Mary Parminter (1767-1849)
attributed to Ozias Humphry RA (Honiton 1742 – London 1810)
This exceptional watercolour on ivory miniature shows Mary Parminter as a young lady. It was presumably painted for her relatives in England before she embarked with her cousin Jane on the grand tour that lasted from 1784 to 1795 and from which they returned to build A la Ronde.
Watercolour on ivory portrait miniature, Mary Parminter (1767-1849), attributed to Ozias Humphry RA (Honiton 1742 – London 1810), circa 1784. Oval. An almost half-length portrait of a young woman, turned slightly to the left, gazing at the spectator, in a pale blue dress and white diaphanous shawl fastened with a brooch. Hazel eyes, dark brown hair, ruddy complexion, aged about 18. Greenish-drab gouache background, lit from the left. Oval gold locket with dark hair in the back surrounding a white enamel oval with true-love knot, laurel wreath and a blue enamel circle with initial 'P' in seed pearls. One of a group of seven miniature painted pendant portraits in oval gold settings.
The miniature is of very good quality and can be dated to c. 1884. Ozias Humphry's name is put forward here as a possibility, but without much conviction. He was a Devonian (born in Honiton), but by this time he had long been working in London, and in oils. Mary (1767-1849), daughter of Richard (III) Parminter (1736-1779) and Polly Walrond (1747-1772). She accompanied her cousins, Jane and Elizabeth Parminter, on their tour abroad in 1784, and after their return in 1795, Jane and Mary combined to build A la Ronde. Foreign travel was evidently in their gene pool: Daniel and Samuel Lysons, writing in Magna Britannia: Devon (1820), pp. clxxix-clxxx, say of Jane and Elizabeth's brother: 'Mr John Parminter, who, if living, is the representative of the family, is supposed to be leading a wandering life of the continent'. Mary Parminter died unmarried in 1849, leaving a complicated will, stipulating, amongst other things, that A la Ronde should pass only to unmarried female relations, and leaving it to two of them, Jane and Sophia Hurlock. A silhouette of Mary Parminter is also at A la Ronde (NT 1312159, Music Room Lobby). Text adapted from Richard Walker and Alastair Lang, Portrait Miniatures in National Trust Houses, Vol. 2: Cornwall, Devon & Somerset, pp .10-11.
Makers and roles
attributed to Ozias Humphry RA (Honiton 1742 – London 1810), artist
Walker, R. J. B, Portrait miniatures in National Trust houses, 2005, pp. 10-11