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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


86 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. me Mound. distinguished trustees of whom it has been composed since its formation ; considering also that the power of appointing persons to be members of the Board offers the means of conferring distinction on eminent individuals belonging to Scotland, I entertain a strong conviction that this Board should be kept up to its present number, and that its vacancies should be supplied as they occur. I am disposed to think also that it would be desirable to give this Board a corporate character by a charter or Act of Incorporation.? Under the fostering care of the Board of Manufactures first sprang up the Scottish School of Design, which had its origin in 1760. On the 27th of June in that year, in pursuance of previous deliberations of the Board, as its records show, ?a scheme or scroll of an advertisement anent the drawing school was read, and it was referred to Lord Kames to take evidence of the capacity and genius for drawing of persons applying for instruction before they were presented to the drawing school, and to report when the salary of Mr. De?lacour, painter, who had been appoihted to teach the school, should commence.? This was the first School of Design established in the three kingdoms at the public expense. ? It is,?? said the late Sir W. Stirling-Maxwell, in an address to the institution. in 1870, $?a matter of no small pride to us as Scotsmen to find a Scottish judge in 1760 and two Scottish painters in 1837 takihg the lead in a movement which in each case became national.? The latter were Mr. William Dyce and Mr. Charles Heath Wilson, who, in a letter to Lord Meadowbank cn ?the best means of ameliorating arts and manufactures in point of taste,? had all the chief principles which they urged brought into active operation by the present Science and Art Department; and when the Royal Scottish Academy was in a position to open its doors to art pupils, the life school was transferred from the Board to the Academy. Of the success of these schools it is only necessary to say that almost every Scotsman who has risen to distinction in art has owed something of that distinction to the training received here. There are annual examinations and competitions for prizes. The latter though small in actual and intrinsic value, possess a very high value to minds of the better order. ? They are,? said Sir W. Stirling-Maxwell, ? tokens of the sympathy with which the State regards the exertions of its students. They are rewards which those who now sit or have sat in high places of a noble profession- the Harveys, the Patons, the Faeds, the Xobertses, and the Wilkies-have been proud to win, and whose success in these early competitions was the beginning of a long series of triumphs.? In the same edifice is the gallery of sculpture, a good collection of casts from the best ancient works, such as the Elgin marbles and celebrated statues of antiquity, of the well-known Ghiberti gates of Florence, and a valuable series of antique Greek and Roman busts known as the Albacini collection, from which family they were purchased for the Gallery. In the western portion of the Royal Institution are the apartments of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, which was instituted in 1783, under the presidency of Henry Duke of Buccleuch, K.G. and K.T., with Professor John Robinson, LL.D., as secretary, and twelve councillors whose names are nearly all known to fame, and are as follows :- Mr. Baron Gordon. Dr. Munro. Lord Elliock. Dr. Hope. Major-Gen. Fletcher CampbelL Dr. Black. Adam Smith, Esq. Dr. Hutton. Mr. John McLaurin. Dr. Adam Feryson, Prof. Dugald Stewart. Mr. John Playfair. The central portion of the Royal Institution is occupied by the apartments and museum of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, which was founded in 1780 .by a body of noblemen and gentlemen, who were anxious to secure a more accurate and extended knowledge of the historic and national antiquities of their native country than single individual zeal or skill could hope to achieve. ?For this purpose, a building and an area formerly occupied as the post ofice, situated in the Cowgate, then one of the chief thoroughfares of Edinburgh, were purchased for LI,OOO. Towards this, the Earl of Buchan, founder of the Society, the Dukes of Montrose and Argyle, the Earls of Fife, Bute, and Kintore, Sir Laurence Dundas, Sir John Dalrymple, Sir Alexander Dick, Macdonnel of Glengarry, Mr. Fergusson of Raith, Mr. Ross of Cromarty, and other noblemen and gentlemen, liberally contributed. Many valuable objects of antiquity and original MSS. and books were in like manner presented to the Society.? After being long in a small room in 24, George Street, latterly the studio of the well-known Samuel Bough, R.S.A., the museum was removed to the Institution, on the erection of the new exhibition rooms for the Scottish Academy in the q t galleries. Among the earliest contributions towards the foundation of this interesting museum were the extensive and valuable collection of bronze weapons referred to in an early chapter as being dredged from Duddingstone Loch, presented by Sir Alexander Dick, Bart., of Preston
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