Lot 36 GEORGE MULLINS (1740 - 1775)
Portrait of a Welsh Beggar Man
Signed oil on canvas laid on wood
Signed and Dated 1773
Exhibited: Royal Academy, London 1773, No. 367, titled Portrait of a beggar in Wales.
George Mullins (1740 â€“ 1775)
George Mullins studied at the Dublin Societyâ€™s Drawing School where he was a pupil of James Manning. Initially, he painted trays and
snuffbox lids at Thomas Wyseâ€™s Japan and Birmingham ware workshop in Waterford City where he also painted a portrait of the Wyse
family. On his return to Dublin he married the owner of the Horseshoe and Magpie, a Temple Bar alehouse frequented by theatrical
performers. Horace Walpole, the English art connoisseur, noted that Mullinâ€™s wife was the sister of the Irish portrait painter Hugh
Douglas Hamilton (1739â€“1808). Throughout the period 1765-69 Mullins exhibited with the Society of Artists. The Dublin Society
awarded him a premium in 1763 for â€˜best original landscape painted in oilâ€™ and again in 1768 for a history piece. The Earl of
Charlemont, his earliest and most important patron, commissioned a set of four large classical landscapes for his house at Marino,
Dublin. Representing the four times of day they now hang at Ãras an UachtarÃ¡in, the official residence of the President of Ireland. In
1770, Mullins moved to London where he exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1770 until his presumed death in 1775 aged 35.
Strickland writes his pictures â€˜excelled in tone and colourâ€™ and were â€˜much esteemed in his dayâ€™. Mullins also worked as a sign painter.
The celebrated landscape painter Thomas Roberts (1748 â€“ 1778) was his pupil.
The present picture can be compared stylistically and compositionally to the artistâ€™s Zeus, one of 15 cameo paintings on the panelled
saloon ceiling at the Myddleton family Chirk Castle in North Wales. Indeed, in both, the physical resemblance of the sitter â€“ facial
expression, pose, and coiffure â€“ is remarkably striking. So too, are the dates of execution (c. 1773) while the known locations Chirk
Castle and Llangollen are less than 10 km. apart. Well-shod, well-dressed, and well-fleshed, Mullinâ€™s â€˜beggar manâ€™ neatly fits the
recorded â€˜Arcadian tastes entertained by one of the ladies of the [Myddelton] familyâ€™. Acknowledgement: Ms. Louise Eslick, House
Steward, Chirk Castle Collections: State Art Collection, Office of Public Works, Dublin; National Gallery of Ireland; Ashmolean Museum,
Oxford; Bishopâ€™s Palace, Waterford.
Literature; Strickland, Dictionary of Irish Painters; Crookshank and Glin, Painters of Ireland, Burlington Magazine, No.49, Vol.11, 1907
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