Letter from JAMES BARRY to SOCIETY OF ARTS, written 25 October 1801, at Castle Street, London

MS RSA AD/MA/ 104/10/403, Royal Society of Arts, London. Printed: Fryer, Works of Barry, ii. 647-61: MR. BARRY'S LETTER TO THE SOCIETY OF ARTS, RESPECTING THE NAVAL PILLAR; WITH OBSERVATIONS ON THE TEMPLE OF BELUS, THE PYRAMIDS OF EGYPT, AND THOSE IN AMERICA, THE COINS, TEA-URN, & THE LAST ADDITIONS AND IMPROVEMENTS WHICH HE MADE TO THE PICTURES AT THE ADELPHI.

Barry sent a modified version of this letter to the Society of Arts on 26 November for inclusion in the Transactions, vol. XIX (1801), pp. xxvii-lxiii.

Fryer supplies the heading, as shown above, to this wide-ranging letter which deals with several topics that preoccupied Barry at the time, notably the design of new coinage in Britain and the addition of a naval pillar to one of his paintings and engravings.

His decision to add a pillar in honour of the British Navy to his painting and engraving The Thames, or Triumph of Navigation [img] came at a time when the country was buoyed up by the success of the navy in the war against France: the triumphant mood is reflected in the comment in the Gentleman's Magazine, 'our naval exploits have covered the nation with glory' (May 1801, vol. 71, p. 388).

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Castle St Octob.rOctober 25. 1801

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. & is very sincerely obliged to them for the great satisfaction he has had in retouching & varnishing the Work in their Great Room during the Summer months of their recess.2 As M.r Barry had nothing more at heart than to give the Society every satisfaction in his power, it was with great pleasure he undertook (at the request of several members, & even of the Vice President in the Chair) to employ upon the New Die for their Medal, whatever might have been overlooked & remained unexecuted of the Idea for the improvement of medals & Coins which he had suggested in his Letter to His Majesty’s Most Hon.bleHonourable Privy Council, bearing date July 31. 17983 (see page 215. Letter to ye the Dilletante Society 8.vo Edition.) To this end M.r Barry chearfully4 met the Society’s Committee of Polite Arts, in order to make an entire communication of his Idea, with an exemplification of it in two Drawings, one, a head of His Majesty, the other more than profilemore than profile a Female head with the Imperial Sheild5 of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland suspended from her Shoulder: But Shoulder. But by the talk of the Chairman of the Committee, M.r Barry to his great astonishment found, that the old Design employed on the Society’s Medal, for so many years, ever since its Institution, was now to be utterly discarded, without ceremony, without any previous discussion in the Society, or any order from it, & that M.r Barry was to become a candidate for the honour of making a New Design,6 & to enter the lists, not with the great Artists of Europe, nor even, with those eminent native Artists, but, with such Artists as our Architects were in the habit of directing & employing for their ornaments & other subordinate internal decorations & at the same time, indiscretely committing ye the Society, with all the other Artists, not invited to this competition, by indelicately, uncivilly mentioning, that, they were particularly led to make application to these chosen candidates, because, they feel the utmost anxiety, that their medal shall exhibit the highest perfection to which the Arts are arrived. M.r Barry therefore, (shocked that such a rash selection from all the Artists of the Kingdom, should be held out as if countenanced by the Society,) found it necessary immediately to quit the Committee, without making the communication he had intended; & the next day, he painted two models for medals or Coins in the Picture of the Society,7 only changing the Design for the King’s head, into that of Alfred,8 as he had no Portrait of His Majesty. - M.r Barry was particularly anxious that the Society should adopt an Extra, or Second medal with a head on it wch which might be bestowed on certain occasions, & this he told ye Chair Man of ye the Cahirman of the Committee a day or two before the meeting, adding at ye the same time that, he was sure, that, the Noble relievo,9 & the security of that relievo, with wch which this head would be accompanied, would, in all probability be imitated in our Coinage & would from the obvious utility & dignity of it, be infallibly adopted all over Europe. That the honour of taking the lead in an improvement of such general Utility & importance, as the conservation of the pourtraiture10 & inscription, the two points of highest desiderata,11 in Medals & Coins, would well become a Society, wch which has given rise to so many others in Europe, & has been so long remarkable for its exemplary, patriotic & philantrophic philanthropic Conduct. However the Chairman, as it appeared afterwards, had made up his mind in another way, & M.r Barry’s idea for the improvement of Medals & Coins, wch which (owing to the Cabal in ye the Royal Academy) was so imperfectly adopted in the last Copper Coinage, had still another obstruction to wrestle with (perhaps from the same quarter, as may appear probable from M.r Barry’s observations on the baneful interference of Architects, see (see page 298, Letter to ye the Dilletante).12 But, happily, this Idea for Numismatic improvement is at last, now, securely sheltered in the Great Room, under the wing of the Society, & immediately after finishing the two models, or illustrations of it M.r Barry wrote the following Letter to the Earl of Liverpoole Liverpool .13

My Lord.

The truly laudable, unprecedented & exemplary anxiety of your Lordship & the other Noble personages of His Majesty’s Most Hon.ble Honourable Privy Council, respecting an Improvement in the Coinage, which induced Your Lordships to apply for the advice & assistance necessary to that end, where it was most probable it should be found; ought found, ought & will be long & gratefully remembered; altho although , unhappily, that exemplarily, unprecedented application was not attended with the success it so justly merited. Circumstanced as I found myself to be, with the Cabal in the Academy14 when Your Lordships Lordships' Patriotic application was laid before us, I did not think it right or adviseable in the then stage of that matter to make an entire communication of my Idea of the mode of effecting what Your Lordships required, as it appeared, that, my duty to your Lordships & the Publick15 was (in that stage of the business) sufficiently discharged, by flinging out the matter in a general way,16 & insisting upon the practicability of such an improvement as would exactly answer the desiderata, both as to the gousto17 & the Conservation & would be new & original in ye the history of Coinage, as it had escaped the observations of all Nations, Ancient as well as Modern. In this state, my Idea was communicated to your Lordships by a Letter dated July 31. 1798, for which I was honoured with Your Lordships Lordships' thanks. On issuing the new halfpenny & farthing shortly after, I found that the person who executed those Coins18 had thought himself in possession of my Idea of bedding19 the valuable, when he was not, the spirit had evaporated in his ill managed experiment & there was nothing remaining but a residuum, a mere Caput Mortuum20 of little value: vexed & dissapointed disappointed at this failure, I did myself the honour of writing again to Your Lordship Nov. 21. expressing my concern that, the Artist who executed those Coins, should have so imperfectly felt & understood my Idea, either, of the proper convexity, or, of the Cavo bed,21 in which it should have been raised, & of the Tasteless way of uniting them, by wch which one important part was unnecessarily sacraficed sacrificed to the other, & consequently nothing desirable obtained, but rather the contrary, as the Head, wch which ought to be most important & principal, is flat & without relievo22 & triflingly buried in the Centre of ye the Coin, like a mite in a Cheese, in order to allow space for an unnecessarily mischievous circle of large letters wch which might have been so well disposed of in another manner, according to ye the usuage usage of the Greeks: nay, even in the Halfpenny & Farthing of Geo. ye the 2.d the Head, as it should always do, importantly fills ye the Coin, 23 & the circular Inscription is, even so contrived, as to be subservient to that end. ---however as that matter is now without remedy & passed, I should not have troubled your Lordship with these remarks on it, but, the better to usher in another piece of information which might possibly be of some use henceforward, & wch which as a matter of duty, is necessarily communicated to your Lordship & to the rest of His Majesty’s Most Hon.blHonourable Privy Council.

As I am now, during the recess of ye the Society for the Encouragement of Arts &c, doing something to the pictures in their Great Room. In Consequence of ye the obliging injunctions of many Members of ye the Society & even from the Chair, respecting the New Die for their Medal, the old one having been judged to be no longer fit for use, a happy opportunity has fairly offered for communicating in an entire & compleat24 manner, my Idea, respecting the improvement of Medals & Coins, & I have accordingly painted two large Models for Medals or Coins, in a very conspicuous part of the Picture of ye the Society.25 One is a head of Alfred the Great Improver & Founder, the other, is a Female Head with the Imperial Sheild of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland; & Your Lordship, or whomsoever you may send, will there immediately see by ye the slightest glance at those models, that, the finest heads, on the Grecian & Roman Coins, any of those very fine Heads of the Hamerani’s26 on the Papal Medals, or of those very admirable ones executed by Hedlinger27 for Sweden, tho though now so liable to injury from their bold & noble relievo as to be exposed to speedy ruin from time & usage, might from the contrivance visible in those Models preserve (with all their bold, noble relievo & greatness of manner) their most essential parts from being injured, until those parts that were least essential had been entirely worn away. We should do well, My Lord, to reflect here, that, the Grecian & Roman Coins wch which are preserved in ye the Collections of the Curious, are not those wch which were in current use, but those, wch which from the superstitious notions of ye the time were, whilst fresh, buried with their dead, in order to satisfy the demands of a certain grisly ferryman,28 or any others that might occur in their long & gloomy journey, or from some other accidents or calamities, all the rest wch which were in current usuage usage being obliterated ages ago.

I have My Lord, with the greatest respect, the honour to subscribe my self
Your Lordships Lordship's devoted humble serv.t servant

James Barry

P.S. It may be well to state also to your Lordship that for the better elucidating these two Models & the occasion of introducing them, I have brought in a figure stooping immediately over them, looking very intently on a Medal & holding in his other hand a Letter or paper on wch which is written - on the Gousto of Medals & Coins, & the best mode of preserving them from injury by friction: which was the identical Patriotic wish of His Majestys most Hon.bl Honourable Privy Council, so gracefully & exemplarily, tho though unsuccessfully, communicated to the Royal Academy. The Section of such a Coin as was required, is also introduced on the same Paper

Great Room of the Society of Arts &c Adelphi July 3. 1801.

To the Right Honble Honourable
the Earl of Liverpool

So much, on the two Models for the improvement of Medals & Coins, the inspection of wch which will suffice to shew, that, one of our current HalfCrownsHalf Crowns of King William or Queen Ann,29 had they been executed in this way, would have gone thro through many centuries & from the wearing would be hardly worth a shilling, by the time the likeness & the Inscription (the two essential points) came to be injured.

It may be well, before closing these remarks on Medals & Coins, to take notice here of a very extraordinary & curious particular which occurs in those Coins which are supposed to be the most Ancient & are placed amongst the Incognita ,30 as they are without mark or inscription of any kind which might denote, time or place, & are no less remarkable for the transcendent excellence of their Style of highly cultivated Design & execution, than for their extraordinary & perfect preservation, wch which preservation is owing to their great relievo & to the rising of the Metal round the sides of the Square Coffers in which they are bedded, like the roses in the Architectonic Soffita’s & the Hieroglyphicks31 on the Egyptian Obelisks. A few of those most extraordinary & unaccountable of all Numismatic remains may be found in D.r Hunter’s truly noble Collection,32 & as far as they go, for a female head & its Kerchief or accompanyment, they are but rarely (if at all) equalled, even by the Greeks themselves, either Asiatic or European, or their Scicilian Sicilian or Italian Colonies. These Coins have all the simplicity of the Egyptian bas relief, but without its bald uniformity, or the petite, wirey, husky, dry, cutting manner of either the Persian, Hetruscan Etruscan or Punic Coins; They exhibit a Venustas33 & unrestrained easy, urbane, graceful deportment wch which appears equally to have resulted from the high cultivation & amenity of the State of Society where the Artist found his Models as of the delicacy & ability with which those Models were imitated. Herodotus (in Clio) says "that the Lydians were the first of all the Nations we know, who introduced the Art of coining Gold & Silver to facilitate Trade, & first practiced practised the way of retailing Merchandize."34 This perhaps is the reason why these Coins are supposed to be Lydian,35 as they are evidently prior to the Greeks & appear to have been imitated in the Grecian settlements of Ionia; & yet the Greeks seem to have had no Coins in Homer’s time,36 as he does not any where allude to them, & it is difficult to bring ones self oneself to believe that the remarkable perfection of these Coins, could have been effected by the Heraclida37 who were settled in Sardis, admitting these Heraclida to have been the descendents descendants of that Grecian Hercules the freind friend of Philoctetes,38 so memorable in the Trojan War & that the Greeks before & in Homer’s time, could have been such strangers to Coinage. Tis 'Tis difficult also to reconcile with the sum of things, the names of Belus & his grandson Ninus39 wch which occur in the list of these Heraclida. So many difficulties start up, on every side, as would induce one to look for a higher origin of these Heraclida, the supposed inventors of Coinage, & instead of Hercules the freind friend of Philoctetes, to substitute the Titanic40 Hercules, the freind friend & relation of Atlas,41 who flourished many ages before. This would comport better with the highly cultivated gousto of those Coins, so completely estranged, as they are, from all the different modes & degrees of Barbarism of the surrounding nations, they stand insulated, like that Mundane System of Pythagoras’s importation42 & cannot be ascribed to any known people except perhaps to these Titans or Atlantides,43 whence whence so many other Knowledges seem to have […] [gap in transcription (illegible)] been derived as from a common source – But been derived as from a common source – But Coinage is not traceable further back than in this supposed Lydian Money wch which we find in a state of compleat perfection without any of those previous stages of progressive growth which must, incontrovertibly have preceded that perfection.

Another matter which M.r Barry is happy in offering to the attention of the Society, is a Naval Pillar, which he has introduced in the Picture of the Thames, or Triumph of Navigation.44 This Design occurred to M.r Barry some time since, when His Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence45 & other Noblemen & gentlemen associated for the purpose, advertized their desire46 of obtaining Designs for a Naval Pillar or other Trophy, which might serve for the Commemoration of great National Achievements. But after some meditation on the extreme, desperate activity & shameless effrontery of the Cabal wch which M.r Barry has so long struggled with, in his endeavours to serve the Nation by encreasing the materials & pabulum47 of the Publick Education for the Arts, in that Royal Academy which His Majesty had most graciously Instituted for that express purpose & thatthat notwitstanding notwithstanding the notorious utility & even necessity so indispensable, of the matter contended for, - & the openess openness & publicity of M.r Barry’s procedure, & the darkness, swindling, illegal concealment of his opponents, yet all this was of but little avail & could not impede the facility with wch which this more than levelling, truly Jacobinical48 confederacy, (against what is called the Aristocracy of Talents) could practice practise such an imposition upon the King himself, so as to obtain his permission & signature for the Expulsion of that very man49 who had so much reason to expect Royal support & Countenance & even reward for what he had undertaken. When men, who are individually so insignificant, whose existence is of so little credit or utility to the publick & whose invidious interference in all great undertakings must inevitably be, if not destructive, yet, at least, marring & baneful. When, wherever & in whatsoever degree such miscreant interference, can obtain admission & facile currency but little good can be expected & if a man is not, indeed, gifted with the spirit of a Martyr, it is surely his wisest course to retreat in time, whilst any avenue is still left open.

It has been long since, generally said, that, His Majesty has been induced to believe, that M.r Barry had written ye the Supplement to Pilkington’s Dictionary of Painters,50 where the King is grossly abused51 page 825. & that His Majesty’s signature for M.r Barry’s expulsion followed in consequence. - Not to mention any thing of honour or disgrace, yet as by this expulsion M.r Barry lost his Salary as Professor,52 which Salary, was to have been the reward of long & intense labour; surely, it ought, before Judgment was passed, to have been previously known, whether the Charge was true & proved. If the common course of Justice had been followed, & that it had been made known to M.r Barry that such a Charge was exhibited against him, he could then have truly said (as he did in a Letter to His Majesty, four months after, when the matter was first made known to him, wch which Letter was afterwards printed in the Morning Post, Dec. 3. 1799.) that he, M.r Barry, had never any part or concern in the writing or devising of that Supplement, & that, tho though his name had been impudently & fraudulently affixed to it, yet that he had no knowledge whatever of any such a Matter, until, in common with the rest of His Majesty’s Subjects, he saw it after its publication, with a garbled portion of his Letter to the Dilletante, bound up along with it. Perhaps, owing to the King’s illness,53 M.r Barry’s justification had never been laid before His Majesty, & that consequently M.r Barry is thus left without any redress, in a matter so flagiciously fraudulent. Tis 'Tis to be regretted, if, the course of Justice can be thus delayed, &, still more to be regretted, if the Constitution has made no provision in such cases. However, the horror that naturally arose on the recollection of such carnage of principle & M.r Barry’s fear & disgust of being witness to any further extension of it: Where it: where honourable & patriotic minds, might be made the very instruments of defeating their own excellent views, & injuring or ruining those who may have the virtue of attempting to compleat those views. These recollections induced M.r Barry to lay aside all further thoughts of such enterprizes of attempting to serve the Publick, & to sit down contented with what he had already lost in the little salary which was to have been the reward of much labour & time, necessarily required in the formation of his Lectures to the Students of the Royal Academy.54 The completion of this Design of the Naval Pillar, was therefore quietly & with good reason laid aside & as M.r Barry thought, for ever. But, notwitstanding notwithstanding , on his coming to work in the Great Room, after the recess of the Society; the Thames picture of the Thames or the Triumph of Navigation, was in such unison, & so much of a piece with his Naval Trophy, that the idea of giving it existence & in that Picture, recurred back again upon him with accumulated & irresistableirresistible force, he could go no where, that it was not present to him & thus haunted & persecuted, he felt himself obliged to goe to Pall Mall,55 where all the Naval Pillars & Trophies were exhibited & where he hoped to find something which would so answer the intended purpose, as to set his mind at rest & thereby enable him to go on with his other work. In this he was dissapointed disappointed , & infinitely more eager than ever, he came back to the Great Room, rolled the Scaffold to the Picture of the Thames & began such a Trophy of a Mausoleum, Observatory & Light House as is no where else in existence & he believes, never had existence before.56 Nothing can have more simplicity & naivete than the idea of it as a Totality: the British Tars,57 so well & obviously typified by the Naval Gods, the Tritons58 upon Sea Horses, bashing up the sides of a rock, on the top of wch which they erect this Trophy of the first Naval Power.

In the year 1792 it appeared that M.r Barry had occasion to offer another ( tho though much more limited) scheme for a National Mausoleum59 (see page 28. Letter to the Dilletante) where the Subjects sculptured in the round & in Basso relievo, being all near the eye, afforded to the Spectator every opportunity of considering them with convenience, pleasure & utility, the want of which was so deeply regretted by all who had seen the fine Column at Rome, erected to commemorate the Victories of Trajan,60 the greatest part of these fine sculptures being, to every purpose of desirable inspection, as much lost & buried in the air, as if they had been so many feet underground, & the beautiful labour bestowed upon them could never be appreciated but in the plaister Casts, moulded from them at two different times, & from the Prints of Pietro. Sancto Bartoli,61 executed from these Casts. No doubt the Statue of the Emperor placed on the top of this Column, might from its Magnitude be less liable to suffer by the distance as a Totality, & might be seen all over Rome, wch which the grand motive that induced to the undertaking & would in every respect, have been worthy the great Artist & most excellent Emperor, had another form of Shaft been adopted which would have admitted of an exterior ascent, like this in the picture of the Thames: then nothing would have been lost in ye the appreciation of such admirable workmanship, as the Basrelief all the way up: But up: but this had not occurred hitherto in any instance, Ancient or Modern, except in such, where there was nothing of sculptural record to inform as to the subject matter & to give delight by the dignified, impressive manner of conveying that information. The Column of Antoninus62 is liable to the same objections as this of Trajan & still further agravated aggravated by the Clumpy, too much detached way of rendering the sculptured groups, wch which is not less injurious to the general effect, than perplexed & disgusting when considered singly. Of the same nature with these of Trajan & Antoninus, is the great Column at Constantinople,63 tho though , no doubt from the intervening decline of ye the Arts, greatly inferior in Gousto of every kind, & as to Pompey’s Pillar at Alexandria,64 it commemorates nothing, except perhaps by something on the Pedestal.

As the Pyramids of Egypt have been contrived, their immense massmass65 seems thrown away, without use, as nothing is recorded on them, either in the universal Language of forms, or in those more confined & precarious, Hieroglyphic or Alphabetical, & all succeeding Ages, have been utterly unable to divine the Utility adequate to such expensive Constructions. It may be disputed whether the Chaldaic Temple of Belus66 & the Tower within it, was of equal Antiquity with the Pyramids in Egypt: But Egypt. But , according to the account in Herodotus, this Chaldaic Tower was by much, a more Artistlike Artist-like performance & from what will appear below, more apositely appositely convertible to various purposes of the most interesting utility. This Babylonian Tower consisted of square bodies placed one on the other. The first Body or platform was (to use the words of Herodotus) 67of one Stade in height, & in lenght length & breadth of the same measure, on this Tower another is built & a third upon that, ‘till they make up the number of eight. The Ascent to these is by a circular way, carried round the outside of the building to the hight highest part. We are enabled to form a clear conception of the circular ascent round the several square stories of this building in Chaldea by adverting to the account published by the Reverend Father Clavigero,68 of the Ancient PyramidalPyramidal Temples in Mexico & the Country about it, which appear to have been constructed with more genious genius than those of Egypt, & to the great surprize of all who have concerned themselves in matters of Antiquity, are found to ha be constructed after identically the same mode with this of Chaldea, consisting of a certain number of Stories, round each of which, their Processions marched, ascending by a seperate separate flight of steps at the same Angle of each. One of these Mexican Temples consisted of nine stories or platforms, others were of a single body in the form of a Pyramid, with a stair case. The height of the Pyramid of Cholula was by Clavigero’s account, upwards of 500 feet. "One may ascend (says he) to the top by a path made in a spiral direction round the Pyramid, & I went up on horseback in 1744."69 But the Architecture of the great Temples was for the most part the same with that of the great Temple of Mexico,70 which tho though of a great height, so as to afford a view of the Lake, the Cities around & a great part of the Valley of Mexico & affirmed by eye witnesses to be the finest prospect in the world: yet notwitstanding notwithstanding , this great height consisted but of five bodies or stories, perhaps, in order to allow space for the plain or upper area on the fifth body, which was about 43 perches long & 30 broad, upon which they performed their sacrafices sacrifices in the view of such an immense concourse of people as this great altitude would afford, towards their becoming participants in what was going forward. Nothing Architectural, could have been more ingeniously contrived to exhibit with all conceivable splendor, not only, the spectacle on the platform, but also, the processional part, moving on all sides in every plain as it ascended. - But when one reflects that, the victims were human & that 72000.344 72,344 of them were sacraficed sacrificed on this platform in one festival of four days continuance at the Dedication of this Temple; Temple, 71 it is not to be wondered, that the Spaniards demolished & suffered not a stone of it to remain standing on the anotheranother other: and yet, it had been better perhaps, to have adopted a different conduct, & to have suffered the Temple to remain & in lieu of the former horrid butchery: to perform in the presence of this misguided people, their own Christian, unbloody Sacrafice Sacrifice , which from its relation to the oblation at Calvary72 of that Lamb, which was slain from the begining beginning , had happily attoned for all & precluded the necessity of any other Sacrafice Sacrifice . Such a Substitution would there, have been Evangelical indeed, as almost all over that part of the Western Hemisphere, Islands & Continent, every man had a chance of becoming an ill fated prisoner & consequently one in the dreadful list of Victims. - But the time presses & will not admit of much excursion, however agreable agreeable , or even, perhaps necessary towards the just apreciation appreciation of certain parts of the Subject in hand - let so much then, suffice, as it will sufficiently authorize the observation, that, the British Pillar, in the Picture of the Thames, [img] possesses every advantage enjoyed in those famed Pyramidal, Obeliscal or Columnal Fabrications of Egypt, Chaldea, Rome or America, with advantages peculiar to itself, of still higher value, than all that it may have in common with those celebrated Vestiges of Antiquity. This British Naval Pillar, Mausoleum, Observatory, Lighthouse or, whatever it may be called, as they are all united in the same Structure, which by a very legitimate flight of Classical Imagination, these Tritons, or Sea Gods, have erected to the first Naval Power, will admit of whatever advantages may be obtained from Altitude, & if the settling of Snow, would permit, it may be raised high enough to see (as Saussure73 did) the Moon & Constellations moving in a Jet black Vault at Noon day, whilst the easy, unembarrassed road, all the way up, might feast the eye, the mind & the heart, with all desirable National, Ethical or other Exemplary useful information. Altho Although this Building is at too great a distance in the picture [img] to afford accurate inspection of detailed particulars, yet it is near enough for a general view, as is sufficiently apparent from the Groupe74 of figures on the Basement, looking at one of the Basso-relievo’s which by the fleet of Ships & the distant Pyramids, might represent the Brave Nelson’s victory at the Nilus,75 whilst some more youthful Characters appear eagerly attentive to what is said with so much energy, as would appear, by the Action & stretched out hands of the speaker. At the End of the Bridge wch which connects this Building with the Chalky Shore, is a Triumphal Triumphal Arch thro through which Processions might pass, & at some distance, under the Bridge, is seen a more humble, tho though not less endearing prospect of a Village, Church Steeple & fishing boats, with the men pulling in their nets. A seventy four gun ship to windward of the Naval Pillar, stretching out to Sea & a fleet in ye offing just appearing in the offing.

In the fifth Picture Viz, that of the Society76 M.r Barry has also introduced a Tea Kitchin Kitchen , or Vase for boiling water, which he offers as an Improvement on those in general Use, which in many respects, have been so vulgarly & illcontrived that, much as he loves Tea, yet he can never see these complicated, Tasteless Urns or Vases, without disgust, resting as they generally do, on a sort of Pedestals with additional feet to them, handles unacounted unaccounted for, but stuck on, merely for the purpose, & the water issuing from an odious, insulated, defenceless, feeble conveyance, stuck in, like a spicket in a barrell.77 In lieu of all this Tasteless, complicated vulgarity: the Vase in the picture of the Society, is of the simplest & least complicated kind, & if any idea results from its general appearance, it is the Sublime suggestion of the Grecian Cosmogony.78 The Primeval Egg, of Ancient Mother Night, suspended between two Mysterious Serpents, the principle of regenerating Vitality, the convolutions of whose bodies, flung in the air, naturally furnish the handles & their tails afford the stable circular foot or basis on which the whole rests, whilst the passage for the water of life within, is controlled by the little Psyche79 or button in the Centre where the heads of those Serpents meet at bottom. Perhaps there is nothing in the immense collection of Antique Vasses Vases in Passeri or S.r W.m Sir William Hamilton,80 so Classical & compleatly greek Grecian as this idea, whilst it is certain that, nothing can be more compleatly adapted to every purpose of Security & Utility.

There are also a few 81 other particulars of recent introduction in this Picture of the Society as well as in that of the Elysium,82 but, whatever observations may occur on them will be better reserved for some other time, as this Letter is getting too long & tiresome.

To the Right Hon.bl Honourable the President Vice Presidents & the rest of the Noblemen & Gentlemen of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts.&c.