Bagwell, Richard (1840–1918), barrister, historian, and political activist, was born 9 December 1840, eldest son of John Bagwell, MP, of Marlfield, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, and his wife the Hon. Frances, youngest daughter of Francis Aldborough Prittie, DL, MP, and sister of the 3rd Baron Dunalley. The Bagwells owned 3,519 acres in Co. Tipperary, valued at £8,480 in 1876. Richard Bagwell was educated at Harrow and Christ Church, Oxford (1859–64), before being called to the bar by the Inner Temple (1866). He served as a special local government commissioner (1898–1908) and as a commissioner of national education (1905–18).
As a historian of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Ireland, Bagwell worked for nearly sixty years to produce his two three-volume works, Ireland under the Tudors (1885–90) and Ireland under the Stuarts (1909–16), using manuscript sources throughout. He was the first to treat this period in a systematic and scholarly fashion. For this solid work he was made MRIA and honoured by the universities of Dublin and Oxford in 1918.
A one-time liberal, he was a founder member (1885) of the Irish Loyal and Patriotic Union, renamed the Irish Unionist Alliance (IUA) in 1891. A ‘diehard’ unionist, he was one of the most prominent and respected southern unionists; a tireless political publicist, he was an assiduous letter-writer to the newspapers, a didactic pamphleteer, and a regular speaker at political meetings throughout Ireland. He opposed the majority report of the Irish convention (1917) and was one of the original signatories of the ‘Call to unionists’ that split the IUA.
Bagwell was DL for Co. Tipperary, JP for Co. Tipperary and Co. Waterford, and high sheriff of Co. Tipperary (1869). He died 4 December 1918 at Marlfield, having suffered from gout for many years. He married (9 January 1873) Harriet Philippa Joscelyn, fourth daughter of P. J. Newton of Dunleckney Manor, Co. Carlow; they had one son, Senator John Bagwell (qv), and three daughters. Harriet (qv) founded an art embroidery cottage industry at Marlfield in 1885. Bagwell's writings are listed by Richard Hayes (qv) in the two series of his Sources for the history of Irish civilisation.
His youngest child, Lilla Minnie (Bagwell) Perry (1888–1974), landscape painter, was born 10 June 1888 at Marlfield. Raised in Marlfield house, she married (4 October 1915) John Perry (1875–1965), MC (1918); a captain in the merchant navy, he served in the South African war with Kitchener's Horse, and in the first world war with the Royal Field Artillery. They had three sons and one daughter. Their home on the Perry estate at Newcastle, Co. Tipperary, was burned by republicans in June 1921, a fortnight before the truce; thereafter, they resided at Birdhill, Clonmel, a property neighbouring Marlfield.
While Lilla probably received some formal art training, and spent several months in Italy in her youth, it seems that she was largely self-taught. Working almost entirely in watercolours, she exhibited regularly over many years (1908–70) with the Water Colour Society of Ireland (WCSI), with whom she showed over 100 works, initially under her maiden name, then as Lilla Perry. She first exhibited at the London Salon in 1909, and was represented at exhibitions of the Society of Women Artists, London (1911–12). Though she painted throughout her life, she was most prolific in the 1920s and 1930s. She showed five works at the RHA, all in 1927–30, and exhibited with the Munster Fine Art Club (1933) and the Ulster Academy of Arts, Belfast (1937). While her subjects changed little – she favoured views of rivers, trees, and gardens, largely at Birdhill, Marlfield, and other locations around Clonmel – her style developed from an early attention to close detail executed in muted colours, to the brighter palette and looser brushwork of her later work. At the WCSI centenary exhibition (1970) she was represented by ‘Kilmanahan castle near Clonmel’. She died at Marlfield on 30 August 1974. Most of her work is in private collections; several paintings, including ‘Clonmel and the River Suir’ (1931) and ‘Knocklofty bridge’ (1940), are in the South Tipperary County Museum, Clonmel.