|Artist||Thomas Ryley after F. Wilson|
|Published||F. Wilson Pinxt. T. Ryley Fecit. |
|Dimensions||Image 255 x 225 mm, Plate 327 x 226, Sheet 455 x 300 mm|
An uncommon half-length portrait of Miss Mary Blandy, wearing a bonnet, gown, and neck-ribbon in an oval frame with the inscription: Now confined in Oxford Gaol on Suspicion of Poisoning her Father.
Mary Blandy (1720 -1752) was the only child of Francis Blandy, a lawyer in Henley, Oxfordshire, whom she murdered. In 1746, Mary met Captain William Henry Cranstoun, and the two intended to marry in 1751. It was revealed, however, that Cranstoun was already married to a woman in Scotland, with whom he had a child. Mary's father greatly disapproved of Cranstoun, and was not convinced by his claims that he would leave his wife for Mary. Mary went on to poison her father, adding arsenic into his food, which led to his death. Mary claimed that Cranstoun had sent her the arsenic under the pretence that it was a love potion, stating that if she gave it to her father, it would cause him to approve of their relationship. Mary was, however, found guilty, and hanged outside of Oxford Castle prison on April 6th, 1752.
Thomas Ryley (fl. 1744-1754) was a British mezzotint engraver operating out of premises in Water Lane, Fleet Street, London. It is possible that he was an apprentice of John Faber II. Ryley worked principally on portraits, including those of Queen Charlotte, Frederick the Third of Prussia, and the Prince and Princess of Wales.
F. Wilson is otherwise unattested.
Chaloner Smith 4 ii/ii, Russell 4, O'Donoghue 1
Condition: Creasing to sheet edges. Toning to sheet. Areas of wear to the image. Tape reside to left sheet edge verso.