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Tom Dunne and William L. Pressly, eds., James Barry, 1741–1806: History Painter


Dennis M. Read

In recent years Barry has gained serious attention, with a major exhibition of his works in Cork, Ireland, in 2005, a monograph that year by David G. C. Allan, and extensive discussion of his aims and contributions by Martin Myrone in Bodybuilding: Reforming Masculinities in British Art, 1750–1810 (2005) and Daniel R. Guernsey in The Artist and the State, 1777–1855: The Politics of Universal History in British and French Painting (2007). This growing interest began with the publication of William L. Pressly’s The Life and Art of James Barry in 1981, followed by a major exhibition of Barry’s work at the Tate in 1983 and John Barrell’s numerous references to Barry in his 1986 study, The Political Theory of Painting from Reynolds to Hazlitt. In this volume, Dunne and Pressly have collected fourteen essays from various hands, including Allan, Myrone, Guernsey, and Barrell, addressing a wide range of topics and questions involving Barry’s life and art. If the essays do not speak in one voice, they complement each other to a great extent.


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