RECORD: Spottiswoode, William. 1882. [Speech on the late Darwin] The Royal Academy banquet. The Times (1 May): 7.
REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed (single key) by AEL Data 2010, corrections by John van Wyhe 2.2012. RN1
On Saturday night the President and Council of the Royal Academy of Arts gave the usual banquet at Burlington-house previous to the opening of their annual exhibition to the public to-day. Sir F. Leighton, President of the institution, occupied the chair, and was supported by an unusually brilliant and distinguished assemblage. On the right of the President sat his Majesty the King of the Netherlands, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz the Reigning Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince Christian, the Duke of Teck, and the Hereditary Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont. On his left were the Prince of Wales, the Grand Duke of Hesse, the Duke of Connaught, Prince Philip of Saxe Coburg and Gotha, Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar, the Hereditary Prince of Bentheim, the Netherlands Minister, and the American Minister. The following is the official list of the other guests given in alphabetical order:—Lord Aberdare, Sir T. Dyke-Acland, M.P., Mr. W. Agnew, M.P., Mr. J. Aird, Mr. G. Aitchison, A.R.A., Mr. L. Alma-Tadema, R.A., Mr. R. Ansdell, R.A., Mr. E. Armitage, R.A., Mr. H. H. Armstead, R.A., Sir W. Armstrong, President Institute Civil Engineers; Mr. M. Arnold, Mr. Thomas Ashton, M.P., Mr. W. R. Bankes, Mr. T. O. Barlow, R.A., Viscount Barrington, Lord Bateman, Sir J. Benedict, Mr. C. B. Birch, A.R.A., Mr. J. E. Boehm, R.A., Mr. G. F. Bodley, A.R.A., Mr. E. Bond, Principal Librarian of British Museum; Mr. G. H. Boughton, A.R.A., Mr. J. Brett, A.R.A., Right Hon. J. Bright, M.P., Mr. R. Browning, Mr. J. B. Burgess, A.R.A., Mr. F. C. Burnand, Mr. F. W. Burton, Director of National Gallery; Earl Cairns, Mr. P. H. Calderon, R.A., Vice-Chancellor of University of Cambridge; Archbishop of Canterbury, Vice-Admiral 7 an Capellen, in attendance on his Majesty the King of the Netherlands; Lord Carlingford, Earl of Carnarvon, President Society of Antiquaries; Right Hon. J. Chamberlain, M.P., the Lord Chancellor, Mr. T. Chenery, the Dean of Christchurch, Professor A. H. Church, Dr. Andrew Clark, Lieutenant-Colonel S. de A. C. Clarke, in attendance on his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales; Mr. V. Cole, R.A., Lord Coleridge, Lord Colville of Culross, Colonel Hon. W. J. Colville, in attendance on his Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh; Mr. T. S. Cooper, R.A., Mr. C. W. Cope, R.A., Mr. S. Cousins, H.R.A., Viscount Cranbrook, Mr. E. Crofts, A.R.A. Sir R. A. Cross, M.P., Mr. E. Crowe, A.R.A., Earl of Darnley, Mr. H. W. B. Davis, R.A., Earl of Derby, Mr. F. Dicksee, A.R.A., Mr. Oscar Dickson, Sir C. Dilke, M.P., Mr. W. C. T. Dobson, R.A., Right Hon. J. G. Dodson, M.P., Mr. F. Douglas, President Royal Scottish Academy; Mr. H. Doyle, the Master of the Drapers' Company, Mr. F. A. Eaton, secretary R.A.; Mr. H. W. Eaton, M.P., Captain A. M. Egerton, in attendance on his Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught; Captain Hon. C. Eliot, in attendance on his Royal Highness Prince Christian; Mr. T. Faed, R.A., Mr. J. Fielden, Mr. L. Fildes, A.R.A., the Prime Warden of the Fishmongers' Company, Right Hon. W. E. Forster, M.P., Mr. J. Forster, Sir Bartle Frere, Mr. W. P. Frith, R.A., Mr. L. Fry, M.P., Sir J. Gilbert, R.A., Mr. Chapple Gill, Mr. F. Goodall, R.A., Mr. A. Gow, A.R.A., Duke of Grafton, Earl Granville, Mr. H. R. Grenfell, Governor of the Bank of England; Sir W. R. Grove, Sir W. V. Harcourt, M.P., Viscount Hardinge, Sir E. Y. Henderson, Mr. J. R. Herbert, R.A., Mr. H. Herkomer, A.R.A., Sir Farrer Herschell, M.P., Sir M. Hicks-Beach, M.P., Mr. T. H. Hills, Mr. J. E. Hodgson, R.A., Mr. J. S. Hodgson, Sir J. M'Garel Hogg, M.P., Mr. F. Holl, A.R.A., Mr. S. Holland, Mr. J. C. Hook, R.A., Right Hon. A. Beresford Hope, M.P., Mr. J. C. Horsley, R.A., Professor Huxley, Mr. T. H. Ismay, Sir H. James, M.P., Earl of Kenmare, Admiral Sir A. Cooper Key, Earl of Kilmorey, Earl of Kimberley, Mr. G. Kurtz, Sir H. A. Layard, Mr. W. Lee, Right Hon. G. Shaw-Lefevre, M.P., Mr. F. Leighton, Mr. H. Le Jeune, A.R.A., Mr. G. D. Leslie, R.A., Mr. H. Leslie, Mr. T. Hayter Lewis, Vice-President Royal Institute of British Architects; Professor Lister, the Bishop of London, Mr. E. Long, R.A.„ the Lord Advocate, the Lord Mayor, Mr. T. Lucas, Earl of Lytton, Mr. A. Macdonald, Mr. G. A. Macfarren, Principal Royal Academy of Music; Mr. J. M'Whirter, A.R.A., Lord John Manners, Mr. H. S. Marks, R.A., Professor J. Marshall, Mr. W. C. Marshall, R.A., Mr. C. P. Matthews, Captain E. St. J. Mildmay, in attendance on his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge; Mr. J. E. Millais, R.A., Mr. P. R. Morris, A.R.A., Mr. A. Morrison, Earl of Mount-Edgcumbe, the Right Hon. A. J. Mundella, M.P., Mr. C. T. Newton, the Earl of Normanton, the Earl of Northbrook, Sir S. Northcote, M.P., Mr. W. Q. Orchardson, R.A., Mr. W. W. Ouless, R.A., Professor Owen, Sir P. Cunliffe Owen, Sir J. Paget, Sir Harry Parkes, Mr. J. Pender, M.P., Dr. Percy, Mr. J. Pettie, R.A., Signor Piatti, Mr. F. R. Pickersgill, R.A., General Pitt-Rivers, General Sir H. F. Ponsonby, the Hon. S. Ponsonby-Fane, Viscount Powerscourt, Mr. E. J. Poynter, R.A., Mr. D. Price, Mr. V. C. Prinsep, A.R.A., Mr. P. Rathbone, Sir H. Rawlinson, Mr. R. Redgrave, H.R.A., Mr. J. H. Benton, Lord Ribblesdale, in attendance on his Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Hesse; the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, Captain L. W. Ridge, commanding guard of honour A.R.V.C.; Mr. B. Riviere, R.A., Mr. H. Roberts, Baron Roepert, in attendance on his Royal Highness Prince Philip of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; the Rev. W. Rogers, chairman of Dulwich Board of Governors; the Master of the Rolls, the Earl of Rosebery, Baron F. de Rothschild, Mr. H. Russell, Mr. G. A. Sala, Mr. J. Sant, R.A., Professor A. H. Sayce, Mr. G. Scharf, Director of National Portrait Gallery; Count Schimmelpenninck, in attendance on His Majesty the King of the Netherlands; Mr. G. C. Schwabe, Dr. P. L. Sclater, Count von Seckendorff, the Earl of Shaftesbury, Captain E. M. Shaw, Viscount Sherbrooke, Mr. Eustace Smith, M.P., Professor Goldwin Smith, the Right Hon. W. H. Smith, Mr. W. Spottiswoode, President of the Royal Society; Mr. F. Stacpoole, A.R.A., the Right Hon. Colonel F. Stanley, M.P., Mr. E. B. Stephens, A.R.A.; Mr. L. Stocks, R.A., Mr. M. Stone, A.R.A., Mr. G. A. Storey, A.R.A., the Earl of Strafford, Earl Sydney, Mr. H. Tate, Mr. R. Thorburn, A.R.A., Mr. H. Thornycroft, A.R.A., Lord Thurlow, in attendance on His Majesty the King of the Netherlands; Mr. D. Thwaites, The Times Reporter, Mr. H. J. Turner, Professor Tyndall, Mr. Herman Vezin, Mr. Walter, M.P., Mr. A. Waterhouse, A.R.A., Mr. T. Webster, H.R.A., Mr. H. T. Wells, R.A., Mr. Spencer Wells, Major Wernher, in attendance on his Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Hesse; the Earl of Wharncliffe, Mr. A. W. White, Major Winsloe, in attendance on his Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg; Sir Garnet Wolseley, Sir Evelyn Wood, Mr. H. Woods, A.R.A., Mr. T. Woolner, R.A., the Hon. P. Wyndham, Mr. W. F. Yeames, R.A., the Archbishop of York.
The galleries were thrown open to the invited guests at 2 o'clock. The company began to arrive early, and spent the interval until dinner was announced in the agreeable occupation of inspecting the beautiful works which adorn the walls of the various rooms. The banquet-hall was very effectively lighted by the Swan incandescent electric lamps, supplied by Messrs. Siemens Brothers. Dinner over.
The PRESIDENT rose, amid cheers, to propose the first toast. He said,—May it please your Majesty, your Royal Highnesses, your Serene Highnesses, your Excellencies, my Lords, and Gentlemen,—If the toast which both in place and in dignity is ever first in the mouths of Englishmen is one of which long familiar usage has deepened rather than dulled the significance, our sense of that significance has this year been stirred with a sudden and dramatic force. The shadow of a great danger has passed over this realm, and we have seen death, sped by a madman's arm, almost graze with its wings the cherished head of that Sovereign of whom the love is a common link among her countless subjects. (Cheers.) But the shock which was created at such a sight has not been barren of good; the thrill of horror softened soon into one of joy, and from near and far, in this land and in every land where the name of our Queen is honoured, a cry went forth of loving sympathy and relief. So, out of the seeds of evil a good thing may come. Death and disloyalty were in the uplifted hand, and see, a new quickening of much awakened love bursts forth under the averted blow! (Cheers.) Since I entered this room I have learnt that a miscreant has threatened, but only on paper, the life of Her Majesty. I venture to prophesy that all such attempts will only further intensify the loyal love with which you will welcome the toast I am about to offer to you. I give you "The Health of Her Majesty the Queen."
The toast was drunk with enthusiasm.
The PRESIDENT.—Your Royal Highnesses, your Serene Highnesses, your Excellencies, my Lords, and Gentlemen,—A great honour is ours to-night. We are privileged to count among our illustrious guests the sovereign of a nation to which close ties of blood and friendship bind us. I have risen to proffer to His Majesty the King of the Netherlands the most respectful welcome of the Royal Academy of Arts of England. (Cheers.) His Majesty has visited these shores to witness the cementing of a closer link than one of amity between his Royal House and our own, yet I venture to think that even without this new and intimate tie he would have felt no stranger on British soil. I do not here glance alone at the fact that a great and powerful monarch of His Majesty's heroic lineage ruled with a strong hand and visely in these realms nearly two centuries ago. I speak also and specially of the fact that a Prince of Orange, His Majesty's illustrious father, fought and gloriously bled under the flag of England and in command of British troops on the field of Quatre Bras. But, my lords and gentlemen, the presence to-night of the King of the Netherlands arouses in us more than a sense of personal deference to His Majesty. Our thoughts are carried from the ruler to the people over whom he rules and to their undying claims to the reverence of all free men. We are reminded of the days in which the record of that people was a record of the struggle of a race red hot with love of liberty against a power the mightiest in that day, and we remember that in their hands freedom prevailed. (Cheers.) Nor has the pursuit of freedom alone engrossed this gifted and strenuous race, and at any other table it might behove the proposer of this toast to recall some of the names which have given fame to the Netherlands in every field of thought; but it will not surprise His Majesty that under this roof it is not so much the names of an Erasmus, or a Grotius, a Spinoza, or a Huygens that spring to the lips. as rather those of Rembrandt, and of Jan Steen, of Potter, and of Terburg, and all their immortal kin. (Cheers.) Meanwhile, Sire, it would be ill-courtesy to your Majesty to dwell here on the achievements of Dutch genius if Dutch genius were no more. But your Majesty will reflect with pride that in classic lore and in physical science, in divinity and in philosophy, Holland is still worthy of its ancient name, and that these very walls attest its proud vitality in art on the canvasses of a Tadema, a Mesdag, and a Van Haanen. (Cheers.) Once, again, your Royal and Serene Highnesses, your Excellencies, my Lords and Gentlemen, I ask you to drink with me to the health of His Majesty the King of the Netherlands.
The toast was drunk with the utmost cordiality.
The KING of the NETHERLANDS, who was very warmly received, said,—Gentlemen,—I claim your indulgence, because it is my maiden speech. ("Hear, hear," and a laugh.) A maiden must be prudent, but I desire to express my most sincere thanks for the toast which the President has so eloquently proposed, and for the kind compliment which you have paid in my person to my country and its national glory. It has always been my endeavour, and it shall ever continue to be so, to promote all the fine arts, so as to show that the people of the Netherlands have not degenerated from their glorious ancestors. (Cheers.) The President has spoken of my late dear father. All the kindness and all the condescension accorded to me in England, and especially the hearty welcome given to me by Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family, I owe to no merit whatever of my own, but to the merit and the loyal character of my late illustrious father, the hero of Quatre Bras, and the associate-in-arms of the immortal English Field-Marshal, the late Duke of Wellington. Cheers.) Permit me, gentlemen, in conclusion, to drink heartily to the welfare of the Royal Academy of England. (Cheers.)
The PRESIDENT.—Your Majesty, my Lords, and Gentlemen,—I have now to propose to you a toast to which Englishmen always give a clamorous reception, "The Health of the Prince and Princess of Wales and the rest of the Royal Family." To-day, indeed, this toast is of unusual comprehensiveness, for I have the honour to include in its most respectful welcome those illustrious foreign princes whom a bright and auspicious event has gathered round our Queen at this season. They are his Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt, his Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, his Serene Highness the Prince of Waldeck, his Serene Highness the Hereditary Prince of Waldeck, his Serene Highness the Prince Philip of Saxe-Coburg, and his Serene Highness the Hereditary Prince of Bentheim. It is a fortunate circumstance that in touching on the claims of the Royal princes to our grateful respect we are never forced to resort to generalities, for no year passes but one or the other, and more often all of them, give us fresh proof of those qualities on which that respect is justly based. So, for instance, we have recently seen the Prince of Wales, impelled by that love for music which is the birthright of his family, assuming a vigorous initiative in a movement of a very far-reaching character, having for its object the wider spread of musical education. (Cheers.) In this beneficent enterprise, which the nation will follow with deep and cordial interest, his Royal Highness is eagerly seconded by his Royal brother, the Duke of Edinburgh, and by Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. Of the Princess of Wales it will suffice to say that none knows better than his Royal Highness, and none can so fully appreciate, the feelings which animate every Englishman and every Englishwoman towards that most gracious and winsome lady. (Cheers.) It would be superfluous to recall to you the rights which the other members of the Royal Family also have earned in your affections; but I cannot resume my seat without alluding once again to that joyous event in which the only shadow is that it deprives us to-night of the presence of the Duke of Albany, and I do so that I may ask his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales graciously to convey to his Royal brother—together with our unfeigned regret at his absence—the heartfelt wishes of the members of this Academy that his new life may be one of unclouded happiness. (Cheers.)
The PRINCE of WALES, who was loudly cheered on rising, said:—Your Majesty, Sir Frederick Leighton, your Royal Highnesses, my Lords and Gentlemen,—After the speech which has just been delivered by His Majesty the King of the Netherlands—a speech which, I am sure, will have gratified and touched not only the members of the Royal Academy, but also all those distinguished gentlemen who are present here this evening—I feel some diffidence in following and responding to the toast which has been so kindly given by the President. But on this occasion I have not only to return thanks for the health of the Princess as well as for my own and that of the other members of my immediate family, but I have been asked to return thanks for the other distinguished princes sitting on the right and left of the chair, and I feel sure that they will wish me to offer to the Royal Academy their most sincere and cordial acknowledgments for the entertainment of to-night and for the pleasure it affords them to take part in this annual banquet, which is always looked forward to by all of us with so much gratification. (Cheers.) It would be difficult for me, after the necessarily superficial glance I have yet been able to give at your exhibition both of pictures and of statuary, to express my opinion regarding it, even if it were of any value; but I think I may say without hesitation, from what I have seen, that both the President and the members of the Royal Academy have every reason to be congratulated upon the exhibition of this year; for I feel sure that not only those who have seen it to-night, but the many thousands who will visit it for the next few months will derive the greatest pleasure and gratification from going through the various rooms of this institution. (Cheers.) Before sitting down I must mention one other matter—viz., that while it is perfectly clear to us that art in this country has in no wise degenerated, and year by year excellent pictures and statues are exhibited not only at the Royal Academy, but in other buildings in London and throughout the length and breadth of the land, I may say that our artists have shown their proficiency as soldiers, as well as displayed their skill in the use of the brush, the pencil, and the chisel. (Hear, hear.) As one of those who a short time ago took part in the Volunteer Review at Portsmouth, I think that Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar, who is here to-night, will bear me out in saying that the artists looked as efficient and satisfactory as any of the various Volunteer corps who assembled on that occasion. (Hear, hear.) I thank yon again for the very kind manner in which this toast has been proposed and received, and I also return you thanks in the name of the foreign Princes who are present to-night for the hearty welcome which you have accorded them. (Cheers.)
The PRESIDENT.—Your Majesty, your Royal and Serene Highnesses, your Excellencies, my Lords, and Gentlemen,—The toast of the Sovereign naturally awakens within us a sense of the might and dignity of the vast Empire over which her throne is raised. I now rise to ask you to drink to those great services which are set as a shield before that throne, and as an inviolable bulwark about that Empire, "The Army, the Navy, and the Reserve Forces." (Cheers.) The Army is to-night again represented—and long may it be so represented among us—by the illustrious Prince who holds its chief command, and who once more permits me to turn to him for response to a toast which Englishmen never drink without a thrill of pride and sympathy. (Cheers.) With the Navy, which is our chief glory, I beg to couple the name of one of its truest friends, the First Lord of the Admiralty (the Earl of Northbrook). With the Reserve Forces I have the privilege to couple the name of an illustrious Prince whose knowledge of a portion of those forces is of a peculiarly authoritative kind. I mean, of course, his Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. (Cheers.)
The DUKE of CAMBRIDGE.—Mr. President, your Majesty, your Royal Highnesses, my Lords, and Gentlemen,—I have been so often called upon to respond to this toast in this magnificent room, surrounded as we are by all that is lovely in art, and so agreeable to the eye, that I feel somewhat embarrassed in knowing how to express in fresh terms the sense I entertain of the compliment intended to be conveyed to the Army of this country by giving its health and by coupling my name with the toast on occasions such as this. We all feel that our vocation calls us to distant parts of the world; we endeavour to do our duty wherever we may have to go, and, if in doing so we can obtain the good opinion and kindly feeling of our fellow-countrymen we are always gratified that they should remember us at gatherings like this, as we find from happy experience that they invariably do. (Hear, hear.) Such a compliment to the Army is all the more acceptable to me on an occasion when it is paid in the presence of His Majesty the King of the Netherlands. Allusion has been made already to His Majesty's illustrious father, who was long and closely associated with the English Army in the olden time, and who fought with the greatest gallantry and distinction under the Duke of Wellington. (Cheers.) It would ill become me to make any remarks on what I see around me. His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales has already alluded to the fact that the artists, while they adorn these walls with pictures, and give us the greatest possible enjoyment in that way, do not forget that they are Englishmen, and are prepared to do their duty in another, a military capacity if required to do so. I trust that that never will be the case, but, if it should happen, I feel certain of one thing, that the artists would go ahead of every one else, and that, as they did the other day at Portsmouth, they would come out in the most excellent fashion. They marched into barracks; I believe they slept on the same bedding, they had the same fare as ordinary soldiers, and they turned out next morning as spick and span as any soldiers that one could wish to see. (Cheers.) I must express my regret that the corps was not then headed by my excellent friend, your President. Colonel Sir F. Leighton came down on Sunday. I saw him then, and told him I hoped to see him next day. He answered "No," and I said I was sorry for that, and that I feared I should have to put him under arrest. (Laughter.) He replied, "Oh, I have other duties to perform. I must look after the Hanging Committee." (Renewed laughter.) But when I came to think of what was required of him here, "Well," I said, "I cannot do anything to spoil and mar the pleasant evening I expect to spend at the Academy on Saturday, the 29th of April, and therefore I will shut my eyes to your neglect of duty." (Laughter.) I am sure, however, that Sir F. Leighton will acquit himself as a perfect soldier if called upon. As a perfect chairman his first duty is to his guests, and his second to his soldiers. He certainly does not forget the duties of the high position which he so ably fills. At the same time he is a very valuable and useful colonel of his corps, and he has a most excellent coadjutor in Major Ellis, the Artists' Corps being one of the finest that it is possible to see. (Cheers.)
The EARL of NORTHBROOK responded for the Navy. He said,—I thank you most cordially for the honour that has been conferred upon Her Majesty's Navy. If our artists had not been animated by a spirit of self-sacrifice and devotion to their profession, we should not enjoy to night the striking exhibition of their works which adorns these walls; and to this I venture partly to attribute the cordiality with which the toast of the Navy is always received here. For nowhere in the world is that spirit of devotion and self-sacrifice which you are so well able to appreciate more constantly displayed than in the Navy of England. (Hear, hear.) Even in peace opportunities are afforded for showing these high qualities. Not long ago, for instance, in the suppression of the slave trade—a service which commands the sympathies of the people of this country—Captain Brownrigg, commanding Her Majesty's ship London, treacherously attacked by the crew of a slaver, defended himself alone with the utmost gallantry against overwhelming odds, and only fell when literally covered with wounds. (Hear, hear.) I am convinced that the same spirit animates the whole of the gallant service for which it is my privilege to respond. (Cheers.) Sir Frederick Leighton, one of the advantages possessed by the arts of peace, which you so admirably represent, over the arts of war, and particularly the art of building ships of war, is that, while the painter and the sculptor of today look back to the types of old as their models and guides, the progress of invention makes even the ships of which we were but recently justly proud, pass into the limbo of what are called "obsolete vessels." It becomes, then, from the force of circumstances, the duty of the Board of Admiralty to replace our old friends by new, and, I am sorry to add, costly additions to the fleet. The condition of the Navy has always, and rightly, attracted the attention of the British public and of Parliament; and I am glad to have an opportunity of gratefully recognizing the manner in which the question—so well explained by my friend, Mr. Trevelyan, the Secretary to the Admiralty—was recently discussed in the House of Commons, especially by my predecessor, Mr. Smith (cheers), showing that at least there is one subject upon which, in no mere conventional sense, but in real earnest, the differences of political parties are set aside. The Board of Admiralty are only the more deeply sensible of their responsibility. We have made a considerable increase in the construction of ships of war during the last two years, and it is our determination, so far as in us lies, to maintain the naval superiority of England, which has been frankly recognized by our friends across the Channel, in no spirit of aggression or of rivalry, but because we are convinced—to use the words of our old naval statutes—that upon the Navy, "under the good providence of God, the wealth, safety, and strength of the kingdom mainly depend." (Cheers.)
The DUKE of EDINBURGH, who was very cordially received, said,—Your Majesty, Sir F. Leighton, your Royal Highnesses, my Lords, and Gentlemen,—Your chairman has called upon me to return thanks for the Reserve Forces, and I do so with very great pleasure. At the same time, Sir Frederick Leighton has stated that he has called upon me to respond more especially with regard to the naval portion of the Reserve Forces. My illustrious relative the Field-Marshal Commanding-in-Chief has, I think, so completely dealt with the land portion of these forces, and has paid such a compliment—such a well-deserved compliment—to the Artists' Corps of Volunteers, that I think I need not dwell on that part of the toast. But, as I am called upon to return thanks for this toast, I think that it is rather a novel case, as the naval branch of the Reserve Forces have not been before responded for separately. (Hear, hear.) The Naval Reserve Forces are much greater than, I think, is generally known and understood in this country. They consist of something like nearly 28,000 men. (Hear, hear.) They are divided into different categories. In the first place there are the Coastguard, as they are called, which, including the officers, number about 4,000. In the second place there are the Seamen Pensioner Reserve, 1,590 in number. Then there are the crews of ships and cruisers, numbering 3,600; next, there are the Royal Naval Reserve, of 17,400 men; and, finally, the Royal Naval Artillery Volunteers, of 1,350. These together form a reserve for the Fleet of this country of, as I have said, nearly 28,000 men. With respect to the first category which I have mentioned—namely, the Coastguard—they are men who are selected, I may say, from the pick of the men of the Fleet out of the number of 32,000 who are voted every year. These are men who have served for ten years and upwards, and they form the most valuable reserve for our petty officers in any emergency which may call for a sudden increase of the Navy. But at the same time you may not all be aware of what the duties of these men are. These men, whose neat cottages and gardens may have been seen by many of you around the coast of England, during the night time patrol the whole coast; and I may say that there is almost a continual communication kept up round the whole coast of the United Kingdom during every night of the year. These men, besides that, perform most important services in regard to wrecks. They are the first men to call out the volunteers to man the lifeboats, they volunteer to man them themselves, and they go out to man them; in places where there are no lifeboats they use the ordinary small boats which are attached to their stations. In the short time during which I have been in command, since November, 1879, they have saved in boats no fewer than 79 lives. (Cheers.) Moreover, they have all round the coast of England the management and care of the rocket apparatus, or what is commonly called the life-saving apparatus, and they manage no fewer than 290 rocket stations. During the last two years and a half—the period I have mentioned—they have saved no fewer than 950 lives. (Cheers.) These services have been recognized by different bodies and from different sources. There have been received in that time three Albert medals from the Queen, and altogether from the Board of Trade, the National Lifeboat Institution, Lloyd's, and the Royal Humane Society no fewer than 63 special medals and recognitions for their gallantry in saving life. (Hear, hear.) With respect to the second category that I have named, the Seamen Pensioner Reserve, they are men who have served their full time for pension, and at the same time they keep up their drills annually until the age of 50. As to the Royal Naval Reserve, those 17,400 men are divided into two classes. The first class consists of men who are, I may say, the pick of the merchant navy; and the second class are the deep sea fishermen. With respect to both of these classes, I may say that they are all thoroughly well drilled, and will become efficient men if on any sudden emergency an expansion of the fleet were required. The Royal Naval Artillery Volunteers are men of the civilian class, who are mostly young men fond of rowing and of sports, and I must say, from my inspection of them, that they have thoroughly well got up their drills, and that they may be looked forward to as a great support for home defence in future. (Hear, hear.) Before sitting down I should like to say, in one word, how much I have enjoyed the pleasure of seeing the fine pictures which adorn this room and the adjoining rooms. And more especially I desire to thank one of the most distinguished members of your institution—Mr. Millais—for the admirable way in which he has perpetuated, and the charming manner in which he has drawn the features of my little girl. (Cheers.) I have now only to thank you once more for the honour you have done to the toast of "The Reserve Forces."
The PRESIDENT.—Your Majesty, your Royal and Serene Highnesses, my Lords, and Gentlemen,—If there be no higher task for patriotic men than that of controlling and shaping the destinies of a great people, nowhere is the dignity of that task more fully or more warmly acknowledged than within these walls. Nowhere are the distinguished men on whom it devolves received with deeper respect, to whichever of the great parties of the State the Sovereign may have, for the time being, intrusted it. (Cheers.) All will deeply deplore with me the absence, from indisposition, of the great statesman and enthralling orator who is at the head of the Government and who would, therefore, have responded to this toast. (Cheers.) Meanwhile, I am permitted to turn to the noble Lord who so admirably leads his party in the Upper House and who is the happy master of every grace of speech, the Earl Granville. (Cheers.)
EARL GRANVILLE, who on rising was loudly cheered, said,—Mr. President, your Majesty, your Royal Highnesses, my Lords, and Gentlemen,—My first duty is to offer my respectful condolence to this brilliant assembly, and especially to you, Sir, the President of the Royal Academy and of this banquet. We all know the meaning of chiaro oscuro. We are all aware of the great effects produced in pictures by a judicious combination of light and shade. A charming landscape in this exhibition has for its motto, "There shall be light in the evening." If I may be allowed to say so before your face, one of the prominent characteristics of your genius is the amount of light which you infuse into your pictures, your sculpture, your domestic architecture, your conversation, and your public speeches. (Cheers.) But, unluckily, to-day you have been forced by circumstances to throw an incongruous spot of shade upon one of your most important compositions—the list of the toasts. (A laugh.) It has been for many years your habit and that of your distinguished predecessors to propose the health of Her Majesty's Ministers, not the least as a compliment to a party or a tribute to an individual, but as an evidence of the loyalty of the artistic world to the thing of Government itself, and also, possibly, as a device for extracting a brilliant speech from such masters of the art as Lord Derby, Lord Beaconsfield, Lord Palmerston, Lord Russell, and, last, though not least, Mr. Gladstone. (Cheers.) But to-day, when, of all days, you would have been most desirous of such a result, to-day, when you have such numerous and distinguished foreign guests, counting among them the head of that State whose past and present relations with this country you have just now so graphically described, from no fault of yours, but from the fact that, for once in his life, Mr. Gladstone has regretfully been persuaded to husband his giant's strength, you have been forced to turn to an elderly official, who has never had the slightest pretension to that eloquence which, together with the divine arts which are fostered by your Academy, is one of the greatest exponents of the powers of the human mind. (Cheers.) It may be said that it requires no eloquence to make a good speech on a subject which you understand well. But here, again, I am in a difficulty. Whatever my natural artistic powers may have been, they have been sadly discouraged in youth and in middle age. I took lessons in drawing at school. I brought back, with the assistance of a kind and attentive drawing master, a beautiful drawing of a church. (Laughter.) I remember well the pride of the family circle; but it had its fall when, upon being asked to reproduce the sketch, I found it impossible to do so in the absence of my master. (Renewed laughter.) I found myself later at Rome, at an age which I then thought old, which I now think very young. I was intoxicated by the artistic atmosphere of the place. I sought out an eminent artist, who I knew was sometimes induced to give lessons. I asked him whether I was too old seriously to study drawing. He answered that he had known persons who had begun when older, and who had met with complete success. My first lesson was as good as settled when he put a piece of paper and pencil into my hand, and requested me to draw something out of my own head. I immediately produced and handed to him with some satisfaction a pretty little composition. If I remember right, there was a cottage, a silver fir, and a bush. (A laugh.) The eminent artist was so much pleased with the perfection I had already attained that he handed it back with the observation that, on the whole, he advised me not to take lessons, (Laughter and cheers.) I am afraid there remains only for me to state as shortly as possible the feelings of my colleagues towards the Academy. I have one advantage. I am not a Chancellor of the Exchequer—not even a Prime Minister—and I am, therefore, at liberty, with tolerable impunity, to descant on the advantages of State aid to the Arts. But the misfortune is that the Academy does not want aid, and, I believe, would reject it if it were offered, adding that your only request to us would be to mind our own business, to take, down rather than to erect statues of our great heroes in impossible dresses and in impossible attitudes from impossible places (much laughter and cheers), that we should not be so lavish, or force others to be so lavish, of miles of ugly iron railings, and, above all, that we should endeavour to avoid making our future public buildings more hideous than is absolutely necessary. (Cheers.) You are perfectly aware of the strong position you have created for yourselves and you also know how firm a hold Art has taken in this country. Art does not depend upon Government Departments, but it looks to the encouragement of the great public, whose more cultivated classes are so well represented to-night, not only by kings and princes, by diplomatists and statesmen, by judges and prelates, by men of science and literature, but by those who have inherited or created enormous wealth. (Cheers.) But if we do not offer that which you do not desire to accept, we trust you will welcome the expression of our gratitude to artists, that "pleasure-giving race," if I may borrow a phrase from one of the greatest modern orators, who, by covering these walls with their productions, have given us such a great intellectual treat to-day. (Cheers.) We congratulate the Academy on the educational reforms they have accomplished. We greatly appreciate their determination to promote Art, not to multiply indifferent artists, and we lay the greatest stress on the success of their efforts because we firmly believe that on the state of the Arts among us must greatly depend our place among the civilized nations of the world. (Loud cheers.)
The PRESIDENT.—Your Majesty, your Royal and Serene Highnesses, my lords, and gentlemen,—I ask you now to drink a toast, of which the fitness in this assembly is too plain to need comment, and the claims too manifest to require advocacy—"The Interests of Science and of Literature." With science I couple the name of one of its leaders in this country, a man of whose quality and title to speak on so high a subject it would be impertinence in me to say more than that it is universally acknowledged, but of whom I may say without presumption that his personal worth and that modest dignity of nature which not infrequently accompanies the finest gifts of the intelligence, endear him to, and attach to him, all who are privileged to know him. I speak of Mr. W. Spottiswoode, the distinguished President of the Royal Society. (Cheers.) For a worthy representative of literature to-night I shall go further a field, and, holding English letters to mean the embalmed thoughts of all those whose tongue is English, and who call Shakespeare kin, I shall turn to the famous English writer from beyond sea, who represents in Older England the great kindred nation from which that sea divides us—his Excellency Mr. James Russell Lowell. (Cheers.) It behoves me in his presence to be measured in praise, but fortunately there is in his name, on this shore no less than on that, more of conjuring than could be found in any words of mine, were they few or many, and it is in deference to an impulse and not to any need that I add a word of comment to that name. Just this—that, open we his pages where we will, whether with Parson Wilber we turn to those quaint satires which have made the son of Ezekiel Biglow immortal, or whether we turn to those proud odes with which from time to time he has inflamed the hearts of his countrymen, or to whatever else has flowed from his pen, we are alike aware of an elevated temper—now clothing itself in a racy and pungent dialect, and now in pure and masculine English speech—of a most passionate patriotism, of a burning sympathy with the sufferers of wrong, and, through all, of that intimate and penetrating love of Nature's loveliness which is the bond of our common English blood. (Cheers.)
Mr. SPOTTISWOODE, in responding, said,—Your Majesty, Mr. President, your Royal Highnesses, my lords and gentlemen,—On each of the many occasions on which you have been good enough to propose this toast some one of our leading men has returned thanks, as I now very sincerely do for the continued honour that you have herein done to us. And in so responding it has been the custom of my predecessors to dwell at greater or less length on the intimate connexion between science and art, on their similarities and contrasts, and on other topics. In this way, it has come to pass that in a long series of years there has been piled up a heap or cairn of offerings by those who have passed this pleasant spot in their pilgrimage of life. I trust, however, that on this occasion, coming, as I do, almost fresh from the grave of our greatest philosopher and noblest spirit, I may be permitted to bow my head and pass almost in silence by a spot all bright and joyous in itself, but whose brightness is overshadowed, and whose joys are chastened by the memory of the great man who has gone on before. (Hear, hear.) I know not whether, in the presence of statesmen and leaders of thought, of commanders both by sea and land, of artists, of preachers, of poets and men of letters of every kind, it is fitting that I should speak of greatness; but if patience and perseverance in good work, if a firm determination to turn neither to the right hand nor to the left, either for glory or for gain, if a continual overcoming of evil with good in any way constitute elements of greatness, then the man of whom I speak—Charles Darwin—was truly great. (Cheers.) He lived, indeed, to a good age; he lived to complete his great work of life; he lived to witness a revolution in public opinion on matters with which he was concerned such as few had seen before—a revolution from opposition to concurrence, a revolution from antipathy to sympathy, or whatever else may better express a complete change of front. (Cheers.) And so having at the beginning been somewhat rudely pushed aside as an intruder and disturber of accepted opinions, he was in the end not only borne on the shoulders of his comrades to his last resting-place, but was welcomed at the threshold by the custodians of an ancient fabric and of an ancient faith as a fitting companion of Newton and of Herschel, and of the other great men who from time to time have been gathered there. (Cheers.) His science and his philosophy will live in his works, and for many a long year they will bring forth fresh fruit under the hands of his successors. But the feeling which is at the moment uppermost in our minds is that we have lost our friend, that we have lost the man. And herein I am reminded with exceeding vividness of a remark which I ventured to make on a former occasion in this place—namely, that it was the function of your art to preserve to us living likenesses of those whom we have lost. Never was this function more keenly needed, never was it better performed than in the portrait which to-day hangs on your walls. (Hear, hear.) For this you have the thanks of the scientific world. I fear that the remarks which I have now made may appear somewhat out of tune with the tone of this the most festive of our London gatherings; but it has been truly said that if on the one hand no day is so dark that it is nowhere cheered by a gleam of sunshine, so, on the other, there is none so bright that it is not at some time crossed by the shadow of a passing cloud. (Cheers.)
Mr. LOWELL, who on rising was warmly received, said:—Mr. President, your Majesty, your Royal Highnesses, my Lords, and Gentlemen,—The portrait which the President of the Academy has drawn of me is so different from some of the spirited pen-and-ink sketches of me which I have been receiving lately from the other side of the Atlantic (laughter) that I have a little doubt at first which I ought to resemble. I know that I owe many of the kind things he has said of me to the exigency of his position; but I accept them all, not that I believe that I deserve them, but because it is so pleasant to wish that I did, and because they are so graceful expressions as almost to persuade me that I am a far more remarkable person than I ever imagined myself to be. The President has given me a sort of posthumous feeling. (A laugh.) I have a kind of vague sense that by some irony of fate I have been able to read my own obituary, written by a too friendly hand; but fortunately a man who has a little sense of humour—and I have been sometimes credited with a rudimentary gift, at least, of that kind—I say, fortunately, such a man sees the shadow of his own apparition, and never forgets the lesson which is taught by that apparition. I do not know that my own artistic experience can compare with that of Her Majesty's Principal Secretary for Foreign Affairs, which almost tempts one to parody a line of Pope, and say,
"How great an artist was in Granville lost!" (Laughter and cheers.) But I remember an achievement of my own youth in some respects comparable with his own. I, too, began the art of design, and I was set by my teacher to make a drawing of a bathing-house in the neighbourhood where I lived. I succeeded, I thought, pretty well with my sketch, but it occurred to me that I could improve it by putting in a moon, which I did without much reference to what had gone before. When my teacher saw it he said, "I must compliment you on having performed a feat which none of the great artists of the past have ever equalled. You have made moonbeams come round a corner." (Laughter.) Of course, I know that I am called upon here to answer for literature mainly because of the position which I occupy as the representative of a kindred people, speaking a kindred tongue, and whose literature in some sense forms a part of the great body of English literature. I think that all literary men will agree with me when I say that some of the pleasantest hours of our life, and, perhaps, some of the most profitable, have been passed in studios. (Cheers.) It is pleasant to glide out of the rough waters of everyday life into one of those placid pools where we see reflected only the images and not the reality of things. In deliberative assemblies I know there is a custom sometimes when time presses of reading Bills by their titles and passing them, and I have often thought that a similar practice might be usefully applied at a certain hour to after-dinner orators. I shall apply it in my own case, and after thanking you for the kindness with which you have received me, and you, Mr. President, for the kind expressions you have used with regard to me, I shall take my seat. (Cheers.)
The PRESIDENT.—Your Majesty, your Royal and Serene Highnesses, my Lords, and Gentlemen,—In no assembly claiming to gather round one board representatives of the various social, political, and intellectual forces which build up the nation's life would it be possible to pass over those municipal institutions from which that life gains so much of strength and distinctive character. Accordingly, the toast which I now offer to you never fails to find a place at these annual banquets, the toast, namely, of "The Ancient Corporation of the City of London, and its Chief Magistrate, the Lord Mayor." (Cheers.) My satisfaction in proposing this toast is the greater that various signs reveal within the City of London a growing sense of the dignity and uses of art, and of the prominent part which that great Corporation may and should assumo in its promotion and the spread of its influences. I have good reason to believe that no previous occupant of the high office of Chief Magistrate of the City of London has entertained a stronger consciousness of those powers for good and of that responsibility than does the present Lord Mayor, Mr. Whittaker Ellis, for whom I now invite your cordial and respectful welcome. (Cheers.)
The LORD MAYOR, in returning thanks, said that it was a proud thing for this country that State aid was not required to foster art, but that the people appreciated it in a manner which had raised it to a high and noble position.
The PRESIDENT.—Members of the Royal Academy,—No toast that I could offer to you could more surely elicit your warm response than that which is now on my lips—the health of those among your guests who have not already received a special tribute at your hands (cheers), for no assembly could more fitly show how widely spread a sympathy attends those arts which unfold their attractions in these rooms. Their Excellencies the high representatives of foreign friendly Powers bring to us from far lands the echoes of that sympathy. From our own land representatives of every form of intellectual activity bear witness to it. To such guests I ask you to drink your most cordial welcome. And from among these distinguished men I have the pleasure to appeal for response to one of the most distinguished—to a man, who bearing an illustrious name, has in his turn adorned the name he bears, and who to brilliant gifts of the mind adds the happy power of revealing them in English of rare grace and charm—I mean the Lord Chief Justice of England, Lord Coleridge. (Cheers.)
The LORD CHIEF JUSTICE, in returning thanks, said,—Mr. President, your Majesty, your Royal Highnesses, my Lords, and Gentlemen,—It is too late at night to inquire by what process of selection—certainly not that of the fittest—the President has come down so low on the roll of his guests as to call on an old lawyer to return thanks for a set of men numbering among them persons of the highest eminence in Church and State. But I can truly say that there is no one whom you could have called upon who is more thoroughly grateful, or more happy to return thanks on an occasion of this kind, for all the teaching and delight which but for your art would be unknown to us. But for the art which the Academy symbolizes a thousand things in the world of nature and in the world of man would be to most of us altogether and for ever unknown. (Cheers.) Many things are illustrated by you which but for you would remain to us as sealed books. Through you we know in some respects the outward aspects of thought and passion, both pure and impure. Through you we know the infinitely complex appearances in relation to each other of earth, and sea, and sky. In this there is instruction, in this there is delight, and it would be difficult to imagine a pleasure more ennobling, refining, and enduring than that which art can and does infuse into life. Life, at least as one gets to be old, one is apt to think becomes in a country like this, in a manner, more grim, dreary, and unlovely, except for those few happy persons who have no responsibilities, no troubles, who toil not, neither do they spin. But for the great mass of the people, for the population who live in our enormous cities, for the crowds in mines, for the smelters in the Black Country, for the hundreds of thousands devoted to the pursuits of industry, how few their pleasures and how narrow the range of their enjoyments! You will admit that any one who does anything that tends to lift them up, directly or indirectly, anything which tends to mitigate their sufferings, and give them pleasure, anything which sets before them something better than they see around them, ought to receive at the hands of right-thinking men immense credit. It is not that artists can do very much for those people; they never did, and I do not suppose they ever can. It may be, indeed, that the times of Phidias were in this respect exceptional. But from the days of Michael Angelo downwards none of the arts which speak to the eye except, perhaps, architecture, has ever appealed directly to the masses of mankind. But still it is true that in a broad and general sense the good of mankind and the lifting up and enlightening of life should be things for which all great artists must labour, and that artist must feel when he comes to die that he has failed if the world is not the better for his art. (Cheers.) I think because it is an intellectual matter that the artist can do much by appealing to the heart and the mind of man—that he can do much by a broad and imaginative treament of the subjects he takes in hand. Mere imitation, however clever it is, as sometimes in the case of waxworks coming to the point of actual deception, gives us no pleasure. "Have I had a success?" said a gifted young singer to an accomplished veteran artist of the same kind. "Success," said the veteran, "success, my dear, must fill your pocket." And so when any art fills the pocket of the English artist, no doubt he is better off than he has been. For the sake of English artists and those friends I see around me, I rejoice at it. But whether that kind of success is for the good of art I do not say. By way of the Socratic method, I would ask is it absolutely certain that the highest qualities of art are better cultivated than in the days of Reynolds and Gainsborough? Very rich people may come and look with a discerning eye upon a picture. But is it so certain that the appreciation of English art is wider and better than it was when Reynolds sat at a table, very plain and very homely, as Boswell tells us, with Burke on the one hand and Johnson on the other? These are questions which wiser and better men must answer, if they think it worth while; but of this I am sure, that the Academy of England and the members of that Academy will always, as they have done, hold up a high standard to the artists of their country. (Cheers.) And as I am privileged to call upon you, Sir, to follow me, I will say, and every one will agree with me, that as long as you fill the chair the standard that will be set up will be a high standard, the aim will be lofty, the principles of judgment will be unbending and severe. (Cheers.) We see what Sir F. Leighton can do as a great painter. A great many years ago a Greek orator, Hyperides, when he had to defend Phryne upon a grave charge of impiety, recommended her to unrobe her bosom before her judges, and she won her cause. Sir F. Leighton (Lord Coleridge here pointed to a picture on the walls) has made his appeal to his judges; he has disrobed his Phryne, and he has won his cause—a different cause. (Cheers.) And I am sure he will allow me to say he has taught us that he sits in the chair of the Academy as he ought to sit, not only as an orator, as a man of the world, as a scholar, and as a gentleman, but as a great painter—as the legitimate and worthy successor of Eastlake, of Lawrence, and, above all, of Reynolds. (Loud cheers.) The noble and learned lord concluded by proposing the toast of "The Royal Academy," coupling with it the name of the President.
The PRESIDENT.—My Lord Chief Justice,—The members of the Royal Academy thank yon most sincerely for the kind speech in which, clothing your subject, after your custom, in graceful and eloquent words, you have proposed to this assembly the last toast of the evening. In my own person I must thank you for the too flattering terms in which you have been good enough to allude to myself. To our illustrious and distinguished guests I offer thanks no less sincere for the cordial reception with which they have met the words of the Lord Chief Justice. (Cheers.) I would that, in responding to this toast to-day, it were given to me to spread before you in brief words the record of a year not darkened by any sorrow; but for such a day we may not hope, and year by year my first words must, I fear, be words of saddened memory. Three names have been struck from our muster roll since last we met round this table. The first was the name of Alexander Solomon Hart, for many years librarian of this Academy—a man of much learning, and deservedly esteemed. He was devoted to his office, and in his hands our library received a wide development and a wholesome impetus. But our losses culminated in the death of our treasurer, G. E. Street, an artist of fervent convictions, in whom was summed up and embodied a most interesting phase in the development of contemporary architecture. (Hear, hear.) Gifted with a frame which seemed unassailable in its strength, he yet consumed it before the time in the furnace of his energy, and thus, in their full pride of production, his most brilliant gifts fell prematurely to the ground. (Hear, hear.) The fire is spent, and the sacred silence of the Abbey he so loved sheds peace over the ashes of the pious man to whom his art was a religion more than a pursuit. The third name, which we shall not speak again but in affectionate remembrance, is that of our honorary Professor of Ancient Literature, the late Dean of Westminster (hear, hear)—remembrance most affectionate—for of the many gifts which marked him, it was not so much the lights of his intelligence, sparkling though they were, as, rather, the gifts of his wide, warm heart, which won and held us; and when the frail, eager face and form of Arthur Penhryn Stanley rises within our minds, it is surely first the loving kindliness of that pure and faithful heart that speaks to us in those sensitive features and keen remembered eyes. (Hear, hear.) I rejoice to say that in the post he held so long he is worthily succeeded by a most distinguished scholar and a warm lover of art—our friend the Dean of Christchurch. (Hear, hear.) With the name of Dean Stanley I might, as far as the Royal Academy is immediately concerned, end the sad roll call. But I cannot take so narrow a view of what concerns this body. For I hold, indeed, that nothing which touches the artistic life of this country should be alien to us here, and I cannot pass on to brighter topics without allusion to the loss, within the year, of two most noteworthy artists who did not sit within our fold. One was John Linnell, a high ornament, indeed, to the English school of landscape painting, whose name will live as long as that school lives, and who is nowhere more held in honour than in this Academy, from which he lived aloof. (Hear, hear.) The other was a strangely interesting man, who, living in almost jealous seclusion as far as the general world was concerned, wielded, nevertheless, at one period of his life, a considerable influence in the world of art and poetry—Dante Gabriel Rossetti—painter and poet. (Hear, hear.) A mystic by temperament and right of birth, and steeped in the Italian literature of the mystic age, his works in either art are filled with a peculiar and facinating fervour, which attracted to him from those who enjoyed his intimacy a rare degree of admiring devotion. (Hear, hear.) Such a man could not leave the world unnoticed here, and I am glad to think that it is within these walls that the public will see next winter a selection of the works of these two artists, whom the Academy did not count among her members. Yet one more name, not that of an artist, claims here respectful mention as that of a man to whom the world of art owes a deep and lasting debt; for if we have in this country a vast system of education in art as applied to industry, which is the emulation of other nations, it is due in great measure to the genius and strong will of Sir Henry Cole, who has just passed away. (Hear, hear.) And now a word or two of the living. I think it is impossible to look round these walls without being conscious of a great vitality in the work of the year. Opinions will vary as to the direction of the energies of our school, and on that subject I will not touch or trench to-night; but this is certain, that among the youths who throng the ranks of art (and, gentlemen, with them is our chief concern), a breath of wholesome life is keenly felt as of those who look into the future with hopeful and believing eyes. Not least is this sign visible, I rejoice to note, among the sculptors. (Hear, hear.) Those who glance at the display of works of sculpture in the more seemly setting which we have now provided for them cannot but be impressed with the growth of the school, and the Council of the Academy has again marked the store it sets by this noble art in the purchase under the Chantrey Trust of the powerful bronze by Mr. Hamo Thornycroft. (Cheers.) I have ture, but this much-needed change has not been this year without its drawbacks. It has materially diminished the wall space for the display of pictures, and, although it has been sought to make amends for this shortcoming by hanging works perilously near the last verge of vision (a laugh), the Hanging Committee would wish me to express the true concern with which they have been forced to leave unhung works well worthy of being seen on our walls. Now, for this state of things there is a twofold remedy: a remedy partly within our control, and partly beyond it. I will, with much reserve, venture to suggest the remedy which is not within our control, namely this—that some of the contributors to our exhibition should occasionally strike a juster balance between scale and matter. I would not be misunderstood. I feel the fullest sympathy with the craving of the young for the grand in size as well as in treatment; nor would I for one moment check them in the painting of pictures which demand a large scale. But I would ask to remind them that there is an inherent fitness in certain relations of scale and subject, which cannot be with advantage ignored, and that, if size enhances dignity, it does not, in painting, confer it. (Hear, hear.) The other remedy is, as I said, fortunately, to some extent within our control, and I trust that it will not long be wanting. A limited residuum of ground remains to us about this building, and I hope that at no remote day some extension of our rooms will be achieved. (Cheers.) I cannot do more than foreshadow a change which is still in a plastic state and under the consideration of the body. But I can have no doubt that when it is brought about the area for exhibition will be materially increased, and more suitably distributed than at present, with the result, I am glad to think, of less of that sorrow, that heartburning, which we now in our hearts deplore. Further, I have every hope that the schools, which are our foremost care, may be made sharers in the common gain; and as there is no thought which I should so gladly leave last in your minds as this, that the Royal Academy is alive to its high duties, and ever striving to perform them, I will here bring my words to a close. (Cheers.)
The company then separated.
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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (http://darwin-online.org.uk/)
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