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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0005-0012-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1783-11-07

Friday Novr. 7th.

In the forenoon I went with M: W. Vaughan; and saw the Pantheon;1 a place of public entertainment; it is only remarkable for { 201 } one Room which is very large and elegant. We went also to see the Cathedral of St Paul's; the largest Protestant Church, extant. It is very magnificent on the outside; but the inside is by no means extraordinary; there is one thing which they say is to be met with no where else. It is a gallery which is about 100 yards in circumference. If a Person whispers in it: what he says is as distinctly heared on the opposite side as if the person was near. It is called the whispering gallery: we went up to the top of the Church, from which we had a very fine view of the City. From thence went to the academy of arts in the Adelphi; to see a Series of Paintings, by a Mr. Barry; representing the Progress of Society, in six different Pictures.2
Dined at Mr. Copley's.
1. Originally a theater and public promenade, the Pantheon on Oxford Street was redesigned by James Wyatt and reopened in 1772; the renovated building was noted chiefly for its promenade in the rotunda (Wheatley, London Past and Present ).
2. JQA has confused the Royal Academy of Arts, whose exhibition room was in the New Somerset House, up the Strand from the Adelphi Buildings, with the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, which was located at the Adelphi. James Barry's major work, the Progress of Society, which portrayed in six pictures illustrating the cultivation of “human faculties” in the civilization of mankind, was exhibited in the Great Room of the Society of Arts (Walter Harrison, A New and Universal History Description and Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster, The Borough of Southwark and Their Adjacent Parts . . ., London, 1775, p. 525; Wheatley, London Past and Present , 3:272; The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole's Correspondence, ed. W. S. Lewis and others, New Haven, 1937– ,29:33; Ralph N. Wornum, ed., Lectures on Painting by the Royal Academicians, Barry, Opie and Fusel, London, 1848, p. 42–43).