Order Book


The Life and Works of William Parry A.R.A (1743-1791)

by Miles Wynn Cato. Published by the author, March 2008.

Parry Book Cover

A great Welsh artist revealed......

William Parry was a son of John Parry - the greatest Welsh harpist of the 18th century. He trained as a portrait painter under Joshua Reynolds before returning to his native north Wales in the late 1760s. After a productive period painting portraits for various Welsh gentry families he travelled to Italy where he spent five years studying and copying paintings by Raphael and Correggio for his chief patron Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, 4th baronet of Wynnstay. Following his return to Britain in 1775, Parry divided his life between London, where he was a regular exhibitor at the newly-formed Royal Academy, and Wales, where, uniquely among Welsh painters of the period, he had established a healthy practice. Many of Parry´s Welsh clients were members of ‘The Cycle of the White Rose’ the Jacobite society founded by the Williams Wynns in 1710.

William Parry was a familiar figure in the artistic community of late 18th century London. Most crucially, he was also well known to many of the major gentry families of north Wales, especially those with connections to the Williams Wynns. Yet his reputation fell into obscurity after his death and he has never before been the subject of in-depth academic study. Parry´s output as an artist appears to have been relatively small. Many of his paintings and drawings have been lost and the majority of those that have survived have been attributed to other important British artists of the period such as Wheatley, Opie and Wilson. A number of his most important surviving works have been re-identified in the course of researching this book and are published for the first time.

Book inner view

Book Specifications & Contents

Hardback, approx. 9 1/2 x 7 inches.

214 pages

60 illustrations (41 in colour) -
many previously unseen.

Part 1

The Life & Works of William Parry.

Part 2

Catalogue Raisonne of Works by William Parry.

Printed in Wales by
Cambrian Printers, Aberystywth

Drawing on a wealth of primary material, the first part of the book traces the course of William Parry´s life starting with the Williams Wynns´ patronage of his father, the blind harpist John Parry. It traces the course of William Parry´s training in London before examining all that is known of his activities in Wales, in Italy and in connection with his numerous submissions to the Royal Academy. The narrative section of the book concludes with an analysis of the fate of Parry´s paintings in the two centuries following his death and highlights the failure of earlier Welsh art historians to recognise his importance.

Preview Image Preview Image Preview Image

The second part of the book is composed of an exhaustive Catalogue Raisonne of all the known paintings and drawings by William Parry — the first time such a catalogue has been published. It contains new and detailed information on many individual works.

Miles Wynn Cato read history at Cambridge and is the author of two other Welsh history books — Old Blood of Merioneth and A Perfect Patriarch. For details of these publications please click here.

Miles Wynn Cato, 137 Corve St, Ludlow SY8 2PG. Telephone: 01584 874097  Mobile: 07766 460127.