The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Petrie, George

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PETRIE, George, an Irish archæologist, born in Dublin in 1789, died Jan. 18, 1866. He studied painting in Dublin, and won a silver medal at the age of 14. He exhibited his first pictures at Somerset house, London, in 1816, and furnished many illustrations of Ireland for engravers. In 1832 he became associate editor of the “Dublin Penny Journal,” and in 1842 editor of the “Irish Penny Journal,” both illustrated. He was commissioned by the royal Irish academy to purchase rare manuscripts, and secured an autograph copy of the second part of the “Annals of the Four Masters,” and in 1831 published “Remarks on the History and Authenticity of the Autograph Originals of the Annals of the Four Masters.” In 1832 he received a prize of £50 and the gold medal of the academy for an essay on the round towers, enlarged and published under the title of “The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Ireland anterior to the Anglo-Norman Invasion” (Dublin, 1845). In 1836 he received the gold medal for his “Ancient Military Architecture of Ireland,” and in 1837 the old medal for his “History and Antiquities of Tara Hill.” He was the head of the historical and antiquarian department of the “Ordnance Memoir,” designed to accompany the survey, and collected more than 400 volumes of letters and documents. The first volume was published in 1839, but the work was never completed. He took down from the peasant musicians and singers much old and unwritten music, and published it in 1855. He wrote “Picturesque Sketches in Ireland” and “Views in the North of Ireland,” and contributed to the 18th volume of the transactions of the royal Irish academy an “Account of an Irish Reliquary called the Domnach Airgid” (1832), and “Remarks on the Book of MacFirbis” (1837). He was secretary and afterward president of the royal Irish academy, and received a pension of £300.—See “Life and Labors of George Petrie,” by W. Stokes (1868).