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essential that a Shakespeare memorial should occupy the best site that London can offer. Ideally the best site for any great monument is the summit of a gently rising eminence, with a roadway directly approaching it and circling round it. In 1864, when the question of a fit site for a Shakespeare memorial in London was warmly debated, a too ambitious scheme recommended the formation of an avenue on the model of the Champs-Elysées from the top of Portland Place across Primrose Hill; and at the end of the avenue, on the summit of Primrose Hill, at an elevation of 207 feet above the river Thames, the Shakespeare monument was to stand. This was and is an impracticable proposal. The site which in 1864 received the largest measure of approbation was a spot in the Green Park, near Piccadilly. A third suggestion of the same date was the bank of the river Thames, which was then called Thamesway, but was on the point of conversion into the Thames Embankment. Recent reconstruction of Central London-of the district north of the Strand-by the London County Council now widens the field of choice. There is much to be said for a site within the centre of London life. But an elevated monumental structure on the banks of the Thames seems to meet at the moment with the widest approval. In any case, no site that is mean or cramped would be permissible if the essential needs of the situation are to be met.

A monument that should be sufficiently imposing would need an architectural framework. But the figure of the poet must occupy the foremost place in the design. Herein lies another embarrassment. It is difficult to determine which of the extant

portraits the sculptor ought to follow. The bust in Stratford Church, the print in the First Folio, and possibly the Chandos painting in the National Portrait Gallery, are honest efforts to present a faithful likeness. But they are crudely executed, and are posthumous sketches largely depending on the artist's memory. The sculptor would be compelled to work in the spirit of the historian, who recreates a past event from the indication given him by an illiterate or fragmentary chronicle or inscription. He would be bound to endow with artistic life those features in which the authentic portraits agree, but the highest effort of the imagination would be needed to create an impression of artistic truth.

The success of a Shakespeare memorial will ultimately depend on the pecuniary support that the public accord it. But in the initial stage of the movement all rests on the discovery of a sculptor capable of realising the significance of a national commemoration of the greatest of the nation's, or indeed of the world's, heroes. It would be well to settle satisfactorily the question of such an artist's existence before anything else. The first step that any organising committee of a Shakespeare memorial should therefore take, in my view, would be to invite sculptors of every country to propose a design. The monument should be the best that artistic genius could contrive-the artistic genius of the world. There may be better sculptors abroad than at home. The universality of the appeal which Shakespeare's achievement makes, justifies a competition among artists of every race or nationality.


The crucial decision as to whether the capacity to execute the monument is available, should be entrusted to a committee of taste, to a committee of liberal-minded connoisseurs who command general confidence. If this jury decide by their verdict that the present conditions of art permit the production of a great memorial of Shakespeare on just principles, then a strenuous appeal for funds may be inaugurated with likelihood of success. It is hopeless to reverse these methods of procedure. If funds are first invited before rational doubts as to the possibility of a proper application of them are dispelled, it is improbable that the response will be satisfactory or that the issue of the movement of 1905 will differ from that of 1821 or 1864.

In 1864 Victor Hugo expressed the opinion that the expenses of a Shakespeare memorial in London ought to be defrayed by the British Government. There is small likelihood of assistance from that source. Individual effort can alone be relied upon; and it is doubtful if it be desirable to seek official aid. A great national memorial of Shakespeare in London, if it come into being at all on the lines which would alone justify its existence, ought to embody individual enthusiasm, ought to express with fitting dignity the personal sense of indebtedness and admiration which fills the hearts of his fellow-men.


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