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James Barry (1741-1806)

The Conversion of Polemon first published 4 April 1778 (this state c.1790)

Engraving, etching and aquatint | 69.0 x 97.2 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 813697

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The Conversion of Polemon was produced by Barry in 1778 in support of the Whig politician Charles James Fox, whom Barry identified with Polemon, an Athenian youth who abandoned his hedonistic ways to become a philosopher on hearing the discourse of Zenocrates (the standing figure, associated by Barry with Edmund Burke). This impression dates from a later reworking of the plate by Barry; it was in the collection of George III, perhaps a surprising acquisition for a king whose collecting of contemporary prints generally demonstrates more of a sympathy for Tory politics.