Parker, Henry Perlee

Prolific artist, born in Devonport on 15 March 1795. He spent his early years, 1816-1841 in the north-east, painting street life, historical and marine subjects, which earned him the nickname 'Smuggler Parker'. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and elsewhere, and from 1840 until his move to London in 1847 was Drawing Master at Wesley College, Sheffield. He was also associated with James Everett and the UMFC.

He is best known in Methodist circles for his 1839 painting of the fire at Epworth rectory, 'A Brand Plucked from the Burning' (sometimes known as the 'Wesleyan Centenary Picture'). This was painted at the suggestion, and with the advice of, James Everett and contributed significantly to the popular myth of Methodism's providential origins. It was reproduced many times. The two original versions are at Methodist Church House, London and at Brunswick Methodist Church, Newcastle.The scene became an iconic one for the providential origins of Methodism.

Parker died in London on 9 November 1873.

  • Exhibition Catalogue: Henry Perlee Parker, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne (1969)
  • Amy S. Green, 'The Rescue of John Wesley: the birth of Methodism and the struggle for temporal perfection', in Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin, 1989, pp.55-61; also 62-67
  • Peter Forsaith in Methodist Recorder, 5 February 2009
  • Terry Hurst, 'The Henry Perlee Parker Connection', in David J. Hart and David J. Jeremy (eds.), Brands Plucked from the Burning: Essays on Methodist Memorialisation and Remembering (2013) pp.214-6
  • Oxford DNB


Entry written by: PSF
Category: Person
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