Baily, William Hellier (1819–88), palaeontologist and artist, was born 7 July 1819 in Bristol, England, into a family of carvers and sculptors. He was curatorial assistant of Bristol museum (1837–44); served the Geological Survey of Great Britain as draughtsman (1844), assistant geologist (1845–54), and assistant naturalist (1854–7); and with the Geological Survey of Ireland (1857–88) was geologist (later senior geologist) and acting palaeontologist, and also demonstrator in palaeontology at the Royal College of Science for Ireland (1868–88). Baily first came to attention as a draughtsman, and his palaeontological illustrations appeared in many Geological Survey and other scientific publications. He was as competent working on stone as on wood, and his work was valued for its accuracy and style. From 1857 he was responsible for naming and curating the large number of fossils collected by officers of the Geological Survey of Ireland. He wrote forty-three papers on a variety of palaeontological topics and contributed notes to thirty-two of the memoirs of the Geological Survey of Ireland. He described many species new to science, including plants from Devonian rocks of Kiltorcan, Co. Kilkenny, crustaceans and an amphibian from the coal measures of Kilkenny, and (with Alexander Carte) the large marine reptile Rhomaleosaurus cramptoni from Jurassic rocks in Yorkshire. His most important endeavour was his book Figures of characteristic British fossils with descriptive remarks: Palaeozoic, published in parts (1867–75). Near the end of his life he published Rambles on the Irish coast: Dublin (1886), the first and only volume in a projected series on the natural history of the Irish coast. Baily was awarded the Wollaston Fund by the Geological Society of London in 1867, and was an MRIA. He moved frequently and lived at seven addresses in the Rathgar–Rathmines area of Dublin between 1859 and 1888. He married Ann Elizabeth Rawlins (1822–87); they had eleven children, some of whom died in infancy. Four of his daughters emigrated to Australia. He died in Rathmines 6 August 1888 at the age of 69 after a long illness, and is buried in Mount Jerome cemetery, Dublin. The bulk of his palaeontological collections are in the Geological Survey of Ireland; a small number are in TCD. The skeleton of Rhomaleosaurus cramptoni is in the National Museum of Ireland.
[H. B. Woodward], obit., Geological Magazine, decade 3, v (1888), 431–2; 575–6; W. T. Blandford, obit., Proceedings of the Geological Society of London, xlv (1889), 39–41; R. L. Praeger, Some Irish naturalists (1949), 43–4; G. L. Herries Davies, Sheets of many colours (1983); id., North from the Hook (1995); personal knowledge