James Barry, an Irish painter, born in Cork, Oct. 11, 1741, died in London, Feb. 22, 1806. He studied in Dublin, and in Italy under the patronage of Burke. After his return to England in 1770 he painted for the society of arts in London a series of allegorical pictures of human progress, the best of which is that of the "Victors at Olympia." His charges against the administration of the royal acad- einy led in 1797 to his expulsion from that body, and to his removal from the professorship of painting, which he had held for ten years, after which he received a public subscription of £1,000, and a year before his death, through Sir Robert Peel, the father of the premier, a government annuity of the same amount. He was irritable and quarrelsome, and lived most of his life in penury; but he had noble conceptions of art, though his execution and coloring were generally defective. He wrote in 1775 "An Inquiry into the Real and Imaginary Obstructions to Art in England," in which he refuted Winckelmann's theory in respect to the unsesthetic influence of the English climate.
His various works were published in 1809 in 2 vols., with his biography.