Page images

item chiefly comprises, not those who do not intend to betake themselves to any pursuit or calling in life, but those who feel such an aptitude and genius that they intend to make Art a profession. I would only give a caution to such of my young friends, that they should be very careful before dedicating themselves solely to such a calling, without having in view some more substantial reliance in life. Such a pursuit, I believe, is calculated to add to the general knowledge of those who are anxious to study, and is followed for the purpose of acquiring a greater proficiency in the fine arts, which are such useful adjuncts to almost every calling in human industry, and which in themselves exercise such reviving and ennobling influence on all who cultivate them in a proper spirit. Your excellent Secretary, in his opening remarks, referred to the aptitude for artistic study which distinguishes the people of Ireland. I had only last night an opportunity of witnessing the proficiency of those who cultivate the divine art of music; and am proud and happy, on this afternoon, to find such successful exertions on the part of those who have chosen to pursue those not less noble arts of sculpture and of painting. I have not come here, Ladies and Gentlemen, to deliver a lecture to you on the fine arts in general. The auditory I have now the pleasure to address, composed of those who have attended on the classes of the schools, have been competitors, and received rewards; and those who come to witness the recognition of their merits show, by their presence here to-day, that they amply appreciate the value, dignity, and nobility of true art. It only, therefore, remains for me to compliment, as I do from my heart, the students, their families, the very able chief teacher and his skilful assistants, on the great and marked progress, and the success which has attended their exertions, and which have been crowned to-day in this institution.



JANUARY 27TH, 1862.]


HEN the Prizes had been distributed, the EARL OF CAR-
LISLE said :—


I do not know whether I may assume that the motion so obligingly made has been adopted by the meeting. As this, however, appears to be so, I beg to return my very sincere thanks to you for the kindness that you have shown; and I beg to congratulate the members and friends of the Royal Dublin Society on the degree of activity and progress which has marked the proceedings of this not the least interesting and attractive of the departments in this liberal and enlightened institution. The merits of the compositions to which prizes have been assigned speak in the most telling way their own story, by being exposed to public view and criticism; and, as far as I am able to judge from a very cursory and retrospective view, I must say that the productions appear to me to evince a very considerable degree of merit and promise, so as to lead me to indulge the hope that the advice so very impressively given will be acted upon, and that the winners of the prizes will persevere in the delightful pursuit that they have adopted. It has been mentioned, in the course of these proceedings, that this distribution of prizes has taken place at a somewhat later period than was originally proposed, in consequence of that event which has been so greatly and universally deplored-the death of His Royal Highness the late Prince Consort. We are now specially concerned with a subject which engaged his constant, unflagging, and enlightened interest-the promotion of the art of the country; and it is touching to remember that the last visit which he paid to any exhibition of those fine arts which he loved so well, and fostered so wisely, must have been to the collection which proved so attractive last year within the walls

of this institution. I feel it would be impertinence in me to wander beyond the strict boundaries of the present subject and the present occasion. It is no doubt true that there are many higher spheres of duty than the domain of the fine arts, and there were in the lamented Prince far loftier and more ethereal qualities of soul. But it is enough for the present purpose to mention, that I think, without doubt, no one in the British Empire did nearly so much to implant a taste and capacity for the enjoyment of refined pursuits, or to organize those great centres of competition which have given in our time such a large impulse to our modern industry and art. It seemed to be given to him to reflect the best attributes of the ancient worthies: he was the Arthur of our courtly chivalry, and the Alfred of our enlightened civilization. I have already adverted to the collection of the fine arts which took place during the summer and autumn. I need not dilate upon the variety and the interest of that exhibition; and I trust that so spirited an undertaking has not been without a marked benefit on the taste and intelligence of the community amongst which it was held. I quite agree with Mr. Maunsell in the panegyric which he pronounced upon the improved architecture of this city. It is true that, in past times, you had very fine models to go upon; but still, until within a comparatively recent period, very little has been done. It is now impossible not to perceive the marked improvement in architecture, whether in churches, in museums, in clubs, and what is perhaps not least important, in the shop fronts of your streets. It is still further very gratifying to reflect that, besides such occasional exhibitions as we all enjoyed for the last season, we have the prospect of seeing very soon a permanent gallery for the reception of works of art opened within the precincts of the Royal Dublin Society; and I trust that this new gallery is destined in the largest degree to direct the taste, to guide the fancy, and to stimulate the exertions of the present and future generations of the inhabitants of Dublin, by the exhibitions of the models of departed excellence. Ladies and Gentlemen, I have again very gratefully to thank you.



[DECEMBER 23RD, 1863.]


FTER the Prizes had been awarded, the Lord Justice of Appeal, the RIGHT HON. F. BLACKBURNE, proposed a vote of thanks to His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant, which was seconded by Mr. G. W. MAUNSELL.


I do not know that I ought to put the motion which has been moved and seconded. Perhaps I may assume that there is no one opposed to it. I can assure you, Ladies and Gentlemen, that it has been a great pleasure to me to come here once more, to have heard the interesting information which is supplied to us, and to have borne my part in the distribution of the medals, whether local or national, to the successful candidates. I will no longer risk my character by detaining in my hands a cheque for £10, but I transfer it with the greatest possible pleasure and with sincere congratulations to the successful candidate for the Taylor Prize, Mr. O'Hea. I have always thought it was a very wise and considerate piece of forethought on the part of the Royal Dublin Society to add to the many other branches of science and industry which come under their fostering care a School of Design, and a department for the cultivation and encouragement of the Fine Arts. To be sure, the subject matter in which we are engaged to-day affords a remarkable contrast-although, I think, not an irreconcileable contrastto the spectacle which was exhibited in an adjoining building last week. We there saw a goodly array of fat beeves, well-fed sheep, and more than well-fed swine, to say nothing of the poultry of Cochin China. Ladies and Gentlemen, all these specimens of animal nature ought also to exhibit, to a certain extent, lines of a good and proper symmetry and proportion, and great pains are taken with them for the purpose. Still we must acknowledge that the contours and outlines which they present to us differed somewhat from the exquisite form of the Venus, or the

faultless shape of the Apollo. At all events, I congratulate you that this department of the Fine Arts will receive very shortly a more appropriate accession and aid, and that too within the precincts of this institution, by the opening of the new National Gallery of Ireland. I quite endorse the opinion which Mr. Maunsell, in his spirited and excellent remarks, told me that I used before in congratulating the public in Dublin upon the manifest improvement which, within a very short memory, has taken place in the architectural appearance of the metropolis, in its houses, shop-fronts, schools, hospitals, galleries, and churches of all religious denominations. Even some improvement is traceable in the domestic furniture now used; and in this respect I cordially subscribe to his opinion, that the classes of such an institution as this, by the care which they bestow upon the nicety of hand and accuracy of eye, form the most powerful auxiliary to this improvement that can be imagined; and I trust that those model schools are likely to supply Ireland with a great many Deanes, Lanyons, and M'Carthys. I congratulate the department upon the acquisition made by the engagement of the new principal Master, Mr. Lyne,-a person whose admirable antecedents speak for themselves; and I feel sanguine of the efficiency which will be displayed by Miss Julyan in her new capacity. I am happy to see amongst the distinguished company present one of my own colleagues in the government of this country, Sir Robert Peel, and I feel confident he will never fail to show the utmost sympathy for, and give encouragement to, the interests of this department. I have long felt that Irishmen do not fail in any native susceptibility for art, though they may labour under the disadvantages of not having due cultivation and encouragement of art; but I trust that this institution will have a powerful effect in developing and guiding that native susceptibility which is not only not wanting, but is very marked and distinguished in the Irish character. I thank you for the kind reception you have given me, and beg to express my most cordial wishes for the development and continued success of this institution.

« PreviousContinue »