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The first director, William Constable, who came from the National Gallery, fully shared their outlook, but he parted company with them, especially Courtauld, over whether or not the courses should be restricted to postgraduates.
Courtauld, since he considered art important on the widest possible front, was insistent that art history should be taught as a first degree subject, whereas Constable wanted students who already held degrees in other subjects, and was acutely sensitive to the fear that the institute would become a finishing school.
If Lee knew how and where to exercise influence, it was Courtauld who provided the bulk of the money.
His wealth came from the textile business, but on both sides of his family there were connections with the arts and traditions of patronage going back several generations.
Courtauld loved pictures and wrote poems about them.
On the advice of Roger Fry and others he bought French Impressionists and Cézannes and took out a lease on the best Adam house in London, Home House, 20 Portman Square, in which to display them – a novel and stunning combination.
The Warburg émigrés introduced standards of scholarship unknown among English art historians, and they practised a kind of art history far removed from the connoisseurship favoured by collectors and the art trade.
The third member of the group, Sir Robert Witt, was a successful lawyer who collected Old Master drawings; but his principal contribution to the enterprise was a vast collection of reproductions of paintings.The important thing is that with his arrival the pendulum began to swing away from the conception of art history as a professional qualification to that of its being a fully-fledged member of the humanities.Boase was also the first of the four medievalists among the six directors, and of all the subdivisions of the subject, medieval was the one that had least to do with collectors.In 1936 Constable offered his resignation to the Management Committee, of which Lee was chairman, and rather to his surprise it was accepted.This precipitated a crisis that took some time to resolve, and the next appointment, which had all the appearance of being a temporary expedient, turned out to be the first step in a fundamental reorientation of policy.
Until Blunt was ready, a temporary appointment had to he made, and a man was eventually found who was prepared to take it on these terms. Although a self-declared stop-gap, Boase left an indelible mark on the Institute in several ways, one of the most remarkable being that his connections with the art world were minimal.