Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 50.djvu/73

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London about 1752. He was of weakly constitution and deformed in figure. He showed an early taste for art, and at first studied engraving, for which he received a premium in 1767 from the Society of Arts. Afterwards he took to painting and became a pupil of John Hamilton Mortimer, R.A. [q. v.] and a student of the Royal Academy, where he obtained a gold medal in 1778 for a painting of ‘Orestes on the point of being sacrificed by Iphigenia.’ This picture he exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1779, from which date he was a constant exhibitor of drawings and small pictures, mostly in the style of his master, Mortimer. Indifferent health prevented him from making much progress in his art, and he was compelled to fall back upon working for booksellers and teaching in schools. He was employed on decorative paintings by the Duke of Richmond at Goodwood, Mr. Willett at Merly, Mr. Conolly in Ireland, and elsewhere. After beginning life with strict methodist views, Ryley fell into irregular habits, which, acting on his enfeebled constitution, brought about his death on 13 Oct. 1798, at his house in what was then the New Road, Marylebone. Some of his works have been engraved.

[Edwards's Anecdotes of Painting; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760–1893.]

L. C.

RYLEY, JOHN (1747–1815), mathematician, was the eldest son of Samuel Ryley, a farmer and clothier, of Alcoates, near Pudsey, Yorkshire, where he was born on 30 Nov. 1747. He received a village education, and was then employed at home as husbandman and cloth manufacturer, devoting his leisure to mathematics with such success that in 1774 he was appointed mathematical master at Drighlington grammar school. Here he studied fluxions and the higher parts of algebra. In 1775 he opened a school of his own at Pudsey, where he married Miss Dawson of Topcliffe. In 1776 he became schoolmaster of Beeston, and soon began to contribute solutions of problems to the ‘Ladies' Diary,’ winning many prizes. In 1789 Ryley was made headmaster of the Bluecoat school in Leeds, retaining the post till death. He also taught (about 1800) in the grammar school, and took private pupils, several of whom distinguished themselves at Cambridge. Many eminent mathematicians visited him. He died of gout on 22 April 1815. He had three sons and four daughters.

Ryley was a self-made man, but, though his ‘countenance was repulsive, from his fixed habits of close thinking,’ he was of benevolent character. In his hasty and nervous manner of speech, as well as in his heavy build, he somewhat resembled Dr. Johnson. Besides being a very successful teacher of mathematics, he was the first editor of the ‘Leeds Correspondent,’ 1815, a literary, mathematical, and philosophical miscellany. He also contributed to many other mathematical periodicals for nearly half a century, and compiled ‘The Leeds Guide,’ containing a history of Leeds and adjacent villages, 1806 and 1808 (now very scarce).

[Leeds Correspondent, ii. 97, 242; Taylor's Leeds Worthies; Rayner's Hist. of Pudsey. See also Leeds Intelligencer, April 1815, and Pudsey Almanac for 1873.]

W. F. S.

RYLEY, SAMUEL WILLIAM (1759–1837), actor and author, the son and only child of Samuel Romney, a wholesale grocer of St. James's Market, London, was born in London in 1759. After his retirement from affairs consequent upon ill-health, the elder Romney lived on an income of 350l. a year bequeathed to Mrs. Romney by her uncle, Sir William Heathcote, who also left 4,000l. to her children. Young Romney was educated at a day school in Kensington, and afterwards at a second in Fulham, kept by a Mr. Day. In his seventh year he went with his parents to Chester, where he was placed at the grammar school. Bound apprentice to William Kenworthy of Quickwood, Saddleworth, Yorkshire, a woollen manufacturer, he ran away with his master's daughter Ann (baptised at St. George's Church, Mossley, on 9 Dec. 1759), and married her at Gretna Green on 15 Sept. 1776, remarrying her subsequently in Clifton, near Preston, where, after his mother's death, his father resided.

In five years the money he had inherited was spent, and he retired in April 1782 on a small income of his wife's to Newby Bridge, Westmoreland. In February 1783 he joined on sharing terms Austin & Whitlock's theatrical company at Newcastle-on-Tyne, where he appeared as George Barnwell in ‘The London Merchant.’ After losing about 20l. by the engagement, he retired to join Powell's company in the west of England, and in 1784, after raising 200l., joined Powell in management, beginning in Worcester [see Powell, William]. Soon buying out his partner with borrowed money, he became sole manager. The result was disastrous, and Romney, burdened with debt, had to resume his occupation of a strolling actor. At Taunton Mrs. Romney appeared as an actress. Among other parts she played Fanny to his Lord Ogleby in the ‘Clandestine Marriage.’ After rambling up and down principally in