Letter from JAMES BARRY to THE KING, written April 1783 , at London

Source: Fryer,Works of Barry, ii. 303.

This dedicatory letter to King George III was printed at the start of Barry's An Account of a Series of Pictures, in the Great Room of the Society of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, at the Adelphi; the work, printed by William Adlard, was to accompany the exhibition of Barry's six murals for the Society of Arts known as The Progress of Human Culture, which opened on 23 April 1783. In the book Barry praised the King for establishing the Royal Academy, adding, 'the King loves the art, and has for some time past been the only patron and encourager of the great line of history, which in this age and country stands so much in need of support and countenance' (Fryer, Works of Barry, ii. 336).

Full display


I most humbly beg leave to lay at your Majesty's feet, the following account of a series of Pictures, on the subject of human culture.

I have endeavoured to execute those pictures as a rejoinder and aid to the reasoning, in behalf of your Majesty's people of these islands, that I have urged in my Inquiry into the real and imaginary obstructions to our acquisition of the arts, which, as a poor testimony of humble duty, and with great humility, was laid at your Majesty's feet in 1774.1

That your Majesty, who is the equal and affectionately tender father of all his people, may long continue to derive satisfaction from the Arts, and that these Arts may continue to merit your Majesty's most gracious and necessary protection, is the humble, though earnest prayer,

May it please your Majesty,
Of your Majesty's
Most dutiful servant,
And most faithful subject,