Studio: international art — 2.1894

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GALLERIES, NATIONAL AND provincial Museums is absolutely ludicrous, for

PRnVTNPTAT they seldom' if ever» kr»ow the true facts of the

i KUV11NL1AL. case, and their crjtjc;sms are usuany the result of

T.n o tt■ „■ , , a cursory and perfunctory visit. If Mr. Hiatt will

My dear Sir,—Mr. Hiatt s article on the above rnmp tn -r;™;„„u„ t i n u

„,u: <. • • * \- j • , . • Ti . ■ j , come to Jiirmingnam, I shall have very great
subject is interesting and instructive. It is evident, 1 6

however, that, as far as this gallery is concerned,
he has little knowledge of the subject on which
he has addressed your readers. Will you permit
me to enter a mild protest against the writer's
statement that "Birmingham owes its Albert
Moore to the good taste of one of its citizens,
just as it owes its insufferable Christian Martyr
to the bad taste of another." The Albert Moore
was presented by two citizens, generous donors to
the gallery, but neither of whom possessed any
great knowledge of art, but they were sensible
enough to be guided by those who did. I do
not for one moment defend the " Martyr" picture,
and I very often regret its presence, but Mr. Hiatt
casts a slur, very probably unintentional, upon the
cultured and excellent taste of the donor of
that picture, who has done much to enrich the
gallery by presenting Millais' famous Blind Girl, a
beautiful Prout, and other works; and who has
been further greatly instrumental in procuring such
pictures as The Star of Bethlehem, by Burne-
Jones; The Two Gentlemen of Verona, by Holman
Hunt; our three beautiful Rossettis, Beata Beatrix,
Sir Galahad, and Boat of Love ; the fine Watts, A
Roman Lady; The Last of England, by Ford
Madox Brown; The Schaffhausen, by Turner;
The Doubtful Coin, by Lewis, &c. The presenta-
tion of The Martyr may have been a mistake, but
the man who never made a mistake never made
anything, and it is unjust of Mr. Charles T. J.
Hiatt to draw attention to this unfortunate gift, to
the exclusion of the many other fine works just
mentioned, the acquisition of which are, as I have
said, in no small degree due to the taste and judg-
ment of the donor of The Martyr.

If your writer were well acquainted with the
Birmingham Museum, he would have referred to
the admirable collection of objects of Industrial
and Decorative Art, which have been so judiciously
purchased during the last ten years. The Birming-
ham Museum and Art Gallery is not to be regarded
as a " Picture Show," but a Museum of Decorative
Art on the lines of South Kensington, a fact your
writer is evidently not cognisant of. It is just this
continually purchasing of and hankering after pic-
tures, and nothing but pictures, by municipalities,
which is in a great measure due to magazine articles
of the character of Mr. Hiatt's, which seriously tend
to discount a Municipal Gallery as a serious insti- pleasure in pointing out what a competent Art
tution.for they teach the public that Art must Committee can accomplish.

^Hj^iSbJpSt^tO point out that no Bdi™ ™> *■ ™y faithfully yours,
single object in this gallery has been purchased out Whitworth Wallis.

of the rates, and, unlike Liverpool and Manchester,

&c, the Council has no voice in the acquisition of P.S.—Since writing the above the donor of the

works of art. Martyr has given further proof of his generosity

I do not in any way wish to eulogise the and good taste by presenting to the Gallery D. W.

Museum under my charge, but the ignorance North's fine landscape, Sweet Water Meadows of

displayed by most writers when dealing with tlie West, exhibited at the New Gallery this year.


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