Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 42.djvu/463

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Owen
Owen
457

St. Davids, and all his lifetime was never sick but once, and at his dying day wanted not one tooth,'

Owen married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir George Herbert, brother to William, first earl of Pembroke of the Herbert line (second creation), and by her he had, among other children, George Owen (1652-1613) [q. v.] He had also several illegitimate children, some of whom are mentioned in Dwnn's 'Heraldic Visitations' (i. 157).

[The chief authority is the Description of Pembrokeshire by his son George Owen (1552-1613) [q. v.], edited by Mr. Henry Owen, 1892, pp. 236-9, and Introduction generally; see also Fenton's Pembrokeshire, p. 563.]

D. Ll. T.

OWEN, WILLIAM (1530?–1587), Welsh poet, better known by his bardic name of William Lleyn or Llŷn, was born at Llangian in Lleyn, Carnarvonshire, being, according to tradition, a natural son of one of the Griffiths of Cefh Amwich, by whom he was educated for the church. The date of his birth is generally given as 1540, but since Gruflydd Hiraethog, who was his bardic teacher, died in 1550, the date of 1530 is more probable (Cambrian Biography, p. 342, sub William Lleyn and G. ap Rhys, Llenyddiaeth Gymreig, p. 308 n.) Owen is always described as M.A., but where he graduated appears unknown. He was appointed vicar of Oswestry in 1683, and died there in 1587 (Thomas, Diocese of St. Asaph, p. 655).

He was present at the Eisteddfod held by virtue of a royal commission at Caerwys 22 May 1568, when he received the degree of chief bard (Pennant, Tours in Wales, ii. 92-5). It was probably on that occasion that he had a poetical contest with a rival bard, Owain Gwynedd. He is almost the only Welsh poet of the day who was not a Roman catholic, and he is credited with having instructed in the rules of Welsh prosody Edmund Prys [q. v.], the evangelical psalm-writer. Owen shows himself a master of style, but his poems also possess such intrinsic merit that he is generally considered the greatest Welsh poet in the period between Dafydd ab Grwilym and Goronwy Owen. Nine pieces by him, including his elegy on his teacher, Gruffydd Hiraetnog, are printed in 'Gorchestion Beirdd Cymru,' ed. 1864, pp. 250-77, and three others were published in 'Y Brython,' iii. 117, 263, 394; but a large number still remain unpublished. Nearly one hundred poems by him — some of them probably duplicates are found in thirty-three different volumes (between 14866 and 15059) in the Additional MSS., in the British Museum, while No. 15065 contains a Welsh vocabulary by him, transcribed by Lewis Morris. Among the Hengwrt MSS., now at Penairth, No. 110 is in the poet's own handwriting, while Nos. 168, 232, 247, and 253a contain some of his poems (see 'Catalogue of Hengwrt MSS.' in Arch. Cambr. 3rd ser. xv. 209, 352, 4th ser. i. 73, 323). His own elegy was written by Rhys Cain. Another poet of the name of Huw Lleyn is supposed by some to have been his brother.

[Hanes Llenyddiaeth Gymreig, by G. ap Rhys, pp. 302-9; Williams's Eminent Welshmen (p. 279), and Foulkes's Enwogion Cymru, sub Lleyn; Catalogue of Manuscripts at the British Museum.]

D. Ll. T.

OWEN, WILLIAM (1769–1825), portrait-painter, was born at Ludlow, Shropshire, in 1769. He was the son of a bookseller, and, after having been educated at Ludlow grammar school, was sent in 1786 to London, where he became a pupil of Charles Catton, R.A., the coach-painter. Soon afterwards he attracted the notice of Sir Joshua Reynolds, whose picture of 'Perdita' he had copied, and he was indebted to Reynolds for some valuable advice. He entered the Royal Academy as a student in 1791, and his earliest exhibited works—a portrait of a gentleman and a view of Ludford Bridge, Shropshire—appeared in the exhibition of 1792; and in each succeeding year, except 1823, he contributed portraits and occasional rustic subjects. Some of the most eminent men of the day were among his sitters, and his portraits were truthful and characteristic, although somewhat weak in drawing. Among them were the Duke of Cumberland, afterwards king of Hanover; William Pitt, Lord Grenville, Lord-chancellors Eldon and Loughborough, Lord- chief-justice Abbott, afterwards Lord Tenterden; Sir William Scott, afterwards Lord Stowell; the Marquis of Stafford, the Earl of Bridgewater, Admiral Viscount Exmouth, Dr. Howley, bishop of London, and afterwards archbishop of Canterbury; and Sir John Soane, R.A. His portraits of ladies were not equally successful. His fancy subjects included 'The Beggar's Daughter of Bednall Green,' 1801; 'The Schoolmistress,' engraved by James Ward, and 'A Sleeping Girl,' 1802; 'The Children in the Wood,' 1806; 'Girl at the Spring' and 'The Roadside,' 1807; 'The Fortune Teller,' 1808; and 'A Cottage Door: Summer Evening,' 1809.

Owen was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1804, and an academician in 1806, when he presented as his diploma work a 'Boy and Kitten,' In 1810 he was appointed portrait-painter to the Prince of Wales, ana in 1813 principal portrait-painter