Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Antiquarian, artist and writer, of Dublin, for whom see Oxford DNB, W.G. Strickland, A Dictionary of Irish Artists (1913), II, 236-242 (illustrated with a portrait photograph), William Stokes, The Life and labours in art and archaeology of George Petrie, LL.D.(1868), R.M. Butler, 'George Petrie: his life and work' in the Irish Builder 55, 10 May 1913, 302-308, Jeanne Sheehy, The Rediscovery of Ireland's Past: the Celtic Revival 1830-1930(1980), &c. From the 1820s onwards Petrie, through his work for the Ordnance Survey, his articles in the Dublin Penny Journal and Irish Penny Journal and other channels, made an unprecedented contribution to the systematic recording and study of ancient Irish architecture, while his paintings expressed a romantic appreciation of its picturesque qualities. His book On the Ecclesiastical Architecture of Ireland(1845), based on his 'Essay on the round towers of Ireland' which won a gold medal of the Royal Irish Academy in 1833, was the first to establish that round towers were built by early Christian communities to serve as belfries and as places of refuge in times of attack. His 'Essay on the Military Architecture of Ireland', which won a second gold medal of the Royal Irish Academy in 1834, was never published. He was in correspondence with WILLIAM VITRUVIUS MORRISON  WILLIAM VITRUVIUS MORRISON and THOMAS NEWENHAM DEANE THOMAS NEWENHAM DEANE . Though not an architect himself, he was invited in 1851(1) to furnish a design for the O'Connell memorial in Glasnevin cemetery; he proposed a simple chapel on the model of an early Irish oratory, a high cross and a round tower all standing on a raised platform, but his design was mutilated in the execution, so that only an enlarged version of the tower, with a crypt beneath, was actually built.(2)


(1) M. Craig, Dublin 1660-1860 (1952), 331.
(2) See Sheehy, op. cit., above, 58-60, for an account of the project.

1 work entries listed in chronological order for PETRIE, GEORGE

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Date: 1851?
Nature: Proposed design for oratory, round tower and high cross on raised platform. Not executed as originally designed.
Refs: Freeman's Journal, 20 Apr 1865;  Jeanne Sheehy, The Rediscovery of Ireland's Past: the Celtic Revival 1830-1930 (1980), 58-60.