Frye, Thomas

, an ingenious artist, was a native of Ireland, where he was born in 1710. He came very early to London, when he practised portrait-painting in oil, crayons, and in miniature. In 1734 he had the honour of painting his royal highness, Frederick prince of Wales, a full length, now in Sadler’s-hall, Cheapside. But his genius was not confined to this art, and it is said that he was the inventor and first manufacturer of porcelain in | England, and that he spent fifteen years of his life in bringing this to perfection at a manufactory at Bow, during which, his constitution being impaired by constantly working in furnaces, he retired into Wales, with little hope of recovery. Here, however, his health was perfectly restored, and he returned again to London, and resumed his profession, to which he now added the art of mezzotinto engraving, and had considerable employment and success, both as a painter and engraver, tie died of a decline, brought on by intense application, April 2, 1762.

In the first exhibition in 1760 there was a half-length portrait of the famous singer, Leveridge, which was painted by Frye, and possessed very considerable merit; and in the exhibition of the following year he also had pictures in all the different processes of oil-colours, crayons, and miniature. 'Of his mezzotinto productions, there are six heads as large as life; one of them the portrait of the artist himself; to which may be added two other portraits of their majesties, the same size with the former, but inferior in execution. He had issued proposals in 1760 for twelve heads in the above manner, but we presume his illness and subsequent death prevented his completing more than six; in these, however, he shewed rather more industry than judgment; for no branch of engraving, whether in mezzotinto, or in strokes, can be suited to the display of portraits of such magnitude. 1

1 Edijards’s Paijrtcrs, —Strutt’s Dictionary Geut. Mag. vol. XXXIV.