Letter from SOCIETY OF ARTS to JAMES BARRY, written
post 19 June 1801
, at Adelphi, London
Source: MS RSA PR/GE/112/12/42, f. 185, Royal Society of Arts, London.
The transcription is made from the
Society's Minute Book.
The Society of Arts' medal had been in use since 1753; the die had so worn
that it was resolved to replace it with a new medal. The Committee of Polite
Arts1 agreed at its meeting on 19 June 1801 to send the following letter to
Barry and to four other artists: Robert Smirke (1753-1845), a member of the Royal Academy,
the sculptor Charles Rossi
(1762-1839), the painter John Flaxman (1755-1826), and William Stodart.
The Committee later asked the engraver and medallist Nathaniel Marchant (c.1738-1816; see DNB) to prepare a design; when he
failed to do so, Flaxman was again approached in 1805; he produced a design
which was adopted by the Society.
The Society decided not to accept Barry's design which had the heads of
Minerva and Mercury. A medal from Barry's design is in the archives of the
Royal Society of Arts. [img]
The Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce,
having by their
of Polite Arts determined
to apply to you for a design for new dyes for a Medal2 & its reverse, I enclose you an
Account of the premiums3 of the
Society for your information relative to the objects proposed. The
are particularly led to make this application, because they feel the
utmost anxiety, that their medal shall exhibit the highest perfection to which
the arts are arrived.
As the dyes will require a considerable time to execute, the
beg the favour of you to deliver the designs previous to the 1st of of August, the day appointed for their