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George Barret
before 1763
oil on canvas
Canvas: 54 1/4 × 76 5/8 inches (137.8 × 194.6 cm)Framed: 63 3/4 × 85 5/8 × 3 inches (161.9 × 217.5 × 7.6 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of John W. Rollins, Jr.
Accession Number
The son of an Irish tailor, George Barret moved to London in 1762 and became a founding member of the Royal Academy. Barret would quickly become one of the most prominent landscape painters of his generation, specializing in picturesque views of the properties of British noblemen.

One of Barret’s earliest patrons was Lord Powerscourt, owner of a famous Irish country estate. Powerscourt encompassed wild stretches of the Dargle River and the highest waterfall in Ireland, making it a prime location for experiencing the sublime in nature. The Telfair’s painting is a wide panoramic view of the estate, focusing on the landscape rather than the manor, which is barely discernible in a sunny clearing in the distance. The Dargle River rushes and gurgles through the center of the composition, and the surrounding topography ranges from distant mountains to dense forest to craggy promontories overlooking the river. The figures are dwarfed by the vastness of the surrounding vista, and their presence establishes a dramatic sense of scale.