Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portraits of Mr and Mrs Thomas Puleston of Emral Hall 1760c.

William Parry 

Portraits of Mr and Mrs Thomas Puleston of Emral Hall, William Parry
Oil on copper
18th Century
5 x 4 inches each 12.7 x 10.1 cm
The Pulestons of Emral and Pickhill were one of the great families of North Wales and William Parry is arguably the country's most important pre-20th century native portrait painter.Thus these portraits are highly distinguished both in subject and authorship and their rediscovery represents an important addition to Parry''s slender oeuvre.

Thomas Puleston was the son of John Puleston of Pickhill (b,17I6) who had inherited the Emral estate from his kinsman Thomas Puleston (d.1734). The male line came to an end when both Thomas and his brother John died without issue, the former in 1768 and the latter in 1775 and the family estates then passed to their sister Ann who married Richard Parry Price of Bryn-y-pys and Gwernhculod (1737-1782). William Parry was apprenticed to Sir Joshua Reynolds in the period 1766-1768 and began exhibiting portraits at the Society of Artists at that time, most being on a small scale. He was also working occasionally in h native country where his close connections with Sir Watkin Williams Wynn brought him valuable commissions from members of the Jacobite Cycle Club, prominent amongst whom were numerous members of the Puleston family.

These portraits of Mr and Mrs Thomas Puleston are exceptional examples of Parry*s work demonstrating the technical finesse he had learnt from the '' greatest English portrait painter of the age" and which is exemplified on this concentrated scale, They have survived in excellent condition with fresh colouring and must rank amongst the most accomplished of Parry''s rare oil portraits, comparable only with the beautiful small full-length of Watkin Edward Wynne (1755-1796), of 1770, in the National Museum of Wales, It i, worthy of note that Parry returned to Thomas Puleston's simple pose with great effect for the series of pastel portraits of members of the Cycle of the 1770s ( (Private Collection, N.Wales) and a useful stylistic comparison can be made between his monochrome drawing of Eleanor Wynne of Lfwyn, of 1770, the present portrait of the young Mrs Thomas Puleston.
Philip Mould Ltd, 18-19 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU.Copyright Philip Mould Ltd.