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Life of John Orlando Parry to feature in free public lecture

04 April 2013 Body text

The work and legacy of an artist and musician who collaborated with Charles Dickens and Hungarian composer Franz Liszt is to feature in a free public lecture at Glyndŵr University.

The life of John Orlando Parry will be discussed by Brian Maidment, Professor of the History of Print at Liverpool John Moores University.

Professor Maidment’s talk starts at 7pm on Thursday 11 April 2013 at the university’s Wrexham campus.

John Orlando Parry was an inheritor of Welsh music and poetic traditions through his father, the Welsh musician John Parry (Bardd Alaw).

He became a metropolitan and cosmopolitan figure as a song writer and performer, more at home on the London stage or the European concert platform than in rural Wales.

Despite being a largely occasional and self-taught artist, Parry produced one of the most famous nineteenth century images of London streets which showed, among much else, a wall covered with advertisements for plays and concerts.

He also produced two sequences of caricatures in idiosyncratic formats - one, largely structured by visual and verbal puns offering humorous commentary on his musical interests, and the other, even more eccentric, a compilation of miscellaneous comic images published under the title of Ridiculous Things.

This illustrated lecture seeks to position Parry both within and against the British tradition of comic art in the 1840s and 1850s, and includes consideration of a few unpublished drawings and prints. If unlikely to become a major figure, Parry is nonetheless well worthy of serious consideration as a comic artist.

Brian Maidment is Professor of the History of Print at Liverpool John Moores University. He has written widely on Victorian topics, especially writing by working men and women, periodicals, mass circulation and popular literature, and, most recently, caricature and comic images.

Event organiser Katie Dutton said: “This latest lecture shows the rich diversity of Glyndŵr University’s public event series. Providing access to leaders in their field speaking about events and people which have shaped the world around us is central to our ethos as a community university.

“We are delighted that Professor Maidment, one of the leading authorities on British art and literary history, will be joining us for what promises to be a fascinating and insightful talk.”

Ridiculous Things: The Comic Art of John Orlando Parry, a neglected Anglo-Welsh Victorian polymath, takes place at Glyndŵr University from 7pm on Thursday 11 April 2013. The talk is free but spaces need to be reserved in advance. Bookings can be made by emailing your name and number of seats to or by calling 01978 293466.
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