James Barry

Self-Portrait, Three Quarters to Left

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
James Barry 1741–1806
Graphite and ink on paper
Support: 180 × 127 mm
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

Display caption

Although this work is only attributed to Barry, it shows the closely-spaced nervous parallel lines and the use of stipple (the dots used to model the face) characteristic of his later drawing style. The ink has been identified as iron-gall because the dark, opaque areas are showing signs of corrosion. The ink has also absorbed UV light very strongly, another factor suggesting iron-gall ink. In order to slow down the corrosion, this work must be stored and exhibited in a carefully controlled environment.

Gallery label, August 2004

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