Primary Resources

This resource gallery has been developed to be used for pre visit preparatory work and for post visit reference. You will find a range of primary documents and material here that links to the themes in each unit. By clicking on any image below you can access background information on the source and also find out where it came from and where it is currently held.

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Detail of the drawing room ceiling


The lyre and the laurel are associated with the Greek god Apollo who in turn is associated with the Muses. The Muses were the goddesses of creative inspiration in poetry, song and other arts. They lived at the top of Mount Parnassus where a grove of laurel was said to grow. When laurel is used in a portrait or family insignia such as a crest, it symbolises that the sitter or family are literary or artistic. The Lyre – in its association with Apollo is also reference to enlightenment. The Enlightenment was a philosophical movement in the 18th century that was characterised by the belief in the power of human reason. Apollo was the sun god and driver away of ignorance; he represented the rational and civilized side of man's nature and in its use here the lyre exemplifies how the Smith Barrys wanted to appear cultured and intellectual – or enlightened.

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