PP/GC/LE/73 Letter from Sir G.C.Lewis to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, regarding suggestions for commissioners to serve on the proposed National Gallery enquiry, and the testamentary jurisdiction question, 19 August 1856
Letter from Sir George Cornewall Lewis, second Baronet, [Chancellor of the Exchequer], Harpton [Court, Radnorshire, Wales], to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: if no persons prominent in politics wish to undertake the National Gallery enquiry, he suggests it may be worth considering Layard, who has expressed a desire to serve. "I am not sure that in some respects he would not be a good person for the purpose. His views as to the necessity of provision for antiques on a large scale would doubtless lead him to look favourably on a spacious site, and his somewhat noisy independence might give weight to his judgement." He has been told that Lord Northampton is an artist with an interest in pictures. Lewis is not acquainted with him, but has means of ascertaining his willingness to serve. He thinks they could not do better than appoint Sir Watson Gordon as chief commissioner, with Layard, Ford, Faraday and Westmacott as colleagues. If any difficulties occurred with these persons, Lewis would say that the House of Commons had carried the address, the Crown has answered in the affirmative, and the government must find persons to undertake the enquiry. Richmond might be made secretary, whom Eastlake recommends. If Palmerston approves of the course suggested, Lewis asks that he indicate whether a direct approach be made to the individuals, or whether previous communication should be made to the Queen or Prince Albert. He has written to Lord Wensleydale about the fees on his new patent, and asked his opinion on the testamentary jurisdiction question. "He concurs in thinking that Bethell and Kelly propose to do too much, and that it is a mistake to attempt to buy up a whole profession." Some years ago, Lord Wensleydale proposed a bill which Graham was to have brought into Parliament; he will send Lewis a copy of it. The bill "sins in the other direction" and does not go far enough, but with the addition of other clauses, might be adapted to present exigencies. Lewis will correspond further with Wensleydale, and hopes to obtain suggestions that will be of use when the cabinet meets in November. In the mean time, Lewis will inform Palmerston of anything of importance from that quarter. It has been raining heavily in Radnor for the past three days, to the detriment of the corn. 19 Aug 1856 [Postscript] Lewis has taken the liberty of directing his bookseller to send Palmerston a copy of an essay Lewis published a few years ago. He thinks it might be instructive. 19 Aug 1856
Three papers
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Sir Austen Henry Layard, Member of Parliament for Aylesbury, art collector
Charles Douglas-Compton, fourth Marquis of Northampton, trustee of the National Gallery
Sir James Watson Gordon, portrait painter
Richard Ford, critic, author and art collector
Professor Michael Faraday, natural philosopher, President of the Royal Institution
Sir Richard Westmacott, sculptor
George Richmond, portrait painter
Sir Charles Eastlake, artist, President of the Royal Academy, director of the National Gallery
Victoria, Queen of England
Prince Albert, later Prince Consort, President of the Royal Society of Arts
James Parke, first Baron Wensleydale, former judge and Baron of the Court of Exchequer
Sir Richard Bethell, Solicitor General
Sir Fitz-Roy Kelly, former Solicitor General
Sir James Graham, second Baron Graham, former Secretary of State for Home Affairs
Radnorshire, Wales; agriculture; crops
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