The Art Union of London
About the Art Union of London
The Art Union of London was a subscription-based organization that promoted the sale of fine art through lotteries and other prize-giving schemes. Its aim was to encourage the growth of a public interest in art by making works available to a wider audience. The organization was founded in 1837 and continued to operate well into the 20th century, including around 1902.
Members of the Art Union could purchase tickets or shares, which gave them a chance to win prizes in the form of paintings, sculptures, or other works of art. The organization also held exhibitions of artwork, which were open to the public.
The Art Union was instrumental in promoting the work of contemporary British artists, and many well-known artists of the time, such as John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, were associated with the organization. The Art Union also played a role in the formation of public art collections, by donating works to museums and galleries. The Art Union of London was an important institution in the cultural life of Victorian and Edwardian Britain, and it helped to create a market for fine art that was accessible to a wider public.
Annual General Meeting, 1902
The annual meeting of the members of the Art Union of London was held on Thursday, April 24th 1902, at the Lecture Hall, Society of Arts, Adelphi. Lord Windsor presided, and among those present were Fleet-Surgeon A. T. Corrie, Messrs. T. O. Donaldson, W. Edwards, jun., Fredk. Morris Fry, John Mackreil, J. Biddulph Martin, M.P., and John Sparkes.
Victoria Victrix Etching
The Secretary (Mr. F. C. Marriott) read the sixty-sixth annual report of the Council. Reference was made to the death, since the last annual meeting, of Sir Thomas Lucas, Mr Augustus Thorne, and Mr. Cosmo Monkhouse; and the Council went on to refer to the year as memorable in the annals of the Society from the importance of its presentation picture, "Victoria Victrix." The etching had not, perhaps, met with that wide appreciation which the interest of the subject had justified the Council in expecting, but they believed that as time went on and the great and solemn events of last year revealed themselves in their true historical perspective, the picture would be valued and sought after not only for its beauty and its accuracy, but also, and the point was worth dwelling upon, as the only published record of its character, of one of the most remarkable pageants in the world's history. Notwithstanding the prolongation of the South African war, the year had been one of somewhat more than average success. After providing for engravings, the Council had been able to devote the sum of 562l. to prizes to be drawn for that day, making, with the consolation prizes awarded during the year to unsuccessful members of ten consecutive years' standing, a total of 218 prizes.
1902 Art Union Prizes
Among the works of art specially selected by the Council for prizes are [the Report proceeded a bronze statuette "Hero," by Miss Margaret Giles; a bronze statuette " Boy at the Stream," after Foley, R.A; six copies in electro silver of a new and original inkstand designed for the Society by Miss K. J. Harris; twenty pomegranate flower-bowls in Doulton ware; six dragon jugs in Copeland ware; six pairs of Doulton vases; twelve Meduza Tazza (electro bronze); six framed electro silver bas-reliefs, "The Descent of Venus," after Pitty, R. A. As the subject for the presentation plate of the coming year the Council have selected a painting by Mr. Yeend King, Vice-Presidert of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colour, which under the title of the "Fold Yard" was exhibited in the Royal Academy of 1900. The present picture is thoroughly characteristic of the artist's best style, and it has been most sympathetically translated into black and white by Mr. C. O. Murray, R.P.E.. The Council have been gratified to learn that under the new Commonwealth tariff, as revised to December 31st last, engravings and etchings are admitted into all the Australian Colonies duty free. It is understood that the tariff may yet undergo some revision; but if, as seems not improbable, this exemption should remain in force, the Society's operations in Australia should receive considerable encouragement.
The Chairman, in moving the adoption of the report, referred with regret to the action of the Canadian Government in enforcing legislation which crippled the laudable operations of the Union in that colony. Not only had the Union been the means of increasing a love for art, but even at the present time, when art was more appreciated than in the earlier part of the last century, new subscribers had become impressed with the value of the Union and felt impelled to replace some of their pictorial decorations with the productions of the Art Union.
Mr. Biddulph Martin, M.P., seconded the motion, which was adopted, and the vice-presidents and members of the Council were re-elected. The prizes were then drawn for.