Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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PARKER , JOHN ( 1798 - 1860 ), cleric and artist ;

b. 3 Oct. 1798 , second son of Thomas Netherton Parker , of Sweeney Hall , Oswestry , by his wife, Sarah Browne (heiress to her uncle, Edward Browne , Sweeney Hall ). Educated at Eton and Oriel College , Oxford ( B.A. 1820 , M.A. 1825 ), he became curate of Moreton Chapel , near Oswestry , for a short while before he became rector of Llanmerewig, Mont. , and, from 1844 , vicar of Llanyblodwel , Salop .

John Parker had considerable alterations and restoration work carried out to his own designs and largely at his own expense to the churches at Llanmerewig and Llanyblodwel . To the former he added a tower and a porch, and to Llanyblodwel a tower; he also built a school and a schoolmaster's house in Llanyblodwel . He d. 31 Aug. 1860 , and was buried in Llanyblodwel churchyard. He had succeeded to the Sweeney Hall estate in 1854 on the death of his father (who was a designer of houses and a writer of books ), but as he himself died unmarried, the estate passed to his sister, Mary Parker , lady Leighton (see below).

Parker will be remembered as a remarkably prolific amateur artist , chiefly in water-colour. His principal interests appear to have been scenic effects and Gothic architecture. He visited the Snowdon district ten years in succession; he made drawings of all the rood screens in Welsh churches and of all the chief types of fonts . Over a thousand drawings by him are kept in the National Library of Wales . Besides the Welsh , English , and Irish views and sketches, there are drawings of details from churches in Europe ; he was also a competent flower painter . He had published, in 1831 , The Passengers: containing the Celtic Annals .



His sister, MARY PARKER ( 1799 - 1864 ), who became lady Leighton in 1832 on her marriage to Sir Baldwin Leighton , 7th baronet , of Loton , Salop , was also a very competent amateur artist . Several examples of her work are preserved in the National Library . The story of how she succeeded in making the well-known sketch of the two ‘ Ladies of Llangollen ,’ seated at a table in Plasnewydd , Llangollen , is told in N.L.W. Journal , v, 207-8; this sketch was afterwards lithographed (it is to be distinguished from the spurious pirated lithograph by J. H. Lynch , which shows the ‘Ladies’ out-of-doors in riding-habit.)

Sources:

  • The National Library of Wales Journal , ii, 87-8, iv, 90-1, v, 69, 207-8;
  • N.L.W. exhibition catalogues of water-colour and other drawings by John Parker ;
  • Archaeologia Cambrensis , III, ii, vi, vii, xi, IV, ix.

Author:

Sir William Llewelyn Davies, M.A., LL.D., F.S.A. (1887-1952), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959