The Art Union of London was founded in 1837, on the recommendation of the 1835 House of Commons Select Committee. By 1850 there were 30 Unions in Britain and Ireland, the Art Union of London being the largest. However, by the end of the 19th Century these had almost ceased to exist. Driven by a desire to educate the masses in culture and make art more accessible, members paid a small fee and were entered into a prize draw, the winners selecting works of art from amongst the Union's purchases that year, worth several times the amount of their fee. It was in effect a lottery. Interest in pictures was more widespread than in sculpture and by the mid-1840s there was an initiative to bring sculpture to the fore by producing a limited number of reductions of well-known Antique and contemporary sculptures in bronze, converting monuments to ornaments. These were also offered as prizes.