The coincidence that the two major history painters working in Britain between 1780 and 1850 were both Irish, and both from Cork, requires some investigation and elucidation. Both artists created major history paintings in London, Barry at the Royal Society of Arts, and Maclise at the new Houses of Parliament. Class, religion, politics and ambition all played a role in the lives and works of these remarkable artists.
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Image : Detail of mural, Royal Society of Arts London (1777-1784), James Barry