Letter from JAMES BARRY to SOCIETY OF
ARTS, written 6 March 1777, at London
Source: MS RSA AD/MA/104/10/403, Royal Society of Arts, London. [img] Published:
Fryer, Works of Barry, ii. 413.
The Society for the Encouragement of Arts,
Manufactures and Commerce (1754), known as the Society of Arts, adopted its present title, the Royal Society of Arts, in 1908 when King Edward VII granted the right to the term 'Royal'.
On 28 January 1774, the Society resolved to decorate the 'Great Room' in their premises
at the Adelphi, just off the Strand in London, with 'eight Historical, and
two Allegorical Pictures' (see Green to Barry, 31 March 1774); the artists
chosen included Barry. Although those plans came to nothing in 1774, three
years later Barry wrote the following letter; he explained the background as
follows: 'Mr. Green,1 at my desire,
proposed to the Society, that one of those Royal Academicians they had
applied to for the decoration of their Great Room, was now willing to take
the whole upon himself, and to execute it upon a much larger and more
comprehensive plan; this was assented to by the Society; and the next night
Mr. Green delivered the following letter from me'.2
The proposal for decorating the Great Room of the Society for the Encouragement of
A. M & Com.
Arts, Manufactures and Commerce
with paintings analogous to the views of that Institution,
and declared to that Society on Wednesday 5th of March by M.
V. Green membr of the same,
on condition the said society provided the Artist with Canvass, Colours and
Models proper to carry it into execution,3
the said proposal was made to the Society as above, by the desire &
March 6.th 1777
Suffolk Street Haymarket
To the Chairman of the Committee of the Polite Arts4