George Petrie

Born 1790
Died 1866
Place of Birth Dublin
Place of Death Dublin
Gender Male
Biographical Notes Antiquary and painter, born in Dublin, he was the only child of portrait painter James Petrie and was of Scottish extraction on his maternal and paternal sides. He attended the art school of the Dublin Society and received recognition as a painter from the age of fourteen. He travelled extensively in Ireland and Wales and was elected to the Royal Irish Academy in 1828 and appointed librarian to the Hibernian Academy in 1830. He regularly exhibited landscape paintings in the Hibernian Academy. He wrote articles on antiquarian topics for the Dublin Penny Journal and edited the Irish Penny Journal during its brief existence in 1842.
Petrie made numerous acquisitions for the Royal Irish Academy, which were later transferred to the National Museum of Ireland. These included the Ardagh Chalice, the Cross of Cong and torcs from Tara. From 1833-1846 he worked for the Ordnance Survey of Ireland, and through his memoirs accompanying the maps, did much to preserve local history and historical topography. As a nationalist, he came under attack for views he expressed when working for the OSI, but the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is mistaken in saying he was a Catholic. He published numerous essays on Irish antiquities and also a collection of traditional Irish songs and airs.
Petrie married and had at least one daughter. He died in 1866 and is buried in Mount Jerome cemetery, Dublin.
Marie-Louise Legg, ‘Petrie, George (1790–1866)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [, accessed 5 Oct 2017].
John Waddell, Foundation myths (Bray, Co. Dublin: Wordwell, 2005).