Brady, Maziere (1796–1871), lord chancellor of Ireland and patron of the arts, was born 20 July 1796 in Dublin, second of three sons of Francis Tempest Brady (1763–1821) of Willow Park, Booterstown, Co. Dublin, manufacturer of gold and silver thread, and Martha Brady (née Hodgson) of Castledawson, Co. Londonderry. He entered TCD 1 July 1811, was awarded a scholarship (1814), and graduated BA (1816) and MA (1819). His Poem on the marriage of Princess Charlotte (1816) won the vice-chancellor's prize for English verse; he later published A poem on the marriage of the prince of Wales (1863). He entered the Middle Temple in 1816, was called to the bar (1819), and worked the north-east circuit. A liberal protestant, he supported the whigs and catholic emancipation. His politics brought him to the attention of the whig government and in 1833 he was appointed commissioner on the inquiry into the reform of Irish municipal corporations, which produced its report in 1840. Although Brady had no great reputation at the bar, he became a KC in 1835, solicitor general (3 February 1837–11 February 1839), and attorney general (23 February 1839–14 August 1840). He was appointed chief baron of the court of exchequer (1840–46) and, on the accession of the whigs in 1846, he became lord chancellor of Ireland (16 July 1846–10 March 1852; reappointed 13 January 1853–10 March 1858 and 17 June 1859–24 July 1866). His appointment probably owed much to the insistence of Daniel O'Connell (qv) that the whigs ‘should govern Ireland by Irishmen’ (O'Connell corr., viii, 61), and he was only the second Irishman since the death of Lord Clare (qv) (1802) to hold the office. His subsequent tenure as lord chancellor was linked to the fortunes of whig ministries. In 1847, partly in response to O'Connell's solicitations, he restored many of the magistrates who had been dismissed in 1843 because of their repeal sympathies and also appointed several catholic magistrates to the commission of the peace. Conservative protestants were unhappy with his appointment; a pamphlet, The voice of the bar, no. 1: the reign of mediocrity (1850), lampooned him as hopelessly out of depth as chancellor. However, he was generally a popular figure, approachable and courteous, admired for his even-handedness, common sense, and plain speaking. In 1848 he dismissed a Kildare magistrate, Dr Richard Grattan (1790–1886), who had expressed his solidarity with the Young Ireland leaders convicted of treason. Concerned at sectarian clashes in Ulster, in 1857 he removed several magistrates in Co. Down who were Orangemen. Keen to reform the legal profession (he had joined the reforming Dublin Law Institute in 1839), he proposed in 1857 that the King's Inns should concentrate its resources on providing legal training, and that benchers should vote to abolish dining requirements at both the London Inns and the King's Inns in Dublin; his proposal was firmly rejected by the benchers.
A strong advocate of the foundation of the Queen's University of Ireland, in 1850 he was nominated to its senate and became its first vice-chancellor (1851–71). As an exponent of the policies of liberal governments, he was one of the senate's most influential members, and was also an active member of the National Board of Education (1847–71). Keenly interested in the arts, he was elected MRIA (1832), and was president of both the Irish Art Union and the Academy of Music. A prime mover behind the foundation of the National Gallery of Ireland, he loaned it £3,700 in 1856 to buy thirteen paintings from his agent in Rome to help begin its collections, sat on its board of governors (1855–71), and generally took an enthusiastic interest in its development. On his retirement as lord chancellor in 1866, he devoted himself to scientific studies, especially geology and conchology. He was already the director of several mining companies and had built up a fine collection of geological specimens. On 19 January 1869 he was created a baronet on Gladstone's recommendation. He resided successively in Dublin on Baggot St., Blessington St., Harcourt St., and Upper Pembroke St., and near Dublin at Hazlebrook, Terenure. He died 13 April 1871 at 26 Upper Pembroke St., and was buried in Mount Jerome cemetery. His eldest son Francis William Brady (qv) succeeded him. Sir Maziere's portrait as lord chancellor (1874), painted by Thomas Alfred Jones (qv), is in the National Gallery of Ireland.
He married first (26 July 1823) Elizabeth Anne Buchanan (d. 1858) of Dublin (they had two sons and three daughters); and secondly (15 December 1860) Mary Hatchell (d. 1891), second daughter of John Hatchell (1783–1870), QC, of Fortfield, Terenure, Co. Dublin, solicitor general (1847–50) and attorney general of Ireland (1850–52).