William Mulready was born in County Clare but moved to London with his family at the age of five. He entered the Royal Academy Schools aged fourteen and began to exhibit his works in 1803. He lived for a time with his brother-in-law and tutor, John Varley. In 1816 he became a member of the Royal Academy. Mulready’s early works are predominantly landscape scenes, often populated with rural figures. The artist’s later work established his reputation for genre scenes. Mulready taught drawing to privileged individuals, including Isabella Milbanke (future wife of Lord Byron) and in 1839 was commissioned to design the first pre-paid postage envelope. A retrospective of his paintings was held at the Society of Arts in 1847.
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