William Mulready was a compelling Irish genre painter who lived in London around the time of the release of the Penny Black. He is well know for his romantic depictions of rural scenery, as well as his detailed and highly collectible Mulready Stationary sheets.
During the 1840s, Mulready was commissioned to design illustrations for postal stationery. Mulready stationery were introduced by the Royal Mail in 1840. These issues came in two forms, precut to a diamond shape, or a lozenge shape which were then folded to become an envelope and held together by a seal at the apex of the top flap. Letter sheets were also cut in rectangles, and these could be folded and then tucked in.
Mulready was a British icon, romantic painter, and contributed greatly to the beauty and elegance of philately. He died at the age of 77, and is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery along with a monument to his memory and contributions.