Illustrated, with Engravings from some hitherto unpublished Drawings.’ A second edition of the ‘Supplement’ appeared in 1804; the whole work was reprinted in 1812. Ireland died in Birmingham in November 1808.
His collection was sold by auction on 5 and 6 March 1810. A portrait of Ireland was engraved by Isaac Mills from a drawing by J. R. Smith, which was afterwards in the collection of J. B. Nichols. Another portrait, drawn by his friend J. H. Mortimer, was engraved by Skelton for his ‘Hogarth Illustrated;’ a copy of this by T. Tagg appeared in the later reprints. A portrait of him, drawn by R. Westall, R.A., is in the print room at the British Museum, where there is also a small drawing of him prefixed to a copy of the sale catalogue of his collection. He was no relation to Samuel Ireland (d. 1800) [q. v.] He is sometimes stated to have been a print-seller, but, if this was the case, he does not appear to have concerned himself with other engravings than those by or after Hogarth.
[Gent. Mag. 1808, lxviii. 1189; Chalmers's Biog. Dict.; Shropshire Archæol. Trans. 2nd ser. ii. 349; Ireland's own works.]
IRELAND, JOHN, D.D. (1761–1842), dean of Westminster, born at Ashburton, Devonshire, on 8 Sept. 1761, was son of Thomas Ireland, a butcher of that town, and of Elizabeth his wife. He was educated at the free grammar school of Ashburton, under the Rev. Thomas Smerdon. William Gifford [q. v.] was a fellow-pupil, and their friendship continued unbroken until death. For a short time Ireland was in the shop of a shoemaker in his native town; but on 8 Dec. 1779, when aged 18, he matriculated as bible-clerk at Oriel College, Oxford. He graduated B.A. on 30 June 1783, M.A. as grand compounder on 13 June 1810, and B.D. and D.D. on 24 Oct. 1810. After serving a small curacy near Ashburton for a short time, he travelled on the continent as tutor to the son of Sir James Wright. From 15 July 1793 till 1816 he was vicar of Croydon. While in that position he acted as reader and chaplain to the Earl of Liverpool, who procured his appointment to a prebendal stall in Westminster Abbey (14 Aug. 1802). His connection with the abbey lasted for life. He was made subdean in 1806, when the theological lectureship, which was founded at Westminster by the statutes of Queen Elizabeth, was revived for him, and on the death of Dean Vincent in December 1815 he was promoted to the deanery, being installed on 9 Feb. 1816. From 1816 to 1835 Ireland held the rectory of Islip in Oxfordshire, and he was also dean of the order of the Bath. The regius professorship of divinity at Oxford was offered to him in 1813, but he declined it. With such preferments Ireland acquired considerable wealth, which he used with great generosity. In 1825 he gave 4,000l. for the foundation at Oxford of four scholarships, of the value of 30l. a year each, ‘for the promotion of classical learning and taste.’ (For a full list of the scholars, see Oxford Mag. 21 Jan. 1891.). To Westminster School he gave 500l. for the establishment of prizes for poems in Latin hexameters. (For a list of the winners from 1821 to 1851, see Welch, Alumni Westmonasterienses, ed. Phillimore.). Mindful of the advantages he had derived from his free education in classics, he expended 2,000l. in purchasing a house in East Street, Ashburton, as a residence for the master of its grammar school, left an endowment for its repair, and drew up statutes for remodelling the school. For the support of six old persons of the same town he settled a fund of 30l. per annum.
For four years before his death Ireland was in feeble health, but he lived to a great age, dying at the deanery, Westminster, on 2 Sept. 1842, and being buried on 8 Sept. by the side of Gifford, in the south transept of the abbey, where a monument with a Latin inscription, was placed to his memory. He married Susannah, only daughter of John Short of Bickham, Devonshire, who died without issue at Islip rectory on 9 Nov. 1826, aged 71. Dean Ireland left 5,000l. for the erection of a new church at Westminster, which was invalidated under the Mortmain Acts; 10,000l. to the university of Oxford for a professor of the exegesis of the Holy Scripture; and 2,000l. to Oriel College for exhibitions. As dean of Westminster he held the crown at the coronations of George IV and William IV. He was too infirm to attend the coronation of Queen Victoria, and his place was taken by the sub-dean, Lord John Thynne. His likeness, as he appeared at George IV's coronation, was drawn by G. P. Harding, and engraved by James Stow in Harding's series of the deans in Brayley's ‘Westminster Abbey,’ and in Naylor's ‘Coronation of George IV.’ A marble bust of him by Chantrey is in the Bodleian Library. An early portrait by Hoppner has not been engraved.
Ireland was the author of:
- ‘Five Discourses for and against the Reception of Christianity by the Antient Jews and Greeks,’ 1796.
- ‘Vindiciæ Regiæ, or a Defence of the Kingly Office, in two Letters to Earl Stanhope’ [anon.], 1797, 2 editions.
- ‘Letters of Fabius to Right Hon. William Pitt,