SOCIETY FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF THE ARTS, John Street, Adelphi, was first founded in 1754, and established in its present home in 1774, and incorporated by royal charter 1847. Most of the literary and scientific societies in the provinces are affiliated with this society, which has, of late years, displayed great vigour and industry in carrying out its peculiar objects, and has largely contributed to the success of the International Exhibitions of 1851 and 1862. It bestows a considerable sum annually in prizes, and assists mechanics' institutions with loans of models, fine-art subjects, &c. Its chief apartment is decorated with six large and admirable paintings, by James Barry, painted in 1777-83, representing the infancy and growth of civilisation. The society consists of about 2500 members.
Cruchley's London in 1865 : A Handbook for Strangers, 1865