Singers and Musical Personalities ~ John Orlando Parry 1810 - 1879

1. Parry1

John Orlando Parry

1.   John Orlando Parry (1810 - 1879), late 1850's by (George) Herbert Watkins, detail from albumen print, arched top.   Original in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London.   Image out of copyright.

John Orlando Parry

During a period of nearly forty years Parry composed or compiled several songs and ballads. Many of these won prizes from the Melodists' Club, including ‘Fair Daphne’ (1840) and ‘The Flying Dutchman’ (1848). Some of his songs were arranged as quadrilles by L. Negri in 1842, and L. G. Jullien's Buffa Quadrilles (1844) were also based on his tunes.

Works that he composed, had printed and featured in his concert programme include Wanted, a Governess (1840), Anticipations of Switzerland (1842), The Accomplished Young Lady (1843), My déjeuner à la Fourchette (1844), The Polka explained (1844), Fayre Rosamond (1844), Matrimony (1845), Young England (1845), Miss Harriet and her Governess (1847), Coralie (1853), Charming Chloe Cole (1854), Oh, send me not away from home (1854), Little Mary of the Dee (1855), In lonely bow'r bemoans the turtle dove (1855), The Tyrolese Fortune-teller (1867), Bridal Bells (1868), Cupid's Flight (1868), Don't be too particular (1868), Take a bumper and try (1874), and The Musical Wife (1878).

His duets include: Fond Memory (1855), A B C (1863), Tell me, gentle stranger (1863), We are two roving minstrels (1864), and Flow, gentle Deva (1872). He also wrote the glees, Come, fairies, trip it on the grass (prior to 1851) and Oh! it is that her lov'd one's away (1853), and Parables set to Music, three numbers (1859), besides much music for the piano, including many polkas.

In 1860 he joined Thomas German Reed and his wife, Priscilla, at the Gallery of Illustration, Regent Street, London.

He entertained the public there for nearly nine years with a series of droll impersonations and marvellous musical monologues, treating the comic song as a comedy scene with musical illustrations. He devised his own entertainments, composed his own music, and played his own accompaniments.


2.  Portrait

John Orlando Parry, c.1840

2.  Portrait of John Orlando Parry, c.1840 by Artist Daniel Maclise (1806 - 70).  oil on millboard.  Original on display at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.   Image out of copyright.

John Orlando Parry

In 1860 Parry joined Thomas German Reed and his wife, Priscilla, at the Gallery of Illustration, Regent Street, London. He entertained the public there for nearly nine years with a series of droll impersonations and marvellous musical monologues, treating the comic song as a comedy scene with musical illustrations. He devised his own entertainments, composed his own music, and played his own accompaniments.

During a period of nearly forty years he composed or compiled several songs and ballads. Many of these won prizes from the Melodists' Club, including ‘Fair Daphne’ (1840) and ‘The Flying Dutchman’ (1848). Some of his songs were arranged as quadrilles by L. Negri in 1842, and L. G. Jullien's Buffa Quadrilles (1844) were also based on his tunes. Among Parry's other works were glees and much music for the piano, especially polkas.

In 1833 Parry visited Italy and received singing tuition from Luigi Lablanche in Naples, where he lived for a short time. From 1836 onwards, he appeared in a number of burlettas and comic performances, one of which, The Sham Prince, was written and composed by his father.

In 1842, Parry left the stage for the concert-room. His exceptional talent as a pianist became widely recognized, as a result of high profile appearances, such as the concert tour he took part in around the United Kingdom with Camillo Sivori, Liszt and others. He produced Notes, Vocal and Instrumental in 1850, which was written by Albert Smith. In the production, he sang in different voices, played the piano, conversed with the audience, and undertook many costume changes. The success of this show, was followed by his next solo entertainment act The Portfolio for Children of All Ages (1852), which was also highly popular. The strain of his busy schedule, however, took its toll on his health, and he was forced to retire from public performance.

In 1860, he resumed his role as entertainer, and gave comic performances, using material composed by himself, for a further nine years.

[Text based, in part, on the Welsh Biography Online.]


3.   watercolour
Watercolour 1835, by John Parry


John Orlando Parry

3.  A London Street Scene 1835, by John Orlando Parry, Watercolour  Alfred Dunhill Collection. [Image in the public domain.]

This watercolour of a London Street by John Parry shows several posters. The text of the clearer posters reading from left to right follows.

  • THE DESTRUCTION OF POMPEII EVERY EVENING - white text on black
  • Vauxhall - overlaid by other posters
  • HAVE YOU SEEN THE ILLUSTRIOUS FLEAS? - black on red
  • SPLENDID NEW COACH / COMET! / In 24 Hours / LIVERPOOL / EVERY MORNING AT 9 / Bull and Mouth / MAN.../EVE.../REG..- Bull & Mouth was a London Coaching inn
  • FRENCH PLAYS / VKRTPRE... / BENEFIT / MAY 10
  • THAMES / TUNNEL - possibly the Thames Tunnel, which at the time was walled off
  • MR MATHEWS / AT HOME / (unclear) / ADELPHI THEATRE.- "Mr. Mathews At Home with His Comic Annual" by Charles Mathews first performed at the Adelphi in 1833
  • JERUSALEM / IS NOW / OPEN - overposted with unclear HARLEY
  • HARLEY / THIS EVENING / THE SLAVE / ... / GRAND CONCERT
  • ST. JAMES THEATRE / JOHN PARRY / ... / THE SHAM PRINCE / .... /VERY EARLY. - John Orlando Parry's father John Parry (known as Bardd Alaw) composed The Sham Prince.
  • black text possible reads "HAVE YOU SEEN ..."
  • ENGLISH OPERA HOUSE / TRIUMPHANT SUCCESS - NATIVE TALE / NOURJAHAD! / MOUNTAIN SYLPH / HERMANN! / EVERY EVENING
  • SPREAD EAGLE
  • PARIS - white on red, rest is overposted
  • OTELLO - being pasted up over:
  • black text on blue paper possibly reads "...DEN / ... OF / L'ESTOCQ / .... EVENING"
  • black text on beige paper possibly reads "... SOLD A FEMALE DONKEY ..."
  • SHADOW on the WALL / ...
  • VESTRIS / ... / ... / THIS EVENING! / THE POWERFUL AND MAGNIFICENT STEAM COMP / FAVORITE / OSTEND.
  •  ????LANE. / ...SPECTACLE / ... ?RTHUR / ... EVENING - blue background, possibly King Arthur.
  • - black text on white possibly reads "FRENCH PLAYS / Olympic Theatre"
  • ADELPHI THEATRE / EXTRAORDINARY HIT / THE LAST DAYS OF / POMPEII! / - overposted - written by John Baldwin Buckstone and performed in 1834
  • ADELPHI / ROBERT MACAIRE / TOM & JERRY / THE CHRISTENING!! / !!!!!! / EVERY EVENING - Robert Macaire is possibly the play composed by George Rodwell and performed in 1834. - Tom and Jerry composed by G. W. Maddison in 1821, George Herbert 1822, performed by William Thomas Moncrieff in 1821, 1822, 1823, 1834, 1841, 1843. - The Christening written by John Baldwin Buckstone and performed in 1834, 1835, 1836, 1837, 1839.
  •  ????? THEATRE / BRAHAM / M?HARLEY / OBERON / ... / TOM ???MB / .east ... / ... / .ATERMAN / .RA DIAVOLO - possibly John Braham's St. James's Theatre, which supposedly opened 1835.
  • TWO LECTURES - overposted by:
  • BULL- / MOUTH!!! / BAR - first two lines white on black, BAR in red on white, probably the Coaching inn Bull and Mouth.

Parry gave this extraordinary and unique painting to his new bride, Anne Combe, in the year of their marriage, 1835. Anna Combe was the daughter of the noted surgeon, Henry Combe. The painting alludes to this happy event. At the top of the painting, the words ‘Miss Combe’ crown the space, slightly obscured by the large blue bill for Vauxhall Gardens. Moreover, her name appears ‘in glory’ on the post for the Kings Theatre which the poster man is spreading over the word ‘Paris‘. This poster, which advertises the great Grisi, Ivanhoff, Lablache, Tamburini and Brambilla, also advertises a performance by Signa. Anna Combina, with Signori Parrochini, Parrot. This is echoed by the jokes against himself which are echoed all across the piece.

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Parry Anecdotes

Top ~   Liszt and Parry on Tour  ~  Parry and Franz Liszt in Scotland  ~  Parry and Franz Liszt in Glasgow and Edinburgh  ~  German Reed Entertainment and John Orlando Parry  ~  Parry Obituary  ~  Liszt and Parry play Newcastle, 1840  ~  The Melodists

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