Letter from JAMES BARRY to SOCIETY OF ARTS, written 2 May 1798, at Castle Street, London

Source: MS RSA Barry Letter Book, f. 136, Royal Society of Arts, London.

Barry had recently made public his criticism of the way the Royal Academy was being managed in his A Letter to the Dilettanti Society respecting the obtention of certain matters essentially necessary for the improvement of public taste, and for accomplishing the original views of the Royal Academy of Great Britain (1798). [go] He now sends a copy of the book to the Society of Arts.

Full display

M.r Barry presents his respectful Comp.ts Compliments to the Right Hon.ble Honourable the President,1 Vice Presidents & the rest of the Noblemen & Gentlemen of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts &c & requests their acceptance of a printed Copy of a Letter M.r Barry has lately had occasion to write on some matters absolutely necessary for compleating2 the National views respecting the principal of the Polite Arts3 & consequently respecting all those other Arts which as Apendages Appendages of that Master Art, can derive their nutriment & perfection from no other source.

The Society will perceive from the 53 to the 61.st page of that Letter some mention which incidentally occurred, of the work on Human Culture which M.r Barry had the happiness of Painting for their Great Room & which is concluded with a wish to add more effect & energy to that work,4 & as for every reason he is extremely desirous to leave it as perfect as he can make it, in conformity therefore to that desire M.r Barry relying upon ye Societies the Society's kind indulgence, requests they will have the goodness to permit him during their vacation to retouch that work & to do away the ill effect of the varnish with which it had been too indiscretely covered, more especially as the Mastic5 wanted the corrective of another oil than that of Turpentine, to spread it thinner.

As M.r Barry has not yet put the writing to the three large Prints of the seperate6 Groups from ye the Pictures of ye the Victors at Olympia & ye the Elysium, mentioned in the above Letter,7 he is sorry they cannot acompany accompany this Note, but when ye the writing is put to the Plates he will send impressions of them to ye the Society with his sincere & affectionate respects.

May 2.d 1798 Castle st street Oxford Market