Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Perry, Francis

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PERRY, FRANCIS (d. 1765), engraver, was born at Abingdon, Berkshire, and apprenticed to a hosier; but, showing some aptitude for art, he was placed first with one of the Vanderbanks, and afterwards with Richardson, to study painting. Making, however, no progress in this, he became clerk to a commissary, whom he accompanied to Lichfield, and there made drawings of the cathedral, which he subsequently etched. Perry eventually devoted himself to drawing and engraving topographical views and antiquities, working chiefly for the magazines. He engraved two views of the cloisters of St. Katherine's Church, near the Tower, for Dr. Ducarel's paper on that church in Nichols's ‘Bibliotheca Topographica Britannica,’ and ‘A Collection of Eighteen Views of Antiquities in the County of Kent,’ also portraits of Matthew Hutton, archbishop of York; Dr. Ducarel, after A. Soldi; and Dr. Thomas Hyde, after Cipriani. But he is best known by his engravings of coins and medals, which he executed with great neatness and accuracy. The sixteen plates in Dr. Ducarel's ‘Anglo-Gallic Coins,’ 1757, are by him; and in 1762 he commenced the publication of a series of gold and silver British medals, of which three parts, containing ten plates, appeared before his death, and a fourth subsequently. In 1764 he exhibited with the Free Society of Artists his print of Dr. Hyde and a pen-and-ink view at Walworth. Perry had the use of only one eye, and habitually etched on a white ground, which facilitated his working by candlelight. Though painstaking and industrious, he could only earn a precarious living. He died on 3 Jan. 1765.

[Strutt's Dict. of Engravers; Bromley's Cat. of English Portraits; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Universal Cat. of Books on Art.]

F. M. O'D.