With the exception of his academic nude studies (see lot 78), most of Barry’s drawings were a means of developing ideas for paintings and prints (see lot 81). Dunne suggests that the present drawing was executed in the 1790s as a preliminary design for a proposed series of pictures on the Life of Christ: a scheme designed as a continuation of Barry’s Paradise Lost series of earlier in the same decade. Other possible subjects are the Adoration of the Shepherds and The Baptism of Christ (Dunne, op. cit., pp. 167-8, nos. DR18 and 19).
We are grateful to Martin Butlin for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.