The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 4
The Royal Academy bad continued for nearly years, fostering modern art, and affording it the opportunity of displaying itself, when an auxiliary sprung up in
That patron of the arts, alderman Boydell, had previously laid the foundation of a school of British historical painting in the establishment of the Shakspeare Gallery. Whether the plan was too extensive, or the arts were not then so liberally patronized as at present, we know not, but the project failed; and the worthy alderman, in order to indemnify him in some degree for his great losses, obtained leave to dispose of the pictures by lottery, in . The alderman had expended a sum of in forming the gallery of historical paintings in England, and as the failure of success affected him so much, it is perhaps not to be regretted that he did not live to see the treasures he had collected, scattered. The prize, consisting of all the pictures painted from Shakspeare's work, fell to Mr. Tassie, the dealer in gems; he had taken the ticket of a friend, who had bought , and wished to dispose of of them.
When the Shakspeare Gallery was dispersed, the house was purchased for the British Institution, which had been formed for the exhibition and sale of works of living artists, the display of works of great merit, where artists may study, and the encouragement of art, by offering premiums for such large paintings, as might exceed individual patronage. This Institution has been very successful; and the year of the exhibition, in , pictures (many of which had previously been before the public) were sold to the amount of
The collections of Reynolds, Hogarth, Gainsborough, Wilson, and many of the choicest productions of the best old and modern masters, generously lent by his majesty, and other distinguished patrons of the art, have since been exhibited at this gallery. There are exhibitions every year, at this Institution, , a collection of eminent works of art, of every age and country; the other, the productions of living artists, who send them for exhibition and sale.
The exterior of the building, which ranges with the houses in Pall-mall, is divided into stories; the lower has a large doorway with a fan-light between windows; above each is an antique lyre within a wreath of oak; the upper story consists of pair of pilasters of the Corinthian order supporting an angular
|pediment. Between the pilasters is a recess, with full figures of Shakspear between Tragedy and Comedy.
On the south side of Pall-mall is a plain brick building. (No. ) formerly the residence of J. J. Angerstein, esq., a munificent encourager of the fine arts. It is now occupied as the