can only be described as thoroughly bad. The School of Art was moribund, and, though supported out of National funds, had long ceased to be national in any other sense. Promising students even from Edinburgh preferred to attend the newer and better equipped schools in Glasgow and Aberdeen. The Academy Life School was hopelessly cramped in the attic over the porch. The Royal Society complained that it was over-rented and underpaid. The Curators of the National Gallery and Portrait Gallery were allowed no liberty in making purchases: indeed purchases for the National Gallery were considered undesirable, because it was full. The funds of the Board were allowed to collect in order to meet repairs and contingencies. The Board always felt poor. It never discovered that it was spending its money on objects which, in Ireland and England, had long been met out of Parliamentary grants. The Board never thought of taking up the cudgels for any of the institutions under its charge, or obtaining for them the same grants which like institutions in England and Ireland were receiving. On the contrary, it made it its business to protect the Treasury from such applications, while it modestly devoted its small income to defraying expenses which would otherwise have fallen on the Exchequer.
These shortcomings were noticed by few-so much is the work of a public department taken for granted-but they did not escape the keen eye of Mr. W. D. M'Kay, now the respected secretary of the Academy, and he took steps, as in duty bound, to get things put straight. In 1902 the Board's administration was challenged in Parliament. For once the Scots members knew and got what they wanted. A committee was appointed, with Mr. Akers Douglas, now Lord Chilston, as chairman, to enquire into the whole subject. The Committee's report was published
in 1903, with the evidence, in case the curious reader cares to consult it. It reviewed the whole situation. Its recommendations, which were of a fairly obvious kind, have in most cases been carried out. In some respects they have been improved upon by the Scots Office and Parliament.
From these new arrangements, which may now be briefly described, the Academy has derived great advantage. For this it has largely to thank its President, Sir James Guthrie. This is no idle compliment. The writer happened to follow the negotiations sufficiently closely to know that the Academy would not have fared nearly so well as it did, but for the patient tenacity and sound judgment of the President. His diplomacy displays the same qualities that impart force to his portraits, a close knowledge of his subject, a determination to stick to essentials, and a natural dislike to over-statement. That kind of diplomacy never asks for too much, but gets what it wants. Moreover, Sir James carried his colleagues completely with him, so there was no weakness from divided counsels. The Academy is now installed in the northern or older building on the Mound, which has been altered to suit its purpose, and is henceforth to be maintained at the public expense. In return the Academy has made over to the nation its large and valuable collection of pictures and any claim it may have had on those formerly belonging to the Royal Institution. These are now merged in the National Gallery, which occupies the whole of the southern or newer building on the Mound. This building has been slightly altered in order to throw the two sets of Galleries into one. Inside, the building preserves in the main the scale and plan of Playfair's design. The outside has scarcely been touched. The outside of the northern building also remains practically unaltered, but inside it has had to undergo more drastic transformation, being as it stood, with its small rooms at different levels, quite unfit for its new purpose. The Academy Life School and the Applied Art School have been transferred to the new Edinburgh College of Art, where the members of the Academy still act as visitors in the Life School. The other moribund School of Art on the Mound has been closed. The Royal Society, with assistance from the public purse, has moved to new quarters. The Gallery of Casts has been dismantled, and those of its contents worth keeping have gone to the College of Art. Thus the whole of the northern building on the Mound has been rendered free for the use of the Academy.
There are only two things it is possible to regret in these
changes: one is the displacement of the Applied Art School which possessed an individuality, rare and much to be prized, which it can scarcely hope to preserve as part of a larger institution; the other is the alteration of the interior of Playfair's first beautiful building, a model of ingenuity, fitness, and proportion, but not suitable for its new purpose. The transformation has been well and carefully made by the Office of Works, and it would be difficult to imagine an Academy better placed or better housed. The cost of these changes was met partly from the accumulated funds of the old Board of Trustees and partly from the Treasury. A new Board of Trustees with seven members now administers what remains of the old Board's funds and duties. This Board still stands somewhat in the position of a landlord to the Academy. No rent is paid, but the building is vested in the Board, and the Academy has not an unlimited right of occupation. This arrangement, dear to the official mind because it multiplies correspondence and divides responsibility, does not seem very wise in view of past events. But since the rights of the Academy are clearly defined, and the President is a member of the Board of Trustees, there is little occasion to apprehend trouble.
What use is the Academy going to make of its new opportunities? What are the true uses of an Academy? What its true place in a country like Scotland? It will help us to answer these questions if we remember that the Academy is a two-sided thing, with public duties and domestic duties, which may, and often do, come into conflict. Let us consider the domestic side first. Seen from this point of view the Academy is the home and centre of painters, sculptors and architects. It has to watch over their interests, to take the lead in their affairs, to keep their work up to the mark. It has also, by its exhibitions, to put the public in touch with the best work of the day, and to bring new men and new ideas to the front when they deserve it. This the reader may think is to take a very wide view of the Academy's domestic circle, but it is the only logical view. The Academy holds a trust for every artist whose work deserves encouragement. Its obligations are by no means limited to its own members. Of course the academicians may, and happily do, have their own corporate existence and a pension fund consecrated to their own use. They have their library and offices and place of meeting. But apart from such ordinary adjuncts of their public duty, it cannot be too clearly pointed out that the Academy as an institution no more exists, or claims to exist, for the benefit of the
academicians, than the British Museum exists for the benefit of the Trustees. It belongs to the whole brotherhood of artists.
But the Academy has another duty, and a higher. It has not only to take care of the artists. It has to take care of the arts. How is that to be done? Well for one thing the Academy must constantly take our bearings for us. It must see how we stand compared with other countries, and when we lag behind find means to show us what other countries are doing. Then it must in a measure hold the balance between the movements of the day, since art most often advances by a series of revolts, and must decide which are to be encouraged. Others may forget, but it must always remember how the present trembles between the past and the future. It must discard what is antiquated. It must prize what is scholarly. It must remember how the labour and thought of generations may go to the making of one fine design. Yet it must discourage lazy repetitions, whether of a man's own work or of other people's. Its eyes must be open to new ideas and new materials. And common-sense must not be left out of account. Too many people think that common-sense ends where art begins. They forget that every great work of art, whether it be a Greek coin or a thirteenth century cathedral or a portrait like the Man with Gloves,' is built on a solid foundation of common-sense. The question 'why' is one which an Academy cannot ask too often. It is as pertinent to a work of art as to an Act of Parliament. Fitness can and must always be measured. Noble designs should be devoted to noble uses. Difficult though it is to discriminate between what is great and what is merely skilful, the attempt must be made. The limitations of materials can be recognised and obeyed. An Academy must see to this. Water colour must be water colour; oil, oil; marble, marble; and bronze, bronze. None of these are questions of taste. This kind of control by an Academy means business-like adherence to an ideal and a plan. It is work for scholarly, levelheaded men. There is nothing mysterious or fanciful about it.
It is doubtful whether the influence of an Academy can reach much further than this, but there are other things for which it will always be waiting. Beauty of form and colour and imagination will appear only when genius breathes on the work. The Academy must keep a sharp look-out for the visits of genius. It must avoid the extravagance of the modern critic who finds so little to admire in the fine craftsmanship of Alma Tadema and so much in the nasty lispings of the Post Impressionist. But
it must be sure to welcome genius whether it comes visibly concentrated in some gifted individual or thinly diffused, as is often its strange way, over a rebellious group or a movement. Academies are not always quick at descrying genius. If any reader doubts this let him call to mind the work collected at the Tate Gallery last summer-the work of Stevens, Whistler and Legros, three men of striking influence, but never made welcome at Burlington House. It may be doubted at first sight whether men chosen for their artistic achievements are necessarily fitted for the discharge of these wide duties of criticism. The writer has no such misgivings, believing that any work of art deserving the name is a guarantee of strong character and discernment in its maker, quite apart from imagination and technical skill.
Now it is pleasant to record that the R.S.A. shows every sign of its intention to work up to the ideals sketched above. For the discharge of duties so varied, and, in some ways, so contradictory, the first need is clearly an elastic mind. This has not always been a strong point in academies. Usually their constitution seems expressly designed to preclude that quality, especially when the members are of two grades and the administration centres in the elder. Men are rarely elected associates till they are forty-it would perhaps be rash to elect them younger-and ten years more usually elapse before they become full academicians. This means government by the old and crusted. The R.S.A. under Sir James Guthrie and his distinguished predecessor, Sir George Reid, has faced and in a great measure overcome this defect by a wise modification of its constitution. Academicians and associates who are, from ill health or any other reason, unable to fulfil their duties, can now place themselves, or be placed, on the retired list, and their seats filled.1 The number of associates is no longer limited to twenty. The Council which conducts the ordinary business of the Academy still consists exclusively of academicians, who serve on it in turn, but those newly elected are placed at the top of the roaster, and the new blood thus passes direct into the Council. The Committee of Arrangements, commonly called the Hanging Committee, has three associates among its seven members. The number of works to be sent in for exhibition is limited to three for members and non-members alike. Associates are equally eligible with academicians as visitors to the Life School. The younger members thus take a fair share in the leading departments of work. The Royal Academy in London might do
1 Supplementary Charter of 1895.