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Mr. Lloyd Morgan, M.P., on…


Mr. Lloyd Morgan, M.P., on Art in Wales. Speaking at Carmarthen last week Mr J. Lloyd Morgan, M.P., delivered an interesting address on the development of Art in Wales. He said they were living in an age of great progress and intell- ectual activity of every kind. There were great scientific developments going on, but it was some- what doubtful whether artistic achievements had gone on at the same rate as scientificachievements. 1'erhaps one could not expect equal progress in science and art in the same age. There was this great difference-in science the researches and investigations of scientific men were transmitted to those who followed them, and each successive age got the full benefit of the age which preceeded it. The same could not be said of art, because art could not be transmitted in the same way. Art depended on:the temper and mind of the artist. There was no doubt that in Wales they had in recent years made great progress in educational matters, and there were some people who seemed to imagine that there were too many schools established in the different Welsh counties. He could not say that he agreed with them, because he thought that if there was a good supply of first-class schools there could be little doubt that they would be made use of, and they would find that the great strides which had been made in inter- mediate and higher education in Wales would pro- duce in:a very short time excellent results. Not only were there clear indications that there had been great progress in intermediate and higher education, but there was every indication that great attention had been given to the question of technical education —a most important question if they were success- fully to compete with foreign countries in these days when competition was so severe There was only this fear-that technical education would be substituted for general education. The foundation must first of all be laid, and if boys and girls had had a good sound general education—the kind of education which trained the mind-then the ques- tion of technical education, in his opinion, ought to commence (hear. hear). He was not so sure that with regard to some branches of art—sculpture and painting in particular-the Welsh people had shown any great signs of advance of late years, This was possibly to be accounted for by the fact that the old Puritan spirit was against the teaching of that branch of art, and consequently the artistic faculties of the Welsh people had become manifested in poetry, oratory, and music. Possibly the reason for that might be found in the fact that it was that branch of art which had been fostered by the Welsh national in- stitution, the Eisteddfod, and it might also be attributed to the fact that they suffered in Wales from the disadvantages which people suffered from in provincial towns, of having no art collections and no picture galleries. That, in his opinion, was rather a substantial dis- advantage. Sometimes on Saturday afternoons in London he turned into the National Gallery or the Tate gallery, or lie went to see the Wallace collection, and he saw hundreds of people deriving evident enjoyment from contemplating the beauti- ful works of art that were before them, and he thought it a distinct disadvantage that the Welsh people bad no opportunities of that kind. (Hear, hear.) He could not help thinking that wealthy people who made gifts of that kind toj the nation were real benefactors to their race. (Hear, hear.) Something had been said in Parliament in re- cent years about having a museum in Wales—ap- plause)—and if he remembered rightly, the Govern- ment intimated that they were prepared to make a suitable advance of public money provided the Welsh people would agree as to the place at which the museum was to be located.—A voice: "At Car- marthen," and laughter.) He was afraid that on that point there were difficulties in the way. Some people thought the museum ought to be in North Wales, others that its home ought to be in South Wales. The Bangor people certainly thought it should be there Aberystwyth thought that Mid- Wales had almost an unanswerable claim, and, of course, the people of Cardiff thought it should be there—(laughter)—whilst Swansea people had made out a tremendous case for having it there. (Laughter.) After all had been said, it would probably be a most reason- able suggestion to put before the rivals that the place should be Carmarthen.-(Latighter.) However, wherever it was to be, the sooner they got it the better (applause) and as time went on and the great works of great artists increased in number, l3t them hope that more of those great works would find their way into Welsh museums or Welsh art galleries, and that they would be the means of kindling the artistic enthusiasm of the Welsh youth, because nothing had a greater tendency to improve one's taste and appreciation of beauty than constant Mniliarity with beautiful works of art. (Hear, hear.) The cultivation of art and the appreciation of what was beautiful in works of art could not be picked up in a day. It was as much a part of education as anything else, and it could only be acquired by bard work and by commencing early in life. It was one of the branches of learn- ing which probably gave more pleasure to the student than almost any other, because it had a tendency to increase one's appreciation of the beauties of Nature. Of course there were difficul- ties in the way of education of that kind. There were the same difficulties that had to be encoun- tered in every other branch of education. There was the hurried, business-like character of life, there was the keen competition and the desire to maintain a good position in life, which led to the pursuit of wealth, and which, if carried to the extreme, was incompatible with the cultivation of art and an appreciation of beauty. But it was one of those studies which should be brought home to the young at the earliest opportunity, and it was very gratifying to find that so many in the town of Carmarthen had seized the opportunity of becoming acquainted with some branches of the study of art.



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