Letter from JAMES BARRY to SOCIETY OF ARTS, written ante 24 September 1777 , at London

Source: MS RSA AD/MA/104/10/403, Royal Society of Arts, London. [img]

Barry had started work on a series of six paintings, The Progress of Human Culture in the Great Room of the Society of Arts in July, and here makes a request to Samuel More (1726-99), Secretary of the Society.1 The two life models he refers to, a woman and a man, would have posed for figures in the first pictures in the series.

The letter mentions only Wednesday as the date, but since Barry signed a receipt on 24 September 1777, which was a Wednesday, for the money asked for in this letter, it was probably written on one of the preceding Wednesdays, either 17 or 10 September. The previous meeting of the Society's Accounts Committee that considered his letter on 23 September was on 2 September.

Full display

Mr Barry presents his best Compts Compliments to M.r Moore & requests he will be so obliging as to inform the Committee2 that the Models are now necessary in order to proceed in the work. The female Model has some delicacies which will make it difficult to persuade her to be known in that character to a second person & the male is in such circumstances that M.r Barry apprehends that the method which will be least troublesome to the Society & least likely to retard the work, will be to entrust him with the money for the payment of these models, for wch which end if the Committee thinks proper he would be glad to have fifteen pounds,3 which he hopes will shortly carry him thro' through one half of his undertaking.

Suffolk S.t4 Wednesday Morning