An 18th C. Portrait of William Parsons As The Village Lawyer Possibly By Zoffany
An 18th C. Portrait of William Parsons As The Village Lawyer Possibly By Zoffany
An 18th C. Portrait of William Parsons As The Village Lawyer Possibly By Zoffany
An 18th C. Portrait of William Parsons As The Village Lawyer Possibly By Zoffany
An 18th C. Portrait of William Parsons As The Village Lawyer Possibly By Zoffany

An 18th C. Portrait of William Parsons As The Village Lawyer Possibly By Zoffany

1780 England

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An 18th century oval portrait of the famous actor William Parsons as Sheepface in the Village Lawyer. In an original gilt oval frame bearing the inscription: William Parsons in the Village Lawyer - Johann Zoffany 1735 1810

William Parsons (1736–1795), actor was born on 9 Feb. 1736. His début as a professional actor is said to have been made in York. He married, in Edinburgh, Mrs. Price, an actress, who, on 29 May 1762, as Mrs. Parsons, played Lucy in the ‘Beggar's Opera,’ Parsons presumably playing Filch. In that part he made, on 21 Sept. 1762, his first appearance at Drury Lane, Mrs. Parsons playing Mrs. Peachum, they were engagemed by Garrick and in 1772 once more, at Drury Lane, he was Whittle in Garrick's ‘Irish Widow’.
Parsons was a modest and an estimable man who had a very important career and his great parts included Sir Hugh Evans, Moneytrap, Foresight, Sir Solomon Sadlife, Crabtree, Major Benbow, D'Oyley, Sir Fretful Plagiary, Alscrip, Don Manuel, and Obadiah in the ‘Committee.’ He himself declared Corbaccio to be his best part. The ‘Theatrical Biography’ (1772) praises very highly his Foresight, and says of his old men that he by a happy attention to minutiæ shows a finished picture of dotage, avarice, or any other infirmity he may represent. ‘The tottering knee, the sudden stare, the plodding look, nay, the taking out the handkerchief, all proclaim him a finished actor in this walk.’
The Mathews collection of portraits in the Garrick Club has pictures of Parsons as Foresight by De Wilde; as Old Man in ‘Lethe’ and as Sheepface in the ‘Village Lawyer,’ with Bannister as Scout, and as Dumps in the ‘Natural Son,’ by Zoffany; by Vandergucht as Obadiah in the ‘Committee,’ with Moody as Teague. The club also possesses a portrait of the actor in private dress. To these Smith's ‘Catalogue’ adds a portrait by De Wilde; a picture, by J. Mortimer, of Parsons as Varland in the ‘West Indian,’ with Moody as Major O'Flaherty; one by Zoffany with Garrick and others in the ‘Provoked Wife;’ one by Robert Laurie; another as Sheepface in the ‘Village Lawyer,’ with Bannister, jun., as Scout, by De Wilde, engraved by J. R. Smith; and another as Old Man in ‘Lethe,’ with Bransby and Watkins, by Zoffany. A portrait by Hayter, engraved by J. Wright in 1792, is mentioned by Evans. An engraved portrait, by Harding, accompanies a memoir in the ‘European Magazine;’ a head, engraved by Ridley, appears in the ‘Thespian Dictionary;’ a portrait, by De Wilde, engraved by Ridley, accompanies Bellamy's ‘Life.’
Dimensions
Height 14.00 inch (35.56 cm)
Width 12.00 inch (30.48 cm)
Depth 1.00 inch (2.54 cm)
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