State Library Victoria > La Trobe Journal

No 73 Autumn 2004


Batchelder & O'Neill, photographers. Sir Redmond Barry, [ca. 1865]. Albumen silver carte-de-visite. From the Fasti Victoriensis album. H92.145. La Trobe Picture Collection.


Ann Galbally
Patron of the Arts at the Antipodes

The Public Library is another of the lions of Melbourne, for which the citizens are mainly indebted to the exertions of Sir Redmond Barry, one of the Judges of the Supreme Court, who, classically speaking, may be called the Maecenas of Victoria. He is the great patron of the arts, and of everything conducive to mental culture, and refinement, and elevation of taste…
Clara Aspinall, Three Years in Melbourne (1862)


Redmond Barry was widely recognised by contemporaries for his public patronage of the arts. Through his service as Trustee of the Public Library and the National Gallery of Victoria in their infant years, his was the most significant hand that shaped the direction of Victoria's early public culture. He brought an educated, cultivated and complicated taste to bear upon the earliest acquisitions made by these two bodies, enacting, in the public realm, what he found himself unable to do - through lack of personal finances - in the private. He had a consistently high profile on these and other cultural bodies in Melbourne. He was also Chancellor of the University of Melbourne until his death in 1880 and served as Chief Commissioner for the 1855 Victoria Exhibition, the exhibits of which were then sent on to the Exposition Universelle in Paris; Commissioner for the 1861 Exhibition, travelling to London to present it at the International Exhibition in 1862; President of the 1866 Intercolonial Exhibition and visiting Commissioner for Victoria at the 1876 Philadelphia Exhibition - all of which meant an enormous amount of unpaid work for him. Yet cultural patronage became his passion and came to dominate his life to a far greater extent than his actual paid work as a Judge of the Victorian Supreme Court.
His efforts on behalf of the Victorian public were not without their critics, then and now. The objects which he was involved in bringing to the public collections in Victoria which could and have been dismissed as a heterogenous mishmash - plaster casts of Greek and Roman deities, relief sculptures, medals and coins, calotypes and chromolithographs of early Italian, Spanish and German masters, majolica ware, portrait busts of famous men, oil paintings by contemporary minor European masters — only make sense as a collecting policy if understood in the light of the contemporary cultural context. For by the mid-nineteenth century public cultural institutions in western societies were still being negotiated.
With the industrial revolution and the rise in the significance of applied knowledge, a duality began to appear which was to manifest itself mid-century in a split between older systems of knowledge that relied upon a classical education and understanding, and the newer, utilitarian forms of knowledge such as engineering, geology and medicine. The tensions that arose can be seen across the spectrum of Victorian organizations devoted to education and ideas - in the Philosophical Institute (founded 1855), in the University of Melbourne (founded 1853) Public Library (founded 1853) Museum (1854) - and even in the controversy over what the National Gallery (founded 1864) should contain. Redmond Barry was involved to a greater and lesser extent in all of these institutions and could be said himself to embody the duality of the Old World, grounded in a knowledge of Greece and Rome, and the New, exploring beyond the boundaries of a classical education.
A museum, public library, university and art gallery came to be the proud cultural cornerstones of the nineteenth-century city. But not before a great deal of negotiation, compromise and re-alignment of power structures had taken place between those who formerly had held almost total control of knowledge and art - the aristocracy and nobility - and those who were now thought to be its rightful beneficiaries, the emerging middle classes. The period of Redmond Barry's lifetime - 1813 to 1880 - saw this group, newly wealthy, politically enfranchised and hungry for information, take control of these institutions, formerly part of the aristocratic power structure. Although this happened early and cataclysmically in France during the Revolution, in the German States and in England the process was slower, more controlled and often aided by the relinquishing classes. Redmond Barry, who identified strongly with the nobility whilst being in reality the son of the lesser aristocracy declined into dependence upon military careers rather than being able to live off their estates, personified this paradox.
Impatient with his under-educated colonial peers he had unbounded faith in the potential he saw in education for moulding and creating new communities. And it was to be the working-and middle-class emigrants who would be the prime beneficiaries of his new institutions. Through access to publicly funded institutions they would not only retain the best of the culture they had left behind in the Old World, but would be brought to understand and be able to exploit their new country. In his own persona the conflicting instincts of retaining control yet allowing the widest possible usage (of ‘his’ Library for instance) constantly waged war. Similarly, the University, which he was a major force in establishing and of which he remained founding Chancellor until his death, saw him impose the exclusive curricula of pre-nineteenth century universities, based on the classics, yet insist upon a very nineteenth-century requirement - secularisation. Fundamental definitions of what ‘culture’ or ‘the arts’ were in the mid-nineteenth century became turning points in the dialogues of committees involved in the implementation of some of Barry's dearest projects - as, for instance, the question of whether or not novels should be acquired by a large, generalised and publicly-funded library? Or whether good copies of revered Old Masters would be a better way of transposing European visual culture to the antipodes rather than new art by contemporary but relatively unknown modern masters? An examination of some of the broad outlines of Barry's cultural patronage provides interesting insights into the battleground that was public culture in the new colony and may deepen our understanding of what we have inherited.


You, my dear Sir, have I believe never been transported 16,000 miles from civilisation, and cannot imagine what it is to be cast so far beyond the reach of the thousand daily means of improvement and enjoyment which they possess who breath the air of Europe. […] I have called our present position Exile and so it is to all intents and purposes. […] Society here is of course as you may suppose in its infancy - the arts & sciences are unborn.1
In this letter to his friend, publisher John Murray, Charles Joseph La Trobe gives voice to an appalled realisation of what he had let himself in for in the first years of his residency in Victoria. It is a cry paralleled in Redmond Barry's correspondence with his Irish family in the 1840s. Both men were galvanised by their situation to do something to bring about introducing the culture and way of life they had left behind into the wilderness they now inhabited. They were on very
good terms from the time Barry arrived in the settlement of Port Phillip on November 13 1839 until La Trobe returned to Europe over a decade later, and La Trobe was to give invaluable financial and other assistance to Barry in his quest for public patronage of the arts in the new colony. Although the two worked most closely over the establishment of the Public Library and the University, because these two institutions have been written about at length elsewhere and for reasons of space, this essay will concentrate on other less well-known aspects of Barry's cultural patronage.
If Redmond Barry was ever to become a patron of the arts along the lines of his admired kinsman, James Hugh Smith Barry, it was only ever going to be possible through the public purse. The family of 13 children of retired Major General Henry Greene Barry of Ballyclough House, Glanworth near Fermoy, only just managed to live on the rents of their tenant farmers (they held roughly 1000 acres). The sons were expected to find careers in the British Army and it was when Redmond failed to gain a commission in the period of post-Napoleonic peacetime, that his thoughts turned first of all to an alternative career, in the law, and when that too looked unpromising on Dublin's overcrowded circuit, to emigration.
The law itself had little appeal to the youthful Barry but the scholarship surrounding it did. After a period at a ‘cramming’ school in Cork his Greek and Latin were enough to enable acceptance as an undergraduate at Trinity College, Dublin, in the autumn term of 1833. Until 1850 proficiency in these two classical languages was the only prerequisite for admittance. Here his studies were dominated by the classics, the scholarship of which he relished, finding no difficulty in learning large tracts of classical authors by rote as part of the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts. Studying and quoting from classical authors was maintained when he was accepted the following year as a candidate at King's Inns in Henrietta Street, Dublin2 and would become one of the characteristics of his personality most remarked upon by contemporaries. But his interest in classical civilisations probably predates his undergraduate years. As a youth he had become familiar with Royal Cork Institute. Essentially a literary society containing a library, museum, lecture theatre and reading room, it was housed in the Cork Custom House, which it shared with the Cork Society of Arts. In 1832 the latter had been the recipient of a fine collection of casts, which had been made in Rome under the supervision of Antonio Canova, presented to the then Prince of Wales by Pope Pius VII, who made the gift over to the Cork Society of Art.s.3
The youthful exposure to a combination of library, museum and collection of classical casts was an important one for Barry, and was further enhanced by his familiarity with the library at Trinity College. Here again was to be found a physical combination of literature and statuary - 13 busts of famous men, a bequest from a Dr Gilbert in 1743, were arrayed at the end of individual piers of books. These early experiences of combinations of elements - classical statuary and books in settings directed towards public learning - cannot be underestimated when it comes to understanding why Barry was so persistent in his efforts to collect busts of famous men as well as casts of classical statuary for Melbourne's Public Library in the late 1850s. He was actually trying to replicate a tradition which, in terms of the interaction between visual and literary references in an architectural setting dates back to the Renaissance and can still be seen in certain libraries in Europe today, at the Public Library in Verona, Italy, for instance.
This interest in displaying likenesses of famous men was a feature of the Italian Renaissance and was brought to England in the 17th century by Lord Clarendon. It became fashionable in the 18th century and Lord Burlington and William Kent designed a ‘temple of British Worthies’
containing busts of distinguished English thinkers for the landscape garden at Stowe. The busts of famous men which Barry had placed at the end of the bookcases in the Queen's Reading Room in the early 1860s, however, was not just a nod to the great traditions of the past but was in tune with mid-century British thinking. The renaissance idea that in the portrait, as in literature, the ‘character’, the ‘fame and merit’ of famous persons would be preserved as an example was revivified in the 19th century by Thomas Carlyle, in his essay Heroes and Hero Worship, and was taken up by nobles, politicians and ultimately public instructors. Sir Robert Peel had a ‘Gallery of Statesmen’ at Drayton House, Lord Aberdeen had portraits and marble busts carved by contemporary sculptor Chantry, and Disraeli had a ‘Gallery of Friendship’ at Hughenden.4 An Historical Portrait Gallery was established at the Crystal Palace at Sydenham and was rapturously received by the Athenaeum in 1854: ‘A certain feeling of awe creeps over the mind of the spectator who stays for even a few minutes to muse in these long avenues of the ’Pantheon of History‘…a few glances here, and all modern history rises before the eye…’5
The belief that the observers would learn of their national past and be imbued with national ideals and idealism by exposure to casts and busts of famous men was running at its

The Queen's Reading Room. Public Library of Victoria. Ca. 1870. Collection of Ann Galbally.

flood tide in the 1850s. Barry's collection of busts of famous men in the Queen's Hall contributed its own very topical reminder to the displaced colonists not to lose sight of their national heritage
Essentially it was Barry's education and class associations that led to the ambitious project of a collection of casts of classical and neo-classical statuary to be housed in the Library building. As a young man his deepening interest in classical statuary was doubtless inspired by the example of his earlier kinsman, James Smith Barry (1746–1801). He had made the Grand Tour from 1771–76 - and more than a name for himself with his chaotic behaviour and extravagant expenditure on pictures and antiquities.6 A grandson of the Earl of Barrymore, he owned estates in Cheshire and subsequently inherited further property in Ireland and his uncle's estate, Marbury Hall in Cheshire, which became his principal seat. Curiously, his unconventional private life - he never married but had 5 children by an ex-nuptial liaison — bears a striking parallel to Barry's own life. The substantial income that came with Smith Barry's inheritances enabled him to indulge his passion for antiquities. By the time his collection was complete in 1781 when it included a fragment from the Parthenon and a Seated Zeus from the Villa d‘Este at Tivoli, it was a remarkable one. Redmond Barry could well have visited the collection at Marbury Hall when he was a student in London at Lincoln's Inn. His Day Book records the death of ‘Smith Barry’ (James Smith Barry's illegitimate but inheriting son) on 2 March 1837 and meetings with his kinsman “Barry MP” ‘at the House of Commons’ in April 1838. Further, his Day Book notes two visits to the British Museum during this period, 21 April 1837–7 March 1838,7 where not only were the Elgin Marbles on display but also the magnificent Townley Collection of antiquities.
A passion for antique statues became the defining mark for many 18th century noblemen and a sure passage into circles of scholars and art lovers such as the Society of Dilettanti. Their resonance remained strong into the 19th century, as John Grote wrote in 1856: ‘Classical statuary… is a point of intellectual sympathy among men over a considerable surface of the world, for those who have forgotten their actual Greek and Latin bear still generally with them many traces of its influence, and in fact it is this which more than anything, makes them in common parlance, educated men’.8 With the installation and subsequent public accessibility of the Elgin Marbles at the British Museum in 1817 classical marbles as a standard of aesthetic beauty and nobility became widely accepted. Many of the most famous examples - the Apollo Belvedere, the

Apollo Belvedere, Musei Vaticani, Rome. Collection of Ann Galbally.

Farnese Hercules and the Venus de Medici - were widely reproduced either as full-sized plaster casts or in reduced format as part of the décor of Victorian hallways and conservatories. By the time Redmond Barry chose, as Chairman of Trustees of the Public Library in 1859, to direct the first monies made available by the government for the purchase of works of art to the acquisition of casts of classical casts, busts, medals and gems, alto and bas reliefs,9 his decision would have been seen as part of a public education program. He chose his casts with care, his choice reflecting 18th century orthodoxy in the matter as discussed by Haskell and Penny in Taste and the Antique.10 They included the Apollo Belvedere, the Discobolus, the Venus de Medici and the Fighting (Borghese) Gladiator as well as casts of works by modern neo-classical sculptors such as a Venus by Antonio Canova (1757–1822).11 His correspondence with Hugh Childers on this matter over the years 1859–1862.12 reveals an insistence on the highest quality casts available. Interestingly Barry, ahead of his time, warns Childers against casts of restored statuary, preferring ‘a mutilated torso in its original state, to a statue, portions of which have been at different times, supplied, however excellent the restoration may be esteemed to be…’13

Antonio Canova (1757–1822). Venus (Venere Italica), Palazzo Pitti, Florence. Collection of Ann Galbally.

The initial shipments were sourced from the Covent Garden cast shop of Domenico Brucciani, later works from the Museo Chiaramonte in Rome. From the surviving photographs of the casts in situ it would seem that Barry intended for them to remain as a cast museum along the lines of Ravaisson's Musée Grec at the Palais de I'Industrie in Paris. He planned descriptive labels of the bases of the works, even revolving stands - none of which materialised. After interruptions caused by the large breakage count on their passage to Melbourne, the casts were put on display at various points in the early ‘sixties and then formally in a new building with a sculpture gallery running north from the entrance hall in the ‘Christmas season’ of 1864. It appears that only about half of Barry's acquisitions (made up of the 1859 purchase and a further purchase whilst Barry was in London and Rome in 1862) were put on view - 54 out of a total of 100 pieces. The rest were left to languish in their packing cases for an indeterminate period.
But Barry's major effort at public patronage did not meet with the response he had hoped for and only remained on exhibition for a few years. Today, the issues that arose over the casts can be seen as throwing into relief a moment of cultural change. Criticism had not come over the idea

Charles Nettleton, photographer. View of the Cast Collection, Public Library of Victoria, late 1860s. Collection of Ann Galbally.

Charles Nettleton, photographer. Gallery of casts from the studio of Bruccioni, London, and the entrance to the exhibition office. July 1869. Albumen silver photograph. H12957 La Trobe Picture Collection.

of purchasing the casts for the Library - they were thought to be educational - but rather arose when they went on display. Barry seemed to have hoped, like his contemporary Felix Ravaisson, with his casts after Greek statuary in the Musée Grec in the Palais de l'Industrie in Paris, that they would be enjoyed for their aesthetic as much as their educational qualities.14 But the moment had gone. His efforts were appreciated locally only by those few with the education to understand what he was doing. In a letter to Treasurer Verdon, artist Thomas Clark, pleading for the establishment of a publicly-funded art school, wrote appreciatively that he was ‘not unaware that a valuable collection of casts from the antique has lately been placed in a portion of the public library’.15 Unhappily, critic James Smith spoke for the wider masses in his review of the installation, in which he is derisive of its educational potential. The emphasis Barry gave to tracing the historical development of sculpture in his subsequent catalogue was not apparent in the display. Smith wrote:
Entering the long and lofty hall to the left of the new north wing, we find fifty three of the principal statue casts ranged along the walls, with a second row round the room in line with the columns, and clustering round those square and massive supports. No attempt has been made at classification, either according to chronology or artistic rank.
No one seemed to appreciate their aesthetic dimension, as Smith continued:
Of the crowds however, who had made in ten minutes the grand tour of that noble gallery within the last few days – entering with curiosity and returning with abject helplessness of comprehension written on numberless faces…truly it is enough to perplex, puzzle and altogether vex the young idea to behold half a hundred statues, more or less in nature's garbing, without the friendly aid if a catalogue and with, as yet, but an imperfect ticketing of the figures.16
In fact, the Library published a Catalogue of the Casts, Busts Reliefs and Illustrations of the School of Design and Ceramic Art later that year, but it was a straightforward listing of titles, noting where the original was housed and listing donors. Two years later Barry wrote a descriptive catalogue along his favourite lines of an extensive historical overview, based on the models written by Owen Jones and Mrs Anna Jamieson, explaining the historical cast courts at the Crystal Palace at Sydenham.17 But the casts only enjoyed a few years in their gallery in the Library before being demoted to a more pragmatic role as models for the students in the newly opened art school in 1870.
What this colonial response to Barry's handpicked cast collection actually mirrored was the rethinking of what classical culture meant at this point, almost three-quarters way through the century. Barry's ambitious aim at citing and further referencing literary and historical references on or associated with the casts (which never happened) was the response of one whose classical education was primarily literary. But by the 1870s the visual arts, especially painting, had gained unprecedented popularity to the extent that people now preferred to see images of the great classical deities in the voluptuous canvases of a Frederic Leighton or an Edward Poynter rather than the chaste forms of white marble. Painting could suggest narrative far more easily than could sculpture and it was narrative that the mid-Victorians craved. Classical statues began to lose their cultural authority in direct relation to the ascendancy of the great public exhibitions held annually at the Royal Academy and at the Salon following which the most popular works would be engraved and able to be purchased for modest sums. Classical statuary then began its long decline into a solely decorative role where meaning and associations were lost. In Melbourne they could be seen at George Coppin's Cremorne pleasure gardens in Richmond in the 1860s and when
this enterprise failed, Coppin's classical deities (also sourced from Brucciani) were sold off and found their way to another outdoor setting amongst the shrubs and trees of the Fitzroy gardens until a thoroughly disenchanted 1930s audience requested the removal of their mildewed forms.
But in the 1860s Barry gritted his teeth and seemed to accept that taste had changed. He urged no more classical subjects on his fellow trustees but moved on towards the reality of establishing the picture gallery his contemporaries apparently craved. He chaired the Commission of the Fine Arts, which was set up in 1863 as a response to the outcry over the cast display. It included the vociferous James Smith of the Argus, Library trustee Archibald Michie, Professor Wilson from the University, sculptor Charles Summers, and Librarian Augustus Tulk. The Reports it handed down in 1864 and 1865 directly lead to the establishment of the National Gallery of Victoria, the oldest publicly funded at gallery in Australia.
The issue that dominated the Commission's early deliberations was the question of whether the collection should be commenced with copies of Old Masters or whether they should buy the work of‘modern’ artists. Again it was an issue central to the change in taste and attitudes that took place in the middle years of the century. The Commissioners were divided on the issue, one group upholding an earlier standard that ‘a copy of a very good work is preferable to an indifferent original; for there the invention is seen almost intire, and a great deal of the expression and disposition, and many times good hints of the colouring, drawing and other qualities’.18
This was an Augustan taste, which essentially prized the original intellectual conceit of the artist above any sort of romantic self-expression. It was upheld by many in the colonies who had brought out their own collections of copies, which were regularly exhibited publicly in the various

Charles Nettleton, photographer. Art Exhibition, Melbourne Public Library, July 1869, showing a copy of Raphael's Madonna della Sedia and, above it, a copy of Rubens' Deposition. Albumen silver photograph. H12950 La Trobe Picture Collection.

colonial and intercolonial exhibitions held throughout the 19th century. The Catholic Archbishop Goold similarly brought a number of copies of famous Renaissance works for the Melbourne Archdiocese – all with the same motivation of educating the colonists in their cultural heritage. But it was a concept under attack by others, especially local artists, as stultifying and preserving the second rate in artistic production. Barry was on the side of the ‘moderns’ here, developing a distaste for the copying industry which he saw in action in the galleries he visited in London, Paris and Rome on his 1862 visit to Europe when he wrote
To me nothing can be more dreary than the trade of those mechanics who spend a lifetime in the servile task of reproducing the same work…an attenuated dauber who from Monday morning to Saturday night toils to transfer to the canvas the same unalterable lineaments. The salvation of the creature must be that he has no genius to illuminate his soul and to give him a ray to the depths of this misery.19
Barry's feelings were strong on this issue and, knowing what lay ahead, in London in 1862 he had already ‘waited’ on Sir Charles Eastlake, President of the Royal Academy and Director of the National Gallery, in anticipation of asking him to perform some service for Victoria.
The Commission came down in favour of collecting modern works, but to forestall any criticism it was decided to ask Eastlake to make the first selection. Only £1800 was made available for purchases by the government, and at a time when the market for modern works was rising, it could not be hoped to acquire works by leading artists. In a letter to the Chief Secretary dated 1869, Barry details quite precisely how this was spent and which of the eleven first works were chosen by Eastlake and who selected others.20 In tune with the development of modern history painting, a feature of British and German art in the first half of the 19th century, certain of Eastlake's choices were paintings in which the artist endeavoured to reveal a country's national characteristics through the depiction of historical events. These narrated the workings of history upon the lives of ordinary people such as Charles Cope's The Departure of the Pilgrim Fathers, George Folingsby's Bunyan in Prison and Guillaime Koller's Départ du Fiancé. Others showed national stylistic characteristics, van Schendel's Rembrantesque The poultry vendor and Jehan-Georges Vibert's technically advanced French Artists in a Spanish posada. Others were no doubt selected for their accurate rendition of specific national landscape characteristics such as Robert Herdman's The Fern Gatherer.
At the same time the Commissioners were under pressure to support local artists. In 1863 they offered a £200 acquisition prize for a painting by a resident artist which possessed ‘sufficient merit to qualify it or them to compare favourably with the works of eminent living artists in Europe’.21 It was eventually won by Nicholas Chevalier with his view of the Ovens Valley Buffalo Ranges – but not without some misgivings by Barry. In a note to Augustus Tulk he reveals just how hands-on he was prepared to be in these matters: ‘The Fine Arts Commissioners selected a landscape by Chevalier, a bold mountain scene on the edge of Gippsland in the Buffalo Ranges. It was the best of a very poor lot indeed and is itself capable of much improvement, which he has undertaken to make. Von Guerard did not compete’.22 Barry's standards were high, and when he received a letter from the Irish-born Munich resident artist George Folingsby inquiring about the possibilities of work in Melbourne, he replied with enthusiasm. Folingsby's Bunyan in Prison was one of Eastlake's purchases, and Barry added to this by directing the trustees to purchase another historical work by Folingsby Anne Boleyn's first meeting with Henry VIII. Further support was offered on Folingsby's arrival when Barry commissioned him to paint his portrait as Chancellor
of the University of Melbourne. His patronage was to prove crucial for the development of a school of national history painting in Victoria when, after Barry's death, Folingsby went on to succeed von Guerard as master of the School of Painting. There he went on to teach his Munich methods to a new generation of artists who were to make a name for themselves as makers of national images - Tom Roberts, Fred McCubbin, John Longstaff and Arthur Streeton.
Barry particularly appreciated sculpture. His love of classical marbles has been discussed but he also admired the modern neo-classical school headed by Antonio Canova and Bertil Thorvaldsen. His famous house ‘Carlton Gardens’ in Rathdowne Street (since demolished) had plaster replicas of Thorvaldsen's relief tondos ‘Day’ and ‘Night’ installed in the flagged hallway. In Melbourne he took an interest in the career of Charles Summers whom Summers first came across when he was called in to restore the first shipment of casts, grievously damaged on the voyage out. It seems likely that it was Barry, in his role as Commissioner for the 1866 Intercolonial Exhibition of 1866 who commissioned Summers to make casts from the life of 16 heads of aboriginal people living at Coranderrk Station near Healesville. At the same time he commissioned photographer Charles Walter to take 106 photographs of‘aboriginal natives’ at the settlement, which were then mounted to form a montage, subsequently presented by the Commissioners to the Library where it remains in the Picture Collection.
Summers's casts were planned for the Intercolonial Exhibition of 1866–7 but, mysteriously, they were not exhibited. Officially this was because Summers was a judge in the sculpture section but the more likely reason was the unease their undoubtedly powerful presence aroused in a community which had not come to terms with the displacement of the indigenous inhabitants. Barry's sympathy with the Aborigines dated back to the 1840s when he had acted as Standing Counsel for them before the Melbourne Court. He also compiled a dictionary of Aboriginal dialects for the 1866 Exhibition. He thought so highly of Summers's busts that he subsequently arranged for them to be gifted to the Museum in 1867 as a gift from the Commissioners.

Charles Summers 91825–1878). Bust of an Aboriginal Youth from Coranderrk, Victoria. Collection of Ann Galbally.

The piece-mould method Summers used for the casts enabled him to replicate the heads at will and when he left the colony in 1867 Barry – as well as organising £200 from Treasurer Verdon to be made available to Summers for the ‘purchase of works of sculpture’,23 suggested he offer sets for sale or barter to the British Museum, the Royal Society, the College of Surgeons, the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Dublin – but no one was interested. Sets were presented to the British Museum in 1869, to the Vienna Exhibition in 1872 and to the Jardin des Plantes in Paris; however, no trace of them exist today apart from the original set still held by the Museum of Victoria.24
So it can be seen from his intense involvement and care with book selection at the Public Library, his lobbying and implementation of a University for the new settlement, his importation of casts after classical statuary, his encouragement of a new picture gallery (even to the extent of instructing a local artist on the interpretation of Victoria's scenery) and his involvement with the commemoration of the indigenous peoples of Victoria – Redmond Barry as a patron of the arts in Victoria had no peer. His efforts were crucial in transferring and developing a complex European cultural heritage to the antipodes.

Batchelder & Co., photographers. [Charles] Summers [ca. 1863-ca. 1872] Albumen silver carte-de-visite photograph. H9517. La Trobe Picture Collection.



Charles Joseph La Trobe to John Murray, publisher, London. Re-printed in Victorian Historical Magazine, vol. 3, 1913–14 and in Alan Gross Charles Joseph La Trobe, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne (1956) 1980, p. 19. The full text of the letter is printed in The La Trobe Journal, no. 71, pp. 130–33.


Full details of Barry's education in Ireland and England can be found in Ann Galbally, Redmond Barry. An Anglo-Irish Australian, Melbourne, Melbourne University Press, 1995, ch.2.


Rev. C. B. Gibson, The History of the County and City of Cork, 2 vols, London, Thomas Newby, 1861, vol. 2, p.317.


See the discussion of‘Portraiture and the Country House’ by Oliver Millar in The Treasure Houses of Britain, Exhibition Catalogue, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985, pp.30–31.


Athenaeum, 10 June, 1854, pp.716–718.


See Gerard Vaughan ‘James Hugh Smith Barry as a collector of antiquities’, Apollo, cxxvi, July 1987, pp.4–11


MS 8380. Barry's Day Book, Box 602/1, La Trobe Manuscripts Collection, State Library of Victoria.


John Grote, ‘Studies Old and New’ in Cambridge Essays: 1856, London, John W. Parker and Son, 1856, p.114.


Address of the Trustees of the Melbourne Public Library. Presented to the Governor-in-Chief Sir Henry Barkly K.C.B. on the occasion of the opening of the Queen's Reading Room on the 24 May 1859', Melbourne, 1859, p.1.


Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny, Taste and the Antique. The Lure of Classical Sculpture 1500–1900, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1982.


5846. Museum of Art Accounts 1860–62. Victorian Public Records Office (VPRO).


For a full account of this acquisition and its subsequent history, see Ann Galbally, The Lost Museum; Redmond Barry and Melbourne's ‘Musée des Copies’, Australian Journal of Art, vol. VII, 1988, pp 29–50.


In Paris at about the same time, Felix Ravaisson felt that the single most innovative aspect of his exhibition of casts after Greek statuary, staged in Paris in 1860, was the display of de-restored material, a practice then relatively uncommon. See Meredith Shepp, ‘Phidias in Paris: Felix Ravaisson’s Musée Grec at the Palais de l‘Industrie in 1860’, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, tome cv, avril 1985, pp. 155–170.


See Shepp, ‘Phidias in Paris’.


Box 5831; Miscellaneous letters, 1861. Thomas Clark to the Hon. E.S Verdon, Treasurer of Victoria. Milton Street. St. Kilda, 20th August 1861. VPRO.


Argus, 7 January 1865, p.5.


See Catalogue of the Casts of Statues, Busts and Bas –reliefs in the Museum of Art at the Public Library, Melbourne. John Ferres, Government printer, Melbourne [1867];Crystal Palace Guides. The Fine Arts Courts in the Crystal Palace. Vol 1. The North-West side – The Egyptian Court The Greek Court, the Roman Court, the Alhambra Court; the Ninevah Court, by Owen Jones architect and Joseph Boromi, sculptor, Crystal Palace Library, London, 1854; Vol 11. N.E side – the Byzantine Court; the Medieval Court; the Renaissance Court; the Italian Court; a catalogue of modern scupture. Crystal Palace Library, London, 1854; A Handbook to the Courts of Modern Scupture by Mrs Jamieson, The Crystal Palace Library, 1854.


Jonathon Richardson, ‘Essay on the Art of Criticism’ Works, London, 1773, p.226; quoted in note 10, Gervase Jackson Stopes, ‘Temples of the Arts’, The Treasure Houses of Britain. Exhibition Catalogue, Washington National Gallery, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1985.


MS 8380 Box 597/1(c)‘Rome’, FN Barry Papers, La Trobe Manuscripts Collection, State Library of Victoria.


VPRS 3991, Box 408, 26 December, 1869. VPRO.


Age, 24 November, 1844, p.5.


VPRS 4366/2 1860–66 Redmond Barry to Augustus Tulk, 20 February 1865. VPRO.


VPRS4366/2 1860–66, No 68, Redmond Barry to George Verdon, 10th November, 1868. VPRO.


Galbally, Redmond Barry, pp. 149–156. For a full discussion of Summers and the Aborigines, see Christine Downer, ‘Charles Summers and the Australian Aborigines’, Art and Australia, vol. 25, no.2, 1987, pp.206–10.