Letter from JAMES BARRY to LORD AND LADY INCHIQUIN, written 30 January 1794, at Castle Street, London

Source: MS 5672/8, National Library of Ireland. [img] Printed: Fryer, Works of Barry, i. 281-82; John Timbs, Anecdote Biography. William Hogarth, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, Henry Fuseli, Sir Thomas Lawrence, and J.M.W. Turner (London, 1860), p.137.

Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-92), President of the Royal Academy, and long-time colleague of Barry, had died on 23 February 1792. The main beneficiary of his will was Mary Palmer (1750-1820), his favourite niece, who in September 1792 had married Murrough O'Brien (1726-1808), 5th Earl of Inchiquin, an Irish M.P. at Westminster.

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M.r Barry presents his respectful Comp.ts Compliments to Lord & Lady Inchiquin with every acknowledgement & thanks for their inestimable favour conferred on him this morning in the gift of Sir Joshua's Chair1

Alass Alas this Chair, that has had such a glorious career of fortune, instrumental as it has been in giving the most advantageous stability to the otherwise fleeting, perishable graces of a Lady Sarah Bunbury, or a Walgrave2 or in perpetuating the negligent, honest exterior of the authors of the Rambler, the Traveller & of allmost almost everyone to whom the publick3 admiration gave a currency for abilities, beauty, rank or fashion:4 the very Chair that is immortalized in M.rs Siddon's Tragic Muse,5 where it will have as much Celebrity as the Chair of Pindar which for so many ages was shewn in the Porch at Olympia.6

This Chair thenthen of Sir Joshua ReynoldsReynolds may thenrest, very well satisfied with the reputation it has gained & altho although its present possessor may not be enabled to grace it with any new ornament,7 yet it can surely count upon finding a most affectionate, reverential conservator whilst God shall permitt permit it to remain under his care.8

Jan.y January 30. 1794
N. 36. Castle St. Oxford Market