Top of page The Hamilton couple at Broom Bridge Two times the Hamiltons Nine times Sir William Rowan Hamilton The Hamilton children Family, friends and colleagues Miscellaneous portraits of family, friends and colleagues

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Entrance page – this website, Hamilton’s work, summary of A Victorian Marriage

A Victorian Marriage – publications and background information

Catherine Disney – background information, James and Jane Barlow

Miscellaneous – Hamiltoniana, and a bit of Physics

Climate change – we have to clean out the waste bin above our heads



My books can be read in the Internet Archive’s BookReader:

A Victorian Marriage : Sir William Rowan Hamilton

Catherine Disney : a biographical sketch


Contact










Photos of people in Hamilton’s biography





Sir and Lady Hamilton in 1843 at Broom Bridge - 2012 sand sculpture by Daniel Doyle
The Hamilton couple at Broom Bridge:
Hamilton scratches the fundamental quaternion formula on a stone of the bridge


Depicted in 2012 as i2=j2=k2=ijk=-1 by Fleeting Sculpture’s Daniel Doyle, this beautiful sand sculpture of Hamilton's discovery of quaternions on the 16th of October 1843 shows, as argued in the essay A Victorian Marriage, a good marriage and an interested wife.

According to their website fleetingsculpture.com (archived), Fleeting Sculpture, previously known by its Irish name Duthain Dealbh, was formed officially in 2001 to facilitate the production of large scale sculpture projects and documentary / film making. Made up of two Irish Sculptors Daniel Doyle and Niall Magee who are both graduates of Fine Art Sculpture, DIT, Dublin, Ireland.

For more photos of this sculpture see DanielDoyle - Hamilton, and for the total sculpture adventuringwithkids.wordpress.com/2012/08. For the making of the sculpture see An ode to science, carved from sand and water by Mark O'Regan, 08 Aug 2012.

On the other side of the sculpture Hamilton can be seen, “trying to understand the 3-Dimension world which led him to the equation,” see Daniel Doyle - Quaternians. And here is a slideshow of the making of the sculpture.

© Daniel Doyle. Shown here with permission.



The Hamilton Couple

Sir William Rowan Hamilton and Lady Helena Maria Hamilton née Bayly ca 1855
Sir William Rowan Hamilton and Lady Helena Maria Hamilton née Bayly around 1855.
Reproduced from Wayman, P.A. (1987), Dunsink Observatory, 1785-1985 : A Bicentennial History. Dublin: The Royal Dublin Society and The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. Hamilton’s photo is slightly damaged, which can be seen at the left side of his face.



Sir William Rowan Hamilton and Lady Helena Maria Hamilton née Bayly ca 1860
Sir William Rowan Hamilton and Lady Helena Maria Hamilton née Bayly around 1860.
Reproduced (and then slightly adapted by removing some blots) from a tweet from TCD Research Collections, and from a photo of a photo in possession of Trinity College Dublin Library. It is shown here courtesy of the Board of Trinity College Dublin.


Graves described Hamilton as follows: “It may be well here to give the reader such an outline as can be drawn by memory of Hamilton’s personal appearance at this time of his life [1824]. He was of middle height, but his breadth of shoulders and amplitude of chest made him appear shorter than he really was. His head, when in social intercourse, he generally carried with an upward inclination, giving to full view his countenance beaming with an expression of ingenuous cheerfulness and receptivity. His features were not either beautiful or handsome, but there was a certain harmony in their combination which indicated strength, and in these early years produced almost the effect of good looks. His eyes were light blue; his hair was a dark silky chestnut: his nose rather broad below, the distance between it and the mouth being somewhat in excess [...]. The mouth itself of moderate size, with upper lip flexible in speaking, and slightly pouting when at rest; the chin well shaped and firm, while the breadth of the skull at its base, and its equable hemispherical development, betokened at first view a certain intellectual grandeur. He was strong and active on his limbs; his hands were soft and fair; his fingers, as has been noted by his friend Professor De Morgan, broad at the ends, and apparently not adapted for nice manipulations. Yet his manuscript, even when very minute, was exceptionally clear; and the drawing of his mathematical diagrams, which were often of great complexity, was remarkable for neatness and accuracy.”




Nine times Sir William Rowan Hamilton

William Rowan Hamilton 1830
Hamilton in 1830
Reproduced from the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin. The Gallery has two photos of the bust. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.
William Rowan Hamilton 1833
Hamilton in 1833
Reproduced from Graves, R.P. (1882), Life of Sir William Rowan Hamilton, Vol. I. Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, & Co. archive.org
Sir William Rowan Hamilton ca 1846
Hamilton ca 1846
Reproduced from Ch. Mollan et al., (2002), Irish Innovators in Science and Technology. Royal Irish Academy Courtesy Trinity College Dublin.
Sir William Rowan Hamilton ca 1855
Hamilton ca 1855
Reproduced from Wayman, P.A. (1987), Dunsink Observatory, 1785-1985. Dublin: The Royal Dublin Society and The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.
Sir William Rowan Hamilton bust TCD
Hamilton as if in his fifties
Reproduced from Graves, R.P. (1889), Life of Sir William Rowan Hamilton, Vol. III. Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, & Co.
archive.org
Sir William Rowan Hamilton bust by John Power
Hamilton as if in his fifties
2019 clay sculpture by Max Power in recognition of endeavours on behalf of WRH. The bust does not exist any more. Courtesy Max Power.
Sir William Rowan Hamilton 1859
Hamilton in 1859
Reproduced from Graves, R.P. (1889), Life of Sir William Rowan Hamilton, Vol. II. Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, & Co. archive.org
Sir William Rowan Hamilton ca 1861
Hamilton ca 1861
Reproduced from “What is Life? Celebrating Erwin Schrödinger.” Manuscripts at Trinity College Dublin.
Sir William Rowan Hamilton ca 1864
Hamilton ca 1864
Reproduced from Wayman, P.A. (1987), Dunsink Observatory, 1785-1985. Dublin: The Royal Dublin Society and The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.

The first bust shown above was made in 1830 by Thomas Kirk. Graves writes that during a visit to the Dunravens, the parents of his pupil Lord Adare, “Lord Dunraven requested him to sit to Kirk, the Dublin sculptor, for a marble bust. The request was complied with before the end of 1830; and one of Hamilton’s letters intimates the fact that, as part of he preparation for its execution, he had to submit to a cast being taken from his head. The bust may therefore be supposed faithfully to represent his cranial development, and in this respect to possess a permanent value.” Graves then compares the 1830 bust with the 1833 one, “in its representation, however, of the features of the face, it seems to me to be inferior as a likeness to a miniature bust executed in 1833 by Mr. Terence Farrell [...]. I have therefore preferred to prefix as frontispiece to this [first] volume an autotype copy from a cast taken from the model of the latter.” According to a note made by Clement Ingleby, given in his 1867 book ‘Memorabilia and memorials of Sir William Rowan Hamilton : collected in his honour by Clement Mansfield Ingleby’, the first bust was (at that time?) in the possession of Lord Dunraven, the second one in that of Lord Talbot de Malahide.

In his book Ingleby also gave a comment from William Edwin Hamilton, that the portrait of Hamilton and one of his sons, made around 1846, is a part of a daguerreotype of Sir William, Lady Helen and their family, made by the artist Glukman. “From this portrait Messrs Nelson and Mayhall took the glass negative, of which it is a print.”* The portrait as shown above is a part of the picture of Hamilton and his son, which itself thus is a part of the family photo. In my AVM  I had placed the part showing the son, surmising it was William Edwin, in the third row of the overview of the Hamilton family. The fact that William Edwin does not comment on who the boy in the photo is, underpins the suggestion that it is he, and not Archibald.

* The artists were Leone Glukman, 24 Upper Sackville Street, Dublin, and Nelson & Marshall, at no. 11.

The 1855 photo comes from a family album of the O’Regan family, together with the photo of Lady Hamilton. It was given in the book about Dunsink by Patrick Wayman. He also showed the 1864 portrait, with the caption, “The last known photograph of Sir William, taken in 1864 or thereabouts. This photograph, from the records of the O’Regan family, is referred to in an extant letter from Helen Eliza Hamilton, before her marriage, to Ann O’Regan, sister of her future husband, the Venerable John O’Regan, dated 8 March, 1866 (J. O’R.).” I took the liberty of flipping the photo, because of similarities with the one from 1861. Of that photo I do not know anything except that it was used in the online celebration of Schrodinger, but I did take out some of the blots on his face. For what I did see the comparison.

Graves regarded the 1859 photograph and the photograph made from the 1867 bust, showing Hamilton seemingly in his fifties, as the best images of Hamilton. “I take the opportunity of expressing my opinion that this representation of his features [the 1859 photograph, given as a frontispiece to the second volume] stands out from all other photographs of him which I have seen (and I believe I have seen almost all that were taken), as alone doing something like justice to the combined intellectual and moral character of the subject. It exhibits, I think, both in conformation and expression, the profound thinker, the reverent benevolent sage. The marble bust in the Library of Trinity College is from the hand of Foley, and a photograph from it supplies the frontispiece to the present [3rd] volume. Our eminent sculptor never had the advantage of seeing Sir W.R. Hamilton, and had to work from small photographs and a cast of the anterior half of the head. The aspect which the photograph presents will, however, be acknowledged by all who knew the living man to be both fine and like.” [Graves 1889, 120]. Power, who made the newest addition, used the 1859 photo and the Foley bust, and it is so much like the image of Hamilton I have in my mind that seeing it for the first time it seemed to me as if the Foley bust had turned around to look at something else. But with an even better likeness to the 1859 photo, which is the reason I placed it between those two images.

Every now and then I look at the painting by Sarah Purser, and ask myself why I do not like it at all. Even though I like other paintings by Purser very much, to me this painting has nothing to do with the photos, and with what Graves specifically mentioned as representing Hamilton in the best way. The problem is that even though it may have had likeness, in the painting Hamilton’s facial expression is very different from the photos. Painted in 1894, and therefore perhaps influenced by the then already starting gossip, it shows a dissatisfied and judging man. And it does not show what the photos show, the “reverent benevolent sage” as Graves called it. I have often wondered whether I would have believed him enough to write my essay had I only known Purser's painting. It can be seen on the website of the Royal Irish Academy.





The Hamilton Children

William Edwin Hamilton
William Edwin Hamilton (1834-1902)
Reproduced from the Chatham this Week of 8 October 2013: Hamilton listed cost of everything in his diary, by J. Rhodes. chathamthisweek
Archibald Henry Hamilton
Archibald Henry Hamilton (1835-1914)
Reproduced from Hankins, T.L. (1980), Sir William Rowan Hamilton. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Helen Eliza Amelia O’Regan née Hamilton
Helen Eliza Amelia O’Regan née Hamilton (1840-1870)
Reproduced from Hankins, T.L. (1980), Sir William Rowan Hamilton. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.



Family, friends and colleagues

Sydney Margaret Hamilton (1810-1889)
Reproduced from Hankins, T.L. (1980), Sir William Rowan Hamilton. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Lady Campbell, Pamela FitzGerald (1796-1869)
Reproduced from Campbell, G. (1904), Edward and Pamela FitzGerald. London: Edward Arnold. archive.org
Sir Guy Campbell (1786-1849)
Reproduced from the collection of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Museum, Royal Warwickshire. warwickfusiliers
Augustus De Morgan (1806-1871)
Reproduced from math.info - History - Mathematicians. apprendre-math.info
Aubrey Thomas de Vere (1814-1902)
Reproduced from Vere, A. de (1897), Recollections of Aubrey de Vere. London: Edward Arnold. archive.org
Lady Wilde, Jane Francesca Agnes Elgee, Speranza (1821-1896)
Reproduced from Sherard, R.H. (1916), The real Oscar Wilde. London: T. Werner Laurie. archive.org
John Thomas Graves (1806-1870)
Reproduced from Brown, E., Rice, A. (2013), From points of inflection
to bones of contention.
Brown_Rice
Robert Perceval Graves (1810-1893)
Reproduced from The Graves Family of Yorkshire and Mickleton Manor, Gloucestershire, England. gravesfa.org
Charles Graves (1812-1899)
Reproduced from Oakley, Ch.'s home page, subpage: Charles Graves. cgoakley.org
Earl of Dunraven, Windham Henry Quin (1782-1850)
Reproduced from BBC: Your Paintings. From The National Library of Wales. bbc.co.uk/arts
Countess of Dunraven, Caroline Wyndham (ca 1789-1870)
Reproduced from Bridgend County Borough Council, Hall of Fame. bridgend.gov.uk
Earl of Dunraven, Lord Adare, Edwin Richard Wyndham Quin (1812-1871)
Reproduced from Wikipedia, wikipedia.org
Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849)
Reproduced from Wikipedia: Maria Edgeworth. wikipedia.org
Humphrey Lloyd (ca 1800-1881)
Reproduced from Trinity College Dublin, Provost & President. tcd.ie
Peter Guthrie Tait (1831-1901)
Reproduced from The Tait Institute, Mathematical Physics at the University of Edinburgh. tait.ac.uk
William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
Reproduced from The Poems of William Wordsworth 1847, London: Edward Moxon. archive.org
Mary Wordsworth née Hutchinson (1770-1859)
Reproduced from Rydal Mount & Gardens The Historic Home & Gardens of William Wordsworth. rydalmount.co.uk
Dora Quillinan née Wordsworth (1804-1847)
Reproduced from Beal, O. (2009) Dora Wordsworth : A Poet's Daughter. Lancashire: Mayoh Press. bookscumbria.com
Marquess of Northampton, Spencer Joshua Alwyne Compton (1790-1851)
Reproduced from Wikipedia: Spencer Compton, 2nd Marquess of Northampton. en.wikipedia.org
Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873)
Reproduced from BBC: Your Paintings. From the Department of Earth Sciences and Sedgwick Museum. bbc.co.uk/arts
Clement Mansfield Ingleby (1823-1886)
Reproduced from BBC: Your Paintings. From Redbridge Museum, Ilford Central Library, London. bbc.co.uk/arts
John Pringle Nichol (1804-1859)
Reproduced from The University of Glasgow Story, People, Biography. universitystory.gla.ac.uk
John Nichol (1833-1894)
Reproduced from The University of Glasgow Story, People, Biography. universitystory.gla.ac.uk
John Frederick William Herschel (1792-1871)
Reproduced from Clerke, Agnes M. (1895) The Herschels and modern astronomy. London: Cassel & Co archive.org
George Biddell Airy (1801-1892)
Reproduced from The National Portrait Gallery, Photographs Collection. npg.org.uk
Thomas Romney Robinson (1792-1882)
Reproduced from Orden pour le Mérite für Wissenschaften und Künste. orden-pourlemerite.de
Lady Rosse, Mary Field (1813-1885)
Reproduced from Mollan, R.C. (ed.) (2015), William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse. Manchester: Manchester University Press. books.google.com
Lord Rosse, William Parsons (1800-1867)
Reproduced from Wikimedia: William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse. upload.wikimedia.org



Miscellaneous portraits of family, friends and colleagues

Tait and Steele, Peterhouse Group
Peter Guthrie Tait and his friend William John Steele (1831-1855)
“Peterhouse Group of Graduates; from a faded photograph. P.G. Tait and W.J. Steele are the first and third, reckoning from the left. Date, 1852.” Life and scientific work of Peter Guthrie Tait.