Portrait of Richard Owen of Ynysymaengwyn

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Portrait of Richard Owen of Ynysymaengwyn
Portrait of Richard Owen of Ynysymaengwyn
Portrait of Richard Owen of Ynysymaengwyn
National Museum Wales, Cardiff
title=Credit line
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Portrait of Richard Owen of Ynysymaengwyn
c.1748-50 (undated)
Oil on canvas
Metric: 76.8 x 63.5 cm
Imperial: 30 x 25 in.
Accession Number
NMW A 5005
Wilson Online Reference
The sitter is shown bust-length almost full face, with ribboned hair in a fictive stonework oval frame. He wears a gold-frogged dark blue coat and a white satin waistcoat with white stock and black ribbon. Although his dress has something of a naval appearance, it is not a uniform and there is no recorded explanation of why he should have worn one.
Welsh Arts Council 1969; Conwy 2009 (1)
Richard Owen of Ynysymaengwyn; by descent through the Corbet family of Ynysymaengwyn; 1951 given to the National Museum of Wales by the executors of Miss E.H. Corbett, of Church Stretton and Ynysymaengwyn
Unsigned; undated; no inscription
Techniques and materials
The flesh tones are painted over a partially exposed grey ground and the costume details handled lightly, as was usual for Wilson. Trees are dimly discernible through the fictive oval frame to the right.
Verso inscriptions
No inscription was revealed beneath the lining by Infra-red imaging
Richard Owen (c.1714-1760) was the son of Athelstan and Anne Owen of Ynysymaengwyn, Tywyn, Merioneth and brother of Anne Owen, whose portrait Wilson had already painted (P226). High Sheriff of Merioneth in 1756-57, he was a member of the circle of Welsh patrons who helped to sustain Wilson's early career as a portrait painter from the mid-1730s until his departure for Italy in 1750. Richard Owen died without issue and the family estates passed to his sister Anne who had married Pryce Maurice of Lloran Uchaf, Llanrhaedr-ym-Mochnant, Denbighshire in 1740.
Related Paintings
P226 Portrait of Anne Owen, Miles Wynn Cato Gallery, Ludlow
Previous Cat/Ref Nos
WGC, pp. 152-5, pl. 4a; J. Steegman, Burlington Magazine, vol. 94, no. 592, July 1952, pp. 206-8; Lord 2009, p. 48, no.1
Link to WG Constable Archive Record
More Information
The Ynysymaengwyn estate is located near Tywyn in Merioneth. It was settled on Richard, a second son, in 1750 by his mother Anne Corbet (d.1760) who had married Athelstan Owen (1676-1731) of Rhiwsaeson, Llanbryn-mair. Corbet Owen, the eldest son, died without issue in 1750, following which the Rhiwsaeson estate was sold. Richard Owen also died childless so the estate passed to his sister, Anne (d.1767), who had married Pryce Maurice in 1740. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Corbet/Owen family of Ynysymaengwyn played a leading role in the Tywyn area as patrons of Welsh culture.
Lined. IR image shows that the sitter originally held a hat under his left arm. According to Steegman, the picture was overcleaned about 1800 and cleaned again and lined about 1900. It was also partially cleaned and retouched on acquisition by the National Museum of Wales in 1951.
Kate Lowry has noted: Original canvas, simple weave linen with about 16 threads per sq cm. Original turnovers removed at time of lining. Glue relined. Pine stretcher probably dates from lining. Pale grey oil ground. Flesh tones underpainted with a darker grey and the background with a thin brown tone. Widespread mature cracks. Paint appears to be abraded towards the top edge revealing the pale ground tone on canvas weave tops. Both shoulders have pentimenti where position of outline has been changed by artist. Paint in face is slightly worn. Large old damage filled and retouched in sitter’s forehead at right.