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drawing

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1870,0514.1215

  • Description

    Portrait of Miss Croney of Killarney; three-quarter length standing beside table to left, wearing grey shawl and bonnet, looking to front, head tilted to right Pen and grey ink with grey and brown wash and watercolour over graphite

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1770 (date of Pars's only visit to Ireland)
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 368 millimetres
    • Width: 260 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    In the department register the sitter's name is given as 'Cronen'.

    The following text is from S. Lloyd and K. Sloan, 'The Intimate Portrait' (exh. SNPG & BM, 2008-9), cat. no. 111:

    William Shipley ran a successful Drawing School in the Strand in the 1750s where the students were awarded premiums by the Society of Arts which Shipley had founded in 1753 for the encouragement of arts, manufactures and commerce. William Pars' elder brother Henry assisted Shipley in his school and when Shipley retired around 1760, Henry Pars took over and William became his assistant. Cosway, Mortimer, Humphry and Smart were all pupils of the school at the time. From 1761 he exhibited ten portraits (one in watercolour), two miniatures and one history painting at the Society of Artists and the Free Society. He was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1770 where he exhibited landscapes and portraits from 1769-76. Today he is known almost exclusively as a landscape painter and surviving firmly attributed portraits by him are very rare, yet it was as a portrait painter and copyist of paintings that he mainly made his living.

    From 1764-6 he was employed by the Society of Dilettanti as draughtsman on Chandler and Revett's expedition to Asia Minor and Greece. His beautiful watercolours, heavily accented with bodycolour in the lively figures, recorded the ruins and antiquities in their landscape settings and were exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1769. The following year he accompanied Henry Temple, 2nd Viscount Palmerston to Switzerland and the Tyrol, recording the Alpine landscape in a series of watercolours which were the first record of this type of mountainous scenery to be seen in England when they were exhibited in 1771.

    Palmerston invited Pars to accompany him to Ireland and the Lake District in 1771. Palmerston's income was from his Irish estates in Sligo and Dublin and they visited the best-known picturesque sites along the way, travelling to Lough Key, Adare, Killarney, Lismore, Powerscourt and Leixlip. A number of the landscapes from this trip are now in the V&A and Tate Britain. It must have been on this occasion that he drew this portrait of Miss Croney of Killarney whose title indicates she was the eldest daughter of landed gentry. It is delicately and beautifully drawn; not a bold but a quiet portrait of a young woman wearing morning déshabillée - a silk short-hooded cloak with long front ends called a pelerine and a turban cap. This informal wear is typically found in smaller oil portraits and pastels; Pars attempts to compete with them in watercolour almost on their scale, something unique in British art at this time and not attempted again until Downman's larger portraits of a decade or two later.

    One of the reasons Pars left England and accepted a small pension in Rome from the Dilettanti Society in 1775 was because he had taken up with the wife of Samuel Smart. In Italy, after her death of consumption in 1778, his friend Thomas Jones recorded many amorous dalliances to which his work took second place. He made copies of paintings for Palmerston (Broadlands) and for the Earl Bishop of Derry, but of his other portraits we know very little. In 1772 he painted the figures in William Hodges's view of the Interior of the Pantheon. In Rome he painted a full-length of John Coxe-Hippisley and other 'very good portraits'. No other portrait drawings than the present one seem to have survived. In 1782 he imprudently sat with his feet in water to sketch the Grotto of Neptune at Tivoli and died shortly afterwards of pleurisy.
    KS

    SELECTED LITERATURE: LB 35; D.G.C. Allan, ‘William Shipley’, London 1968, pp. 86-7, 212-7; J. Ingamells, ‘Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy 1701-1800’, 1997; A. Wilton, ' William Pars', Oxford DNB; A. Crookshank and the Knight of Glin, ‘Watercolours of Ireland’, London 1994, p. 83

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Binyon 1898-1907 35 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British Imp PIIIb)

  • Exhibition history

    2008/9 Oct-Jan, Edinburgh, SNPG, 'The Intimate Portrait', no. 111
    2009 Mar-May, London, BM, Room 90, 'The Intimate Portrait', no. 111

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1870

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number

    1870,0514.1215

Portrait of Miss Croney of Killarney; three-quarter length standing beside table to left, wearing grey shawl and bonnet, looking to front, head tilted to right Pen and grey ink with grey and brown wash and watercolour over graphite

Portrait of Miss Croney of Killarney; three-quarter length standing beside table to left, wearing grey shawl and bonnet, looking to front, head tilted to right Pen and grey ink with grey and brown wash and watercolour over graphite

Image description

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