The editor of this website is the independent art historian, Stephen Conrad. He was born in London of a Swiss father and British mother, and is a graduate in the History of Art from Birkbeck College (BA), and University College (MA), at the University of London.
He has been interested in art and history since he was 11 years old, when he became fascinated by the art collections of King George IV and later King Charles I. His scholarly interest is in French, British and Italian art of the 17th and 18th centuries, and he has published some of his specialist researches on Nicolas Poussin (in support of the late Sir Denis Mahon’s re-dating of the Louvre’s Landscape with Diogenes), and Reynolds (the artist’s painting family) in The Burlington Magazine, as well as an article on Gainsborough’s First Self-Portrait in The British Art Journal, as well as publishing other articles and reviews. He has been employed in a number of art world institutions, and was a seminar supervisor at Cambridge University in 2008 and 2009.
He has been a Friend of the Royal Pavilion & Museums in Brighton since 1976, and a member of the Art Fund since 1978; he joined the Walpole Society in 1985. He was elected to membership of La Société de l’Histoire de l’Art Français (supported by art historians Pierre Rosenberg and Christopher Wright), and to a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts.
He began his researches on Muller-Ury in 1984 whilst still an undergraduate, published the first research article on part of his career in The British Art Journal, and is keen to promote awareness of the artist. He has been instrumental in persuading the grand-daughter of Dr. Charles Daniel Bourcart – the first permanent diplomatic representative of Switzerland in the United Kingdom – to sell her Muller-Ury portrait of her grandfather to the Swiss government to hang permanently in the London embassy. He also persuaded a museum in the mid-west of the United States to give their large collection of portraits by Muller-Ury (which they had never exhibited) to the American National Portrait Gallery and the Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island, where they could be better seen. This website is the distillation of thirty years’ research. He is working on a biography of the artist, and would be delighted to hear from owners of pictures by the artist.
Research on Muller-Ury would not have been possible without the assistance, patience, generosity and hospitality of the following members of the artist’s extended family in Switzerland: the late Adolf Müller, from 1978 curator of the Stiftung Muller-Ury who first gave permission for him to examine the artist’s papers; the late Misses Iva, Doris and Ines Müller of Andermatt, who answered so many questions and gave the editor so many clues; Susie Müller of Andermatt and her daughter, Joelle, for their generosity and hospitality; Elisabeth Tresch of Amsteg; the late Viktor Blaser, the successor curator of the Stiftung, who was very keen on promoting the artist and sadly did not live to see this website, and his son Philippe Blaser, the present curator for his continuing support; and Madeleine Burri of Yverdon. Felix and Claudia Gähler and their family in Zurich, though only distantly related to the artist by marriage, have given the editor magnificent support and abiding friendship. Thanks are due also to American kinsmen of the artist, Dr. Robert and Mrs. Norma Worden of Annapolis and their son Nathaniel Worden of New York for hospitality, information and practical assistance.
The assistance of the late Karl Iten and Rolf Gisler-Jauch of the Historisches Museum Uri, Altdorf, is gratefully acknowledged.
The religious and administrative staff of the Pontifical North American College in Rome enabled many early questions to be asked, if not answered; and various Archdiocesan archives in the United States provided invaluable documentation.
From the late 1980s research in the United States would not have been possible without the thirty years of friendship with the late Nicholas Meredith Turner, whom the editor first met in 1987 (he had married soprano Jessica Dragonette and had met the artist before his death) and without whose assistance, and generosity, this project would have been nearly impossible to progress – as well as the many kindnesses and hospitality of his second wife Jacqueline Niego Turner; the hospitality and warm friendship of the energetic Rosemarie Reisch of San Marino, California; the late Dr. Robert Wark of the Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino, California for early advice and introductions; Paul Miller of the Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island for encouragement and more; the staff of the Minnesota Historical Society and James J. Hill House, St. Paul, and independent researcher Eileen McCormack, who discovered so many references to so many missing pictures; the past and present staff at the American National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC; and the staff of many libraries and other institutions in the United States who hold Muller-Ury’s works (sadly often in storage!). The assistance of private collectors, often the descendants of Muller-Ury’s sitters, is most gratefully acknowledged.
He also wishes to thank Peter Borthwick for his patience in creating this website; his friend K. J. E. Gavin for twisting his arm to do so; the fine art photographer Douglas Howden for making many photographs in Switzerland in 1997; and his friends all over the world for their encouragement and forbearance of this apparently never-ending research project.
This website is dedicated to the memory of his late parents, Peter and Pamela Conrad, and to his late brother, Trevor.