Perry, Thomas

Dates Active in Dublin: 

c. 1759–1818

Address(es): 

Christ Church Yard, c. 1759–70
Anglesea Street, c. 1770–78
6 Anglesea Street, c. 1778–1802
4 Anglesea Street, 1803–18 [same premises, renumbered]

Details: 

Many misconceptions and unsubstantiated claims have arisen in connection with the outstanding Irish violin-maker Thomas Perry. Kenneth Rice has established the known facts of Perry's life and work, as well as assessing his output as an instrument maker.

Perry was born c. 1738/9, son of John Perry (i) of Dublin and Tinekilly, Queen's County (Co. Laois). Rice rejects any French Huguenot connection, noting that Perry is a name borne by many settlers of English origin in Ireland.

Apprenticed to Thomas Molineux, George Ward, his father (John Perry) or 'Mr Peetrie'. Of those George Ward seems the most likely on the basis of the significant closeness between Perry's early work and that of George Ward (Rice).

He married Elizabeth Smyth on 6 April 1766 and the eldest of his four daughters married William Wilkinson, one of his apprentices who became his partner. Rice suggests that Perry may have moved to the premises in Anglesea Street vacated by George Ward on his death in 1769/70; this would seem to lend support to the suggestion that Ward was Perry's tutor.

In 1789, Perry took his nephew and son-in-law William Wilkinson into partnership.

Thomas Perry invented the sultana/salter/cither-viol - a bowed cither. Rice suggests that the machine heads for the Cither-viol on the Sultana invention may have been invented by Gibson.

Apprentices: John Delaney, John Mackintosh, Thomas Molineux?, James Perry (Rice), William Ringwood (later associate), Tegart? (Boydell Card Index), Richard Tobin, William Wilkinson.

Mark: handwritten label 'Made by Thomas Perry in Christ Church Yard, Dublin [date]' (Rice)
Brand: 'Perry, Dublin' (Rice)
Manuscript: 'Made by T. Perry, Anglesea Street, Dublin, [number], [date]' (Rice)

Select Product/Work List: 

Produced

Over 4000 instruments including:

  • Violin (no. 35) 'The Leixlip Perry', 1764 [earliest identified] (Rice)
  • Cither viol, 1767. Victoria and Albert Museum London. Museum number 156-1882. Mark: 'Made by Thos. Perry / in Christ Church / Yard Dublin 1767' and 'Perry Dublin'
  • Violin (no. 408), 1768 [last identified from Christ Church Yard] (Rice)
  • Violin 'The Longford Perry', c. 1770 (Rice)
  • Sultana/cither viol, 1770: National Museum of Ireland (Gogan)
  • Violin (no. 540), 1771 [earliest identified from Anglesea Street] (Rice)
  • Violin (no. 535), 1772: sold by Sotheby's on 22 March 1994. Label: 'Made by Tho|s Perry, Anglesea Street, No 535, Dublin 1772'. Stamp: 'No 535' (on the button) and 'Perry Dublin' (beneath the button)
  • Viola d'amore (no. 030), 1777: National Museum of Ireland (Doyle)
  • Quartet - three violins and cello, 1780: National Museum of Ireland (Gogan)
  • Violin (no. 1144), 1782 (Rice)
  • English guitar, 1790: National Museum of Ireland (Doyle)
  • Viola d'amore (no. 2038), 1801: National Museum of Ireland (Doyle)
  • Sultana/cither viol, 1802: National Museum of Ireland (Gogan)
  • Violin: National Museum of Ireland [formerly in the Cruise collection]. Inventory number 114 (Rice)
  • Violin: National Museum of Ireland [formerly in the Cruise collection]. Inventory number 115 (Rice)
  • Double bass viol: National Museum of Ireland [formerly in the Cruise collection] (Tighe)
  • Pochette: National Museum of Ireland (Gogan)
  • Source(s): 

    Dublin Directories

    McGoogan, Archibald, 'Thomas Perry: an Eighteenth Century Musical Instrument Maker', Museum Bulletin – National Museum of Science and Art, Dublin, 3 (July 1911), 11–14

    Flood, W.H. Grattan, 'A Famous Dublin Fiddle Maker', Irish Independent, 24 April 1920, p. 4

    Gogan, L.S., 'Musical Instrument Collections in the National Museum of Ireland', in Music in Ireland: a Symposium, ed. by Aloys Fleischmann (Cork: Cork University Press, 1952), pp. 299–307 (p. 303)

    Tighe, Joan, 'Thomas Perry of Anglesea Street, Dublin', Dublin Historical Record, 18.1 (December 1962), 24–31

    Teahan, John, 'A List of Irish Instrument Makers', The Galpin Society Journal, 16 (May 1963), 28–32 (p. 31)

    Hogan, Ita Margaret, Anglo-Irish Music 1780–1830 (Cork: Cork University Press, 1966), p. 106

    Henley, William and Cyril Woodcock, Universal Dictionary of Violin & Bow Makers: Price Guide and Appendix, VII (Brighton: Amati Publishing, 1969), p. 79

    Woodcock, C., Universal Dictionary of Violin & Bow Makers: Price Guide Supplement 1971–72 (Brighton: Amati Publishing, 1972), p. x

    Stuart, William G., 'The Education of Thomas Perry: a Study in Eighteenth Century Apprenticeship' (unpublished H.Dip.Ed. thesis, Trinity College Dublin, 1975)

    Woodcock, C., Universal Dictionary of Violin & Bow Makers: Price Guide Supplement 1975–76 (Brighton: Amati Publishing, 1976), p. xiii

    Ryan, Jane, 'Thomas Perry and His Violins', Irish Times, 18 August 1978, p.8

    Doyle, Paul, ‘18th Century Musical Instruments in the National Museum Dublin, with notes on an English Guitar 1764 by Gibson of Dublin’, FOMRHI Quarterly, 13 (October 1978), 21-24 (p. 21)

    Rice, John Kenneth, 'The Life and Work of Thomas Perry' (unpublished doctoral thesis, St Patrick's College Maynooth, 1993)

    Lawrence, Thomas, ‘The History of the Guitar in Ireland 1760-1866’, 2 vols (unpublished doctoral thesis, University College Dublin, 1999), I, p. 27

    Boydell, Brian, ‘Delaney, John’, Dublin Music Trade Card Index <http://dublinmusictrade.ie/card-index>

    Boydell, Brian, ‘Mackintosh, John (1)’, Dublin Music Trade Card Index <http://dublinmusictrade.ie/card-index>

    Boydell, Brian, ‘Peerie’, Dublin Music Trade Card Index <http://dublinmusictrade.ie/card-index>

    Boydell, Brian, ‘Perry instruments’, Dublin Music Trade Card Index <http://dublinmusictrade.ie/card-index>

    Boydell, Brian, ‘Perry, Thomas (1)’, Dublin Music Trade Card Index <http://dublinmusictrade.ie/card-index>

    Boydell, Brian, ‘Perry, Thomas (2)’, Dublin Music Trade Card Index <http://dublinmusictrade.ie/card-index>

    Boydell, Brian, ‘Ringwood (Wm.)’, Dublin Music Trade Card Index <http://dublinmusictrade.ie/card-index>

    Boydell, Brian, ‘Tegart’, Dublin Music Trade Card Index <http://dublinmusictrade.ie/card-index>

    Boydell, Brian, ‘Tobin, Richard’, Dublin Music Trade Card Index <http://dublinmusictrade.ie/card-index>

    Boydell, Brian, ‘Wilkinson, Thomas’, Dublin Music Trade Card Index <http://dublinmusictrade.ie/card-index>

    Boydell, Brian, ‘Wilkinson, William’, Dublin Music Trade Card Index <http://dublinmusictrade.ie/card-index>

    Last Update: 03-03-2017