We use cookies to improve your experience online. By using our website, you agree to the use of cookies as described in our cookies policy.

Joseph Baretti (1719 - 1789)

RA Collection: People and Organisations

Giuseppe Marc‘Antonio Baretti was an Italian writer, translator, poet and literary critic born in Turin, who spent many years living in London, where he was often known as Joseph Baretti.

He came to London in 1751 and became acquainted with members of the literary and artistic establishment, such as Samuel Johnson, David Garrick, Henry Fielding and Sir Joshua Reynolds (who painted Baretti’s portrait).

He was appointed the first Secretary of Foreign Correspondence to the Royal Academy of Arts in 1769.

On 6th October 1769, while walking along the Haymarket in London, Baretti was involved in a scuffle with a number of men during which he fatally wounded one of them with a fruit-knife. He was arrested and brought to trial for murder at the Old Bailey. His friends, including Sir Joshua Reynolds, Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, David Garrick, Topham Beauclerk and Oliver Goldsmith, testified at the trial to his good character. The jury acquitted him on the grounds of self-defence.


Born: 25 April 1719 in Turin, Italy

Died: 5 May 1789

Nationality: Italian

Honorary officer: Secretary for Foreign Correspondence 1769 - 1789

Gender: Male

Works associated with Joseph Baretti in the RA Collection

1 results

Associated books

2 results

Associated archives

8 results