Alexander Ireland, shown here with his son in 1886, is familiar as the elderly father of John Ireland. He was also a significant Manchester figure, whose knowledge and love of books had a longlasting impact on his son, as this obituary describes:
‘Sir Walter Scott, Charles Lamb, Wordsworth, Thomas Campbell, Leigh Hunt, Carlyle, George Dawson, Hawthorne, Emerson, Robert Chambers, J. Russell Lowell, Wendell Holmes, and Froude – these were the strings on which he played, and the mere reference to any one of them set him off on a monologue – interesting, vivid, varied – that held all present in rapt attention. His drawing-room was just a gallery of photographs and etchings of authors, past and present…’ (obituary, 10 Dec 1894, The Manchester Guardian: p.8).
In 1882 Alexander Ireland produced a biography of Emerson: Ralph Waldo Emerson, his life, genius and writings: a biographical sketch to which are added personal recollections of his visits to England, having met Emerson in 1833 in Edinburgh, where he heard him deliver a memorable discourse in St Mark’s Unitarian Chapel. Young Street. This biography can be viewed at the site below