Dress and Textiles, East of England and The Midlands: Artists and Subjects, Portraits: British 19th C 10 Who is the artist 'Rylles' in this portrait and what more can we find about the sitter Alderman Wood?

Topic: Artist

I think this is signed, bottom left, above the lion. It says something like: R Rylles. I've attached a slightly lightened version. Maybe someone could suggest who that might be? [Moreover, what is the relationship between this artist and the artist Frederick Rieland Ryles, represented by three portraits in the same Collection https://bit.ly/3b1BHQh ?] [Group leader: Grant Waters]

Andrew Shore, Entry reviewed by Art UK


Kieran Owens,

& Artist

Frederick Richard Ryles (1831-1908)

Frederick Richard Ryles, photographic artist and painter, late of Burslem, died at his residence, Pleura Bank, Macclesfield, on the 9th November 1908, aged 77. He was, therefore, born in c.1831. His funeral report, from the Staffordshire Sentinel, of Saturday 14th November 1908, is attached.

He should not be confused with Frederick Richard Ryles, florist and fruit merchant, also of Burslem, who was born in 1832 and died died in 1910.

Marcie Doran,

Kieran, are you able to attach an image of page two of the ‘Staffordshire Sentinel’ of Monday, September 5, 1921? Columns five and six contain an extensive obituary for Thomas Francis Wood (1841–1921). My full-page attachments always fail.

Kieran Owens,

Hi Marcie, the article is very, very long and the second column is badly folded so that many of the words on the right-hand side are unreadable. I'm not sure that such a biography is necessary, as at least we have identified where it is.

Marcie Doran,

That makes sense. Thanks for checking, Kieran.

This photographers web page (https://www.cartedevisite.co.uk/photographers-category/photographers/) separately lists a 'Frederick Richard Ryles' and suggests he was also at some point a partner with a T. Blackshaw and, separately, a Thomas Ryles.

I have been brefly in touch with the man who runs it and we agree it woud be useful if someone with direct Ancestry access could check the veracity of 'Rieland' as his second name as it appears on Art UK, and supply other details such as first names of his two wives, exact d.o.b,/parents, marriage dates, census addresses etc.

The following site also lists him as 'Richard' and at 180 Waterloo Road, Burslem, from 1860 to 1872 though whether that is exact or approximate dating is not clear.


Marcie Doran,

Here are documents from Ancestry and the BNA that provide some of the missing information. The parents of Frederick Richard Ryles were George Ryles and his wife Ellen Ryles (née Turner) who had married on April 5, 1815. The Census record shows that George was a police officer in 1841, as stated in Frederick's obituary.

Frederick Richard Ryles married Ellen Wright, daughter of Joseph Wright, on July 21, 1857. She was buried on December 26, 1890. He married Louisa Maria Stubbs on September 7, 1898. She had married James Stubbs on September 11, 1889, and her father was shown on the record as Charles Weston. She passed away on April 18, 1914.

Frederick Richard Ryles had a business located at 284 Waterloo Road, Burslem, according to the 1880 Kelly's Directory.

Pieter, as the three other Ryles portraits are from The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery I have asked our Curatorial Art Detective contact there if anything within their records indicates where 'Rieland' might have come through, and have asked if possibly a mistranscription of Richard from written ledgers. Regards, David

My brief photo-website contact ('Ron') has already said its an error for Richard from such sources as he has and the Ancestry data above shows that is the case, however the collection first picked it up. The greater puzzle is the signature as 'Rylles' rather than 'Ryles', since the initials in 1885 are also fairly clearly 'F.R.' - the current painting being a considerable improvement on his earlier efforts represented by the other three in the Potteries Museum. The 'self-portrait' can't be 'c.1840' - when he was only nine: perhaps c.1850.

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