A Series Of Etchings By James Barry, Esq. From His Original And Justly Celebrated Paintings, In The Great Room Of The Society Of Arts, Manufactures, And Commerce, Adelphi.
James Barry RA
RA Collection: Book
In the first copy the front pastedown carries the binder's ticket, which reads, 'Bound By Westleys & Clark. - London.'
James Barry's six large murals on canvas for the Great Room of the Royal Society of Arts were painted between 1777 and 1784, and represent his most sustained effort as a history-painter. Their subject is the progress of civilization; and they depict both allegoric and historical figures.
Plates [1-6] are captioned and have accompanying texts. They are described in the 'General Subject Of The Prints' as showing:  Mankind in a savage state, with the story of Orpheus;  Harvest-home or thanksgiving to Ceres and Bacchus;  Victors at Olympia;  Navigation, or triumph of the Thames;  Distribution of rewards by the Society of Arts;  Elysium or final retribution. Plates [7-12] are described in their preceding note as consisting of four enlarged details of the preceding 'Elysium', with additional figures (including Calvart Baron of Baltimore) and an enlarged detail of the preceding 'Victors at Olympia'. Plate  shows sketches of two paintings (representing King George as a supporter of an independent judiciary and Queen Charlotte as an educator) that might have hung above the chimneypieces of the Great Room, and have formed a suite with the six described in pl. [1-6] above; pl. , Isabella of Spain;  King Lear;  Pandora.
In 1782 Barry was appointed Professor of Painting at the Royal Academy (he had become a Member in 1773); but in 1799 he was expelled because of his alleged public criticism of the Academy and some of its Members (and possibly, also, for his known republicanism).
The paintings may be seen at the Royal Society of Arts, London. The Royal Academy holds a study for 'King George giving the Bill to the Judges' (sketched in pl.  above).
Copy 2: This copy was bequeathed to the Royal Academy by Gilbert Bakewell Stretton.
[Copy 2:] 19th-century half calf, marbled-papered boards; rebacked in cloth retaining earlier red morocco spine-label lettered 'Barry's Etchings'.
Name as Subject
Allegories - Symbols - Great Britian - 18th century
Paintings, European - Paintings, British - History paintings - Interior decoration - Site-specific works - Great Britain - London - 18th century - Neoclassical
Pictorial works - 19th century