Printmaker and writer Samuel Ireland first worked as a silk weaver in Spitalfields. By 1789 he was a merchant based in the Strand and from c.1758 he had a parallel career as a draughtsman and engraver. He exhibited at the Society of Artists in 1765 and the Royal Academy in 1782 and 1784. During the 1780s he etched plates after William Hogarth and others. He first published ‘Graphic Illustrations of Hogarth’ in 1790. From 1790 he also published travel books featuring his own illustrations. However, his son, William, made forged manuscript documents relating to Shakespeare and a volume of facsimiles was published in 1795. Ireland was widely considered to have committed fraud. He died from diabetes in 1800, always maintaining his innocence.
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