Paye, Richard Morton (DNB00)

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PAYE, RICHARD MORTON (d. 1821), painter, is stated to have been born at Botley (?) in Kent. His name first appears in 1773, when he was living in London, and sent two portraits in oil and two models in wax to the Royal Academy. He continued to exhibit there not infrequently during the following years up to 1798, sending portraits, miniatures, and small figure subjects. He also exhibited at the Society of Artists in 1783. He had some skill as a modeller and chaser, which accounts for a certain sculpturesque feeling in his pictures. Paye especially excelled in painting children, both as single portraits and in groups. A number of these were engraved by John Young [q. v.], who did much to assist the painter, V. Green, J. R. Smith, W. Ward, R. Pollard, and others, and are valuable, because truthful records of child-life in Paye's day. Paye was greatly helped in early life by the Rev. Joseph Holden Potts, vicar of Kensington and archdeacon of Middlesex, who purchased many of his works. Subsequently he was patronised by Dr. John Wolcot (Peter Pindar) [q. v.], who did much to promote Paye's success as a painter, until a breach took place between them. When left to his own resources Paye quickly sank into poverty and neglect, and was eventually crippled by illness, though he continued painting after losing the use of his right arm. He received assistance from the artists' benevolent fund, but died quite forgotten and neglected in December 1821. At the exhibition of A Century of British Art (Grosvenor Gallery, 1888–9) a picture was lent by Sir John Neeld, bart., representing a candle-light scene (a style in which Paye especially excelled), with a portrait of the artist engraving a portrait. A picture by Paye of an interior, with an old woman at work, was once sold as a fine Netherlandish work, and another picture, ‘The Widow's Cruse,’ was not only sold, but even exhibited in a well-known picture-dealer's shop as the work of Velasquez. A portrait of Paye, engraved from a drawing by himself, accompanies a memoir of him in Arnold's ‘Library of the Fine Arts.’ Paye appears to have had a son (C. W. Paye) and a daughter, who both painted miniatures, and were exhibitors at the Royal Academy from 1798 to 1808.

[Arnold's Library of the Fine Arts, iii. 95; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Catalogues of the Royal Academy, Society of Artists, &c.]

L. C.