Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Parry, William (1742?-1791)

945447Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 43 — Parry, William (1742?-1791)1895Freeman Marius O'Donoghue

PARRY, WILLIAM (1742?–1791), portrait-painter, son of John Parry (d. 1782) [q. v.], the blind harpist, was born about 1742. He studied in Shipley's school and the Duke of Richmond's gallery, and gained several Society of Arts premiums for drawing from the antique and the life. Later he joined the St. Martin's Lane Academy, and became a pupil of Sir Joshua Reynolds; at that time he was a member of the Incorporated Society of Artists, and contributed to its exhibitions in 1766 and the two following years. On leaving Reynolds, Parry, having become a protégé of Sir Watkin W. Wynne, went to practise near Wynnstay, and in 1770 was provided by his patron with the means to visit Italy; he studied for some years in Rome, where he made a copy of Raphael's ‘Transfiguration’ for Sir Watkin, and returned in 1775. He then settled for a time in London, and in 1776 was elected an associate of the Royal Academy; from that year to 1779 he was an exhibitor at the Academy, chiefly of small whole-length portraits, including one of his blind father playing draughts; but, meeting with little success, he again retired to Wales. In 1779 Parry lost his wife, a daughter of Henry Keene, the architect, and, according to Edwards, soon after departed for Rome, and remained there until the end of his life; but there must be some inaccuracy in this statement, as in 1787 and 1788 he was again an exhibitor at the Royal Academy, his address being in the Haymarket, London. His last few years, however, were certainly passed in Rome, where he obtained some employment, until the state of his health compelled him to return to England; he died immediately after his arrival, on 13 Feb. 1791. Parry etched a small profile portrait of his father as an admission ticket for his benefit concert.

[Edwards's Anecdotes of Painting; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Williams's Eminent Welshmen.]

F. M. O'D.