The George Barrell journal is a bound account entitled "Journal of a Voyage from Boston to Malaga in the Brig Venus and Return in the Schooner Louisiana by George Barrell." Along with Barrell's prose descriptions of life at sea and detailed depictions of Gibraltar and Malaga, the author drew 32 colored illustrations, primarily of landscapes and people he encountered on his journey. The account, which commenced on July 13, 1806, first chronicled the travels of the Venus to Gibraltar, Spain, via the Azores. Barrell made daily notations about the weather and often mentioned interesting occurrences; Spanish privateers, whom he detested, boarded the ship on several occasions, though the Venus also encountered friendlier British ships. By mid-August, they had arrived at Gibraltar, which Barrell described in detail on several pages, recording observations about the city and its people, including the weather, the Jewish population, local British officers, and local buildings. Following a quarantine period at Gibraltar, the Venus sailed to Malaga, about which Barrell also noted his observations. On September 28, 1806, he left on the Louisiana for New York City, but rough seas lengthened their journey to several months.
The journal also contains 32 color illustrations created by Barrell during the course of his travels. He often drew ships, landscapes, and various military officers seen along the Spanish shore.