[Autograph Letter Signed by George Barker, Jr., British Artist and Picture Restorer who once proposed Marriage to Writer George Eliot].
Letter of introduction by artist George Barker, Jr. (1818–1883) who trained under his father, George Sr., as a picture restorer. George Jr. restored paintings for important private collections and for the National Portrait Gallery and earned the praise of painter Charles Lock Eastlake. “Intriguingly, Barker can most likely be identified as the ‘desperately smitten’ young artist who proposed marriage to the writer Mary Ann Evans, later known as George Eliot, when staying at Baginton, near Coventry, in spring 1845: ‘We liked his letters to her very much – simple, earnest, unstudied’, one of her Coventry friends wrote, adding, ‘the only objections seemed to be that his profession – a picture-restorer – is not lucrative or over-honourable’”¹
Barker’s letter, addressed to a Mr. Scott of Cobham Hall, introduces a Mr. Reid “who holds a high position in the British Museum,” almost certainly George William Reid (1819–1887), Keeper of the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum from 1866 to 1883.
Description: [Autograph Letter Signed by George Barker, Jr., British Artist and Picture Restorer who once proposed Marriage to Writer George Eliot].
[39 Wellington Road, St. John’s Wood, London, October 10, 1870]. p. A.L.S. Sm. 8vo. Folds; very good.
Note. 1. British picture restorers, 1600-1950 - B - National Portrait Gallery accessed online, citing Gordon S. Haight (ed.), The George Eliot Letters, Vol.1, 1954, pp.183-4.