Creative Commons License  This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 International License

A Victorian Marriage : Sir William Rowan Hamilton. Read the essay in BookReader

Background information, the essay in pdf and epub version, and further publications

Miscellaneous






People featuring in Hamilton’s biography





Sir and Lady Hamilton in 1843 at Broom Bridge - 2012 sandsculpture by Daniel Doyle
The Hamilton couple at Broom Bridge:
Hamilton cuts 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 good marriage and an interested wife.

According to their website http://www.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 https://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.


The Hamilton Couple

Sir William Rowan Hamilton and Lady Helen Maria Hamilton Bayly ca 1855
Sir William Rowan Hamilton and Lady Helen Maria Hamilton Bayly
(1805-1865) and (1804-1869)
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.
The photos are taken around 1855. Hamilton's photo is slightly damaged,
which can be seen at the left side of his face.

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.” [Graves 1882, 166-167]. This description seems to be in very good agreement with the bust made around 1833.



Six times Sir William Rowan Hamilton

Sir William Rowan Hamilton ca 1833
Hamilton around 1833
Reproduced from Graves, R.P.
(1882), Life of Sir William Rowan
Hamilton,
Vol. I.
Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, & Co.
https://archive.org
Sir William Rowan Hamilton ca 1846
Hamilton around 1846
Reproduced from Hankins, T.L.
(1980), Sir William Rowan
Hamilton
.
Baltimore: The Johns
Hopkins University Press.
Sir William Rowan Hamilton ca 1855.png
Hamilton around 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 seemingly in his fifties
Reproduced from
Graves, R.P. (1889), Life of Sir
William Rowan Hamilton,
Vol. III.
Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, & Co.
https://archive.org
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.
https://archive.org
Sir William Rowan Hamilton ca 1864
Hamilton around 1864
Reproduced from Wayman, P.A.
(1987), Dunsink Observatory,
1785-1985
. Dublin: The Royal
Dublin Society and The Dublin
Institute for Advanced Studies.

There is another bust, made in 1830 by Thomas Kirk, which can be seen on the website of the National Gallery of Ireland. Comparing this bust with the six portraits above, it is quite imaginable that Graves preferred the 1833 minibust made by Terence Farrell. According to Graves, it was during an 1830 visit to the Dunravens, the parents of his pupil Lord Adare, that “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. 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 [1st] volume an autotype copy from a cast taken from the model of the latter.” [Graves 1882, 370].

Graves also commented on the 1859 photograph and the bust made in 1867, both shown above: “I take the opportunity of expressing my opinion that this representation of his features [the 1859 photograph] 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].

And since this is my webpage, I would like to add that, compared to the photographs and busts Graves specifically chose as representing Hamilton in the best way, the painting by Sarah Purser is not a good liking, even though I like other paintings by her very much. The problem is that in the painting Hamilton has a very different look in comparison to the six portraits and does not show what they show, precisely that what Graves called the “reverent benevolent sage.” I have often wondered whether I would have believed him enough to write my essay had I only known this painting. It can be seen on the website of the Royal Irish Academy.




The Hamilton Children

William Edwin Hamilton
William Edwin (1834-1902)
Reproduced from the Chatham
this Week
of 8 October 2013:
Hamilton listed cost of everything
in his diary, by J. Rhodes
www.chathamthisweek.com
Archibald Henry (1835-1914)
Reproduced from
Hankins, T.L. (1980),
Sir William Rowan Hamilton.
Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins
University Press.
Helen Eliza Amelia (1840-1870)
Reproduced from
Hankins, T.L. (1980),
Sir William Rowan Hamilton.
Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins
University Press.


Family, friends and colleagues

Sydney Hamilton (1810-1889)
Reproduced from
Hankins, T.L. (1980),
Sir William Rowan Hamilton.
Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins
University Press.
Lady Campbell (1796-1869)
Reproduced from
Campbell, G. (1904),
Edward and Pamela Fitzgerald.
London: Edward Arnold.
https://archive.org
Sir Guy Campbell (1786-1849)
Reproduced from
the collection of the Royal
Regiment of Fusiliers Museum.
(Royal Warwickshire)
www.warwickfusiliers.co.uk
Augustus De Morgan
(1806-1871)
Reproduced from
math.info - History -
Mathematicians.
apprendre-math.info
Aubrey de Vere (1814-1902)
Reproduced from
De Vere, A. (1897), Recol-
lections of Aubrey de Vere.

London: Edward Arnold.
https://archive.org
Lady Wilde (1821-1896)
Reproduced from
Sherard, R.H. (1916),
The real Oscar Wilde.
London: T. Werner Laurie.
https://archive.org
John Graves (1806-1870)
Reproduced from
Brown, E., Rice, A. (2013),
From points of inflection
to bones of contention.

TalkSlides/Brown_Rice.pdf
Robert Graves (1810-1893)
Reproduced from
The Graves Family of York-
shire and Mickleton Manor,
Gloucestershire, England.

www.gravesfa.org
Charles Graves
(1812-1899)
Reproduced from
Oakley, Ch.'s home page,
subpage: Charles Graves.
www.cgoakley.org
Earl of Dunraven
(1782-1850)
Reproduced from
BBC: Your Paintings. From
The National Library of Wales.
www.bbc.co.uk/arts
Countess of Dunraven
(ca 1789-1870)
Reproduced from
Bridgend County Borough
Council, Hall of Fame.
www1.bridgend.gov.uk
Lord Adare (1812-1871)
Reproduced from
Wikipedia: Edwin Richard
Wyndham-Quin,
3rd Earl of Dunraven
www.wikipedia.org
Maria Edgeworth
(1768-1849)
Reproduced from
Wikipedia:
Maria Edgeworth
www.wikipedia.org
Humphrey Lloyd
(ca 1800-1881)
Reproduced from
Trinity College Dublin,
Provost & President
https://www.tcd.ie
Peter Guthrie Tait (1831-1901)
Reproduced from
The Tait Institute,
Mathematical Physics at the
University of Edinburgh.
www.tait.ac.uk
William Wordsworth
(1770-1850)
Reproduced from The Poems
of William Wordsworth

1847, London: Edward Moxon.
https://archive.org
Mary Wordsworth (1770-1859)
Reproduced from
Rydal Mount & Gardens
The Historic Home & Gardens
of William Wordsworth
http://www.rydalmount.co.uk
Dora Quillinan Wordsworth
(1804-1847)
Reproduced from Beal, O. (2009)
Dora Wordsworth : A Poet's Daugh-
ter
. Lancashire: Mayoh Press.
www.bookscumbria.com
Marquess of Northampton
(1790-1851)
Reproduced from
Wikipedia: Spencer Compton,
2nd Marquess of Northampton
https://en.wikipedia.org
Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873)
Reproduced from
BBC: Your Paintings. From the
Department of Earth Sciences
and Sedgwick Museum.
www.bbc.co.uk/arts
Clement Mansfield Ingleby
(1823-1886)
Reproduced from BBC: Your Pain-
tings. From Redbridge Museum,
Ilford Central Library, London.
www.bbc.co.uk/arts
John Pringle Nichol
(1804-1859)
Reproduced from
The University of Glasgow
Story, People, Biography.
www.universitystory.gla.ac.uk
John Nichol
(1833-1894)
Reproduced from
The University of Glasgow
Story, People, Biography.
www.universitystory.gla.ac.uk
John Herschel (1792-1871)
Reproduced from
Clerke, Agnes M. (1895)
The Herschels and modern
astronomy
. London: Cassel & Co
https://archive.org
George Biddell Airy
(1801-1892)
Reproduced from
The National Portrait Gallery,
Photographs Collection.
http://www.npg.org.uk
Thomas Romney Robinson
(1792-1882)
Reproduced from
Orden pour le Mérite für
Wissenschaften und Künste.
www.orden-pourlemerite.de
Lord Rosse
(1800-1867)
Reproduced from
Wikipedia: William Parsons,
3rd Earl of Rosse
https://en.wikipedia.org
Lady Rosse
(1813-1885)
Reproduced from
Wikipedia: Mary Rosse,
Countess of Rosse,
https://en.wikipedia.org