Letter from JAMES BARRY to SOCIETY OF ARTS, written 16 March 1790, at Castle-Street, London

Source: Fryer, Works of Barry, ii. 470-71; the letter was first printed in Barry's A Letter to the Right Honourable the President, Vice-Presidents, and the rest of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, London, 1793; it is thus a copy of the original.

The Society of Arts had been debating how to honour Barry for his six pictures in their Great Room in the Adelphi, The Progress of Human Culture, but had not consulted him: 'I therefore wished to know with what temper this matter had been carried on in the Society, and how it stood reported in the minutes' (A Letter to the Right Honourable the President, Vice-Presidents, and the rest of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, Fryer, Works of Barry, ii. 470).

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Castle-street, March 16, 1790

As in consequence of the Society's obliging and kind grant of the 3d instant,1 Mr. Barry finds it necessary to consult some friends,2 on whose judgment and advice he has much reliance, he thinks it right previously to make those friends acquainted with the whole of the business, the better to enable them to form that judgment which it will be most conducive to Mr. Barry's interest and honour (ever the same) to follow: he therefore presents his respectful compliments to the Right Hon.Honourable the President,3 Vice-Presidents, and the rest of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, &c. and requests it as a great favour that they would order their Secretary4 to make out and send to him an entire complete copy, from March 17775 of whatever may be registered in their minutes or other books, respecting every thing that concerns and is connected with the series of pictures in their great room. The Secretary had before, by order of the Society, sent Mr. Barry copies of some of those papers, but as they are unluckily mislaid, he hopes the Society will at present favour him with an entire transcript of the whole.