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Barret, George (d.1842) (DNB00)

BARRET, GEORGE the younger (d. 1842), landscape painter, was son of George Barret, the landscape painter, who died in 1784 [q. v.] Nothing is known of the history of this admirable artist till 1795. From this year till 1803 he appears as a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy. In 1805 he became one of the first members of the Society of Painters in Watercolours, and for thirty-eight years he did not miss one of their exhibitions, occasionally also sending a drawing or an oil picture to the Academy. He excelled especially in painting light, and all his scenes, whether sunrise, sunset, or moonlight, are remarkable for their fine rendering of atmosphere, their diffusion and gradation of light, and their poetic feeling. In these respects he rivalled Turner. His later works are generally ‘compositions’ of the ‘classical’ school, but the pure and lucid quality of his radiant skies and sunlit distances, and the rich transparent harmony of his shady foregrounds, are his own, and preserve, in the midst of much conventionality, the distinction of an original genius. In spite of industry, merit, and frugal habits, he earned only enough to meet daily wants. When he died, in 1842, after a long illness aggravated by grief at the loss of his son, a subscription was opened for his family. His works are now eagerly sought for, and fetch high prices. He published, in 1840, ‘The Theory and Practice of Watercolour Painting, elucidated in a series of letters.’ There is a fine collection of his drawings in the South Kensington Museum.

[Redgraves' Century of Painters; Redgrave's Dictionary; Cat. of Nat. Gall. at South Kensington.]

C. M.