Strickland, Walter George (1850–1928), art historian, bibliographer and antiquary, was born in South Africa on 3 June 1850, son of Thomas Strickland, of the family of Sizergh castle, Kendal, Westmorland (Cumbria), England. Educated at Ushaw College, Durham, and King's College, London, he spent part of his youth in the west of Ireland, where his uncle was agent for the Viscount Dillon. He travelled extensively, and when in Australia met Margaret Ryan, daughter of Patrick Ryan, of Sevenhills, South Australia; they married in Dublin (1 June 1874) and had two sons and a daughter. Becoming registrar of the National Gallery of Ireland (NGI) (1894–1914), he made important contributions in the fields of portraiture and historical painting; he compiled a catalogue of the gallery's national portrait section, applying his detailed knowledge of Irish biography. On formation of the Georgian Society, he was appointed to the original editorial subcommittee; as editor of the first two volumes of the society's richly illustrated journal (1909–10), he oversaw the production of photographs and engravings of features of eighteenth-century domestic architecture and decoration, and wrote extensive explanatory notes comprising architectural description and historical background. He wrote an article on the Irish portrait painter Hugh Douglas Hamilton (qv), published in the Walpole Society in 1913. His extensive research over some twenty years into the history of Irish art and artists culminated in publication of A dictionary of Irish artists (1913), cataloguing the lives of artists, engravers, and sculptors from the earliest times, and including many reproductions of portraits. The book also comprises an account of Irish art societies and art institutions. Strickland's foremost achievement, and a landmark study of a previously unexplored topic, the publication remains a reliable reference work.
On the death of Hugh Lane (qv) in May 1915, Strickland was appointed director of the NGI. He carried out a new arrangement of the gallery before retiring in June 1916. He contributed two articles on ‘Pictures in the national gallery’ to the Irish Monthly, vol. xliv (1916), and published A descriptive catalogue of the pictures, busts, and statues in Trinity College Dublin, and in the Provost's House (1916). Elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) in 1917, he served two terms on its council (1919–22 and 1924–7), and was vice-president at various times between 1920 and 1927. In 1919 he was asked to examine the portraits in the Academy with regard to their preservation. He lectured at the RIA in 1921 on ‘The ancient system of municipal government in Dublin, its origin and development’. He collaborated with Francis Elrington Ball (qv) on marginal notes and corrections to Christopher Teeling McCready's Dublin street names (1892); their copy was presented to the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland (RSAI) in 1917. Strickland's deep interest in mezzotint engraving led him to undertake wider researches into the history of Dublin city. He lectured in 1919 on early Dublin book illustrations to the Bibliographical Society of Ireland, showing reproductions of many eighteenth-century engravings. His paper on type-founding in Dublin, read in 1920, was published by the bibliographical society as a monograph in 1921. He was the society's president in 1925. He read a short paper to the RSAI in 1919 (published in Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, l (1920)) on a 1750 Dublin edition of the Book of common prayer recently presented to the society, casting doubt on the tradition that the copy in question had belonged to the Irish house of commons. Appointed honorary general secretary of the RSAI (1920–27), he held the position until resigning owing to ill health. In 1923 he published two articles in the RSAI's journal: ‘The ancient official seals of the city of Dublin’, which included a description of the common seal provided in 1229 to William Fitz Robert for his service as clerk of the city; and ‘Irish soldiers in the service of Henry VIII’, which was accompanied by a print depicting Irish soldiers at the siege of Boulogne in 1544. After residing in Dublin for many years at 50 Waterloo Road, in the 1920s Strickland lived at 118 Lower Baggot Street, before moving to Newtown House, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, where he died 26 October 1928.