Letter from JAMES BARRY to SOCIETY OF ARTS, written 2 March 1796, at Castle Street, London

Source: MS RSA Barry Letter Book, f. 134, Royal Society of Arts, London.

This letter, unsigned, is a reply to that from the Secretary of the Society of Arts, Samuel More (More to Barry 26 February 1796) asking Barry whether he had given permission to the painter Thomas Phillips(1770-1845)1 to colour some of Barry's prints of the paintings in the Great Room of the Society.

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M.r Barry presents his respectful Compts Compliments to the Right Hon'ble Honourable the President, 2 Vice Presidents & the rest of the Noblemen, & Gentlemen of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts &c, & has to inform them, (in answer to the enquiry they have so obligingly ordered their Secretary to make) that M.r Philips's Phillips the gentleman who applied for the Societies3 permission to colour a set of prints from the pictures in their great Room, had M. r Barry's entire concurrence in that application.

The order of the Society which stood in the way of M.r Phillip's intention4 having been obligingly made in compliance with M.r Barry's request in 1784 at the time he began to engrave the work in the great Room & those engravings having been finished & published in 1793;5 the end proposed was answered; altho although M.r Barry when he had the honour of sending a set of those prints to the Society with his acknowledgement of thanks for all favours, had unfortunately forgotten to accquaint acquaint the Society that their order for prohibiting any drawings or other copies being made of the work in the Great Room might then be rescinded,6 & the work thenceforward be devoted to the same publicity which so honourably characterizes all the other property of the Society. M.r Barry therefore hopes the Society will have the goodness to excuse this his unfortunate omission which has unlookily7 interrupted that general arangement arrangement they had so patriotically established: & that they will believe this omission arose entirely from the hurry & forgetfulness of a man somwhat somewhat overlaboured & distracted with too many attentions which were indispensibly required, from the activity & extent of the combination that had so long opposed & traversed all his undertakings.

As M.r Barry has much to pride himself in his connection with the Society, his wish is, to live in their recollection, not by giving them trouble, but quite the contrary.

Castle st Oxford Market March 2.d: 1796.