Letter from SOCIETY OF ARTS to JAMES BARRY, written 4 June 1789, at Adelphi, London

Source:Fryer, Works of Barry, ii. 465; 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.

Samuel More (1726-99), apothecary and administrator, Secretary of the Society of Arts since 1770. Barry included him in his painting The Distribution of Premiums in the Society of Arts in the Adelphi.

Barry had long wanted to finish certain details in his paintings The Progress of Human Culture in the Great Room of the Society of Arts in the Adelphi, in particular the head of the Prince of Wales. After a delegation from the Society of Arts approached the Prince, he agreed to a sit for Barry on 28 June: 'after which I took the picture to the Society's room, painted in the head of his Royal Highness, and finished the rest of the work' (Fryer, Works of Barry, ii. 464). This letter prepares the way for Barry to start work again on the pictures.

Full display

Adelphi June 4, 1789.


I am directed to inform you that, at the meeting of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, held yesterday evening, it was " Ordered, that the Society's room be free to Mr. Barry, during any recess, whenever he shall apply to the Secretary or Register1 for admission, in order to work upon any of the pictures."2

I am, Sir, your very humble servant,

Sam. Samuel More, Secretary.

James Barry, Esq.