Your Grace's goodness and indulgence to me, which I have long since experienced, encourage me at present to trespass upon your attention for a few lines. About two months ago, upon the death of Mr. Stuart,1 who succeeded Hogarth in the place of Sergeant painter,2 I mentioned to Mr. Townley3 my wishes to obtain that, or some such place, in order to enable me to carry on at my own expense some work of art for the public, with more convenience and ease to myself than I experienced in that work at the Adelphi. Mr. Townley immediately wrote to Mr.Agar4 and others of his friends, through whose means the matter was mentioned to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales,5 the Lord Chancellor,6 and other personages; but as upon enquiry the place was found to produce no more than eighteen pounds a year, I begged Mr. Agar to let it drop. At present I am informed that the death of Mr. Benjamin Wilson might leave some vacancy of about one hundred and fifty pounds a year in your Grace's department of the ordnance,7 which, if I should be thought worthy of filling, would give full scope to my views upon the art and upon the public. At present I am at work upon one of the subjects from ShakspeareShakespeare for Alderman Boydell;8 but as these subjects afford more of the Gothic than of the heroic, are full of barbarisms and anachronisms of every kind, and come as much within the compass of the grossest ignorance, as of the most extensive knowledge, I shall get to something of more importance and more worthy of the eighteenth century, whenever it is in my power to create an opportunity. I have gone through a scene of great labour since I had the honour of seeing your Grace. I have finished and read those lectures upon the theory of the art, which as professor I am annually to deliver in the Royal Academy,9 and I have finished the prints of the work at the Adelphi,10 all but the picture of the Society.11
Trusting that your Grace's goodness and indulgence will excuse this liberty I have taken, I have the honour to be, with the sincerest respect, your Grace's much obliged and affectionate humble servant,J. Barry.