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Study for a print 'The Phoenix, or the Resurrection of Freedom.'

Drawing
ca. 1776 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

In 1776, James Barry publicly denounced in a print the corruption and oppression of the English government. This drawing is a preparatory study for that print in which a group of 17th-century republican thinkers such as John Milton (1608-74) and John Locke (1632-1704) mourn Britannia who is shown lying on a bier. Britannia's soul 'Liberty' has fled to America, her new country, which is represented by the round temple in the middle of the composition.
Barry has portrayed himself at the far left, behind the group of people who show their support for the ideas of the American Revolution. Although this drawing is signed, Barry did not sign the print : prints had a wider circulation and Barry did not want to run the risk of being punished by the English government. His controversial views had in fact made him the only artist ever to be expelled from the Royal Academy.

Object details

Category
Object type
TitleStudy for a print 'The Phoenix, or the Resurrection of Freedom.' (popular title)
Materials and techniques
Pencil, red chalk, pen and sepia ink
Brief description
Study for a print 'The Phoenix, or the Resurrection of Freedom' by James Barry, late 18th century.
Physical description
Drawing.
Dimensions
  • Height: 39.1cm
  • Width: 60cm
Marks and inscriptions
  • Jas. Barry Invt (Signed)
  • Libert. America. Rome. Athens (Inscribed)
  • (Mark of the collection of Dr. J. Percy (1817-1889))
Summary
In 1776, James Barry publicly denounced in a print the corruption and oppression of the English government. This drawing is a preparatory study for that print in which a group of 17th-century republican thinkers such as John Milton (1608-74) and John Locke (1632-1704) mourn Britannia who is shown lying on a bier. Britannia's soul 'Liberty' has fled to America, her new country, which is represented by the round temple in the middle of the composition.
Barry has portrayed himself at the far left, behind the group of people who show their support for the ideas of the American Revolution. Although this drawing is signed, Barry did not sign the print : prints had a wider circulation and Barry did not want to run the risk of being punished by the English government. His controversial views had in fact made him the only artist ever to be expelled from the Royal Academy.
Bibliographic reference
Dunne, Tom (ed.), James Barry, 1741-1806 : 'The great historical painter', Kinsale, Co. Cork : Gandon Editions for the Crawford Art Gallery, 2005 DR1
Collection
Accession number
D.152-1890

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Record createdJuly 3, 2006
Record URL
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