William Mulready was born in Ennis on April 1st, 1786, though he only lived in Ennis for his first two years. Moving first to Dublin, and four years later to London, finally settling at Compton Street, Soho, in London.
Depictions of simple incidents or scenes from everyday life of village people were what he mainly dealt with. He was highly successful producing pictures which had an obvious appeal in Victorian times and among his best known works are “Idle Boys”, “The Farriers Shop” and “The Last Inn”.
He achieved some fame as a book illustrator, particularly through his drawings of textures for an edition of Goldsmith’s “The Vicar of Wakefield”, and also for illustrating Children's books, though his output rarely exceeded more than two or three pictures a year.
In 1815 he was elected a member of the Royal Academy at only 31 years of age. He was also honoured in France being given the Legion of Honour for paintings he sent to the Paris International Exhibition of 1815.
William Mulready died on the 7th of July, 1863 in Bayswater, London, and is buried in Kensal Green cemetary where a monument to his memory was erected by his friends.
Associate Professor Kathryn Moore Heleniak was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship at the Yale Center for British Art, and is the author of William Mulready (Yale University Press).