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William Pars ARA (1742-1782)


William Edmund Pars, ARA (1742-1782)

William Pars is best remembered as a travelling draughtsman, responsible for some important antiquarian studies and pioneering topographical views.

William Pars was born in London on 28 February 1742, the son of a metal chaser, probably of Dutch origin. He studied at the drawing school at 101 The Strand, run by William Shipley (who had founded the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts in 1754), then in the Duke of Richmond’s sculpture gallery, Whitehall, and at the St Martin’s Lane Academy. He later returned to Shipley’s to assist his brother, Henry, who had become its director.

Pars had trained to become a landscape and history painter, but first earned his living as a portrait painter, exhibiting at the Society of
Artists (1760), the Free Society of Artists (1761) and the Incorporated Society of Artists.

In 1764, while still only 22, Pars achieved a turn in his career. Not only did he win a premium from the Society of Arts for his (untraced)
painting
Caractacus before the Emperor Claudius (one of several such prizes in his career). He was also selected by the Society of Dilettanti to accompany Richard Chandler, the antiquary, and Nicholas Revett, the architect, on an archaeological expedition to Asia Minor and Greece
(1764–66).

His views of Classical monuments in Asia Minor were engraved and published in
Ionian Antiquities (in parts from 1769).

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