William Frederick Wakeman, Draughtsman

(b. 1822, d. 1900)


From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was son of W. F. Wakeman, a bookseller and publisher in D'Olier Street, Dublin, who was a native of Nottingham. He was born in Dublin on 12th August, 1822. As a boy he received instruction in drawing from George Petrie, through whose influence he was appointed a draughtsman and assistant in the topographical department of the Ordnance Survey. In that capacity he made a large number of pencil drawings of views and antiquities, which are preserved in the library of the Royal Irish Academy. He did many water-colour drawings of Irish scenery, and was a contributor to the exhibitions of the Royal HibernianAcademy from 1843 to 1863. The Royal Irish Art Union awarded him a prize in 1842 for a lithograph of "Thomond Bridge, Limerick."

After the abolition of his department of the Survey, he supported himself for a time as a draughtsman on wood and by teaching, but finding little to be had in Dublin from such sources he went to London for a time. He was afterwards appointed drawing-master at St. Columba's College, Stackallan, where he remained four years, resigning when the College moved to Rathfarnham. Whilst at St. Columba's he wrote his "Handbook of Irish Antiquities," published with numerous illustrations in 1848. Soon afterwards he was appointed art master at Portora Royal School, where he remained nineteen years, during thirteen of which he was also connected with the Model School at Enniskillen. During these years he contributed about fifty articles to archaeological journals, chiefly that of the Royal Archaeological Society of Ireland. He returned to Dublin in 1884.

He had gradually abandoned art for archaeology, and his later work as an artist, with the exception of a series of large drawings of antiquarian remains in County Sligo, done for Colonel Cooper of Markree Castle, was practically confined to the illustrations of works on archaeology written by himself and others. He made drawings on wood for Petrie's "Ecclesiastical Antiquities" and for his volume on "The Remains on Tara Hill," and also contributed drawings to the following works: Hall's "Ireland, its Scenery and Character," twelve illustrations; the "Irish Penny Journal"; Wilde's "TheBoyne and the Blackwater" and "Lough Corrib"; Wilde's "Catalogue of Antiquities in the Royal Irish Academy"; Archdeacon O'Rorke's "Parishes of Ballysodare and Kilvarnet"; Rev. D. O'Connor's "A Week on Lough Derg"; Colonel Wood Martin's work on "Irish Lake Dwellings"; over two hundred illustrations to Canon O'Hanlon's "Lives of the Irish Saints"; the "Dublin Saturday Magazine," Duffy's "Hibernian Magazine," besides hundreds of plates and cuts in the "Archaeological Society's Journal."

He wrote and illustrated several books dealing with the history and antiquities of Ireland, and contributed numerous articles to the "Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland" during a long series of years. His books include: "Handbook of Irish Antiquities," 1848; "Three Days on the Shannon," 1852; "A Guide to Lough Erne"; an "Account of the Island of Inishmurray," which was the monograph of the Royal Society of Antiquaries for 1885; a "General Guide to Ireland"; a "Guide to Dublin," published by Hodges and Smith; " Official Tourists' Guide to Dublin," published by Purdon and Co., and an "Illustrated Railway Chart to the North, South and West of Ireland." He also wrote a series of articles on "Old Dublin" for the Dublin "Evening Telegraph" in 1890, afterwards published in book form. He died at Coleraine on 15th October, 1900.

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