Letter from JAMES BARRY to GUISEPPE BONOMI, written September 1778 , at London

Source: RSA Add. MS 3/1, Royal Society of Arts Archive, London. Printed: D.G.C.Allan, Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, March 1983, p. 215.. Cover: Mr J Bonomi

Though undated, the letter appears to have been written while Barry was finishing the first two pictures in his series, The Progress of Human Culture, in the Great Room of the Society of Arts, work he had started in July 1777; D.G.C.Allan suggests the letter was written in 'the early autumn of 1778' (Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, March 1983, p. 215). What evidence there is suggests a date sometime late in September.

Giuseppe Bonomi(1739-1808) had come to London from Rome in 1767. The architects Robert and James Adam had employed him in Rome to do drawings of classical antiquities and then invited him to work for them in London as a draughtsman and architect. He married the cousin of the artist Angelica Kauffmann in 1775; he returned to Rome for two years in 1783 and was, like Barry, elected a member of the Accademia di Belle Arti in Bologna. Back in London he was elected an Associate Member of the Royal Academy in 1789, but was repeatedly blocked from full membership.

Full display

Castle Street1
Thursday morn.

Dear Bonomi

The two pictures for the Adelphi are nearly finished I mean the Crowning the victors at Olympia and Harvest home2 - As you expressed a wish to see them you can do so at the great Rooms - you know to what extent I value your opinion therefore I shall feel thankful for you to call between two and four - I am to tell you that I am in high favour with a certain party - 3

Belive Believe me to be
Yours sincerely

James Barry -

M.r J Bonomi