Robert Perceval Graves

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Robert Perceval Graves (1810–1893) was an Irish biographer and clergyman, brother of both mathematician and bishop Charles Graves[1] and jurist and mathematician John T. Graves.[2] Graves is best known for his three-volume biography of W. R. Hamilton.[3]

Life and career[edit]

Robert Perceval Graves was born in Dublin, to John Crosbie Graves (1776–1835), Chief Police Magistrate for Dublin, and Helena Perceval (1785-1835).[4] He was educated in classics at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), where he became a Scholar in 1830, getting BA (Gold Medal, 1832), MA (1837).[5]

From 1833 to 1864 he worked as a clergyman in the Lake District in England, where he became friends with Wordsworth and Hartley Coleridge.[6] On 31 May 1842 he married Helena Hutchins Bellasis (1809-1888), eldest daughter of George Hutchins Bellasis (1778-1822) and Charlotte Maude(1778-1857), of Holly Hill, Windermere. He spent the last thirty years of his life back in Dublin, where he taught at Alexandra College and also served as Vice Warden there. He was an early proponent of women being allowed access to the highest echelons of education, and in 1892 he published the pamphlet "Suggestions on the Subject of University Degrees for Women"[7] in which he urged that his alma mater TCD should admit female students (which they finally did in 1904).[8]

R. P. Graves is best remembered for his sprawling three volume Life of Sir William Rowan Hamilton, published in 1882,[9] 1885,[10] 1889.[11] TCD recognised his accomplishment by awarding him an honorary doctorate (LLD) in 1890.[8]


  1. ^ Yaglom, I.M. (1988). Felix Klein and Sophus Lie. Boston: Birkhäuser Verlag. p. 91. ISBN 0-8176-3316-2.
  2. ^ The Graves family of Yorkshire and Mickleton Manor, Gloucestershire, England Graves Family Association
  3. ^ Hamilton was a friend of his brother John and also a colleague of his brother Charles.
  4. ^ Reverend Robert Perceval Graves The Peerage by Darryl Lundy, Person Page 24788
  5. ^ Alumni Dublinenses : a register of the students, graduates, professors and provosts of Trinity College in the University of Dublin (1593-1860) Burtchaell,G.D/Sadlier, Dublin, A. Thom & Co., 1935, T.U p. 342.
  6. ^ Cooke, J. (1997), 'The Graves Family in Ireland'. /Dublin, Historical Record/, Vol. 50, No. 1 (Spring, 1997), pp. 25-39. Published by: Old Dublin Society.
  7. ^ Royal Commission on Trinity College, Dublin, and the University of Dublin: Final Report 1907: Appendix, Minutes of Evidence and Documents Great Britain Royal Commission on TCD and University of Dublin, p. 134
  8. ^ a b Rev Robert Perceval Graves Michael Farri.blogspot, August 6, 2009
  9. ^ Graves, Robert Perceval (1882). "Life of Sir William Rowan Hamilton, Volume I". Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, & Co.
  10. ^ Graves, Robert Perceval (1885). "Life of Sir William Rowan Hamilton, Volume II". Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, & Co. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ Graves, Robert Perceval (1889). "Life of Sir William Rowan Hamilton, Volume III". Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, & Co. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

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