In his virtual tour of Waterford Treasures on WLR's Big Breakfast Blaa, Eamonn McEneaney tells Ollie and Mary all about two famous paintings of the Wyse family. These paintings show a prosperous Catholic family in the elegant setting of their 18th century home, Newtown House, built by John Wyse.
The room is decorated in the French style, influenced by the fact that at this time, wealthy Catholic families such as the Wyses sent their children to be educated in Catholic France.
For 700 years the Wyse family has been associated with Waterford city. Incredibly they managed to keep their estates and wealth intact through Penal times while remaining Catholic.
Over-extended financially, John sold Newtown to the Religious Society of Friends who opened the famous school in 1798 that is still there today. The painting shows the room before the Quakers removed the decorative plasterwork, another reason for its importance.
Such 18th century interior scenes are extremely rare in Ireland. Painted by George Mullins on copper from the family’s mine on the coast at Bunmahon who ‘worked at Mr Wyse’s manufactory at Waterford and painted snuffboxes and trays in imitation of Birmingham ware’.
If you enjoy Eamonn’s slots with us on The Big Breakfast Blaa, listen here to what he had to say about The Penrose Crystal Factory of 1893.
Below is his chat with us about two famous paintings of the Wyse family.