John Hewitt Jellett
1881 – 1888 (c.1817-1888)

JH Jellett was a native of Cashel, County Tipperary, the son of a clergyman.1  He graduated from Trinity College with honors in mathematics in 1838, and was elected to Fellowship in 1840.  In 1847 he wasappointed to the newly established chair of Natural Philosophy (Applied Mathematics), which he held until 1870.  He was a scholar of considerable eminence and his publications cover the fields of pure and applied mathematics (notably the theory of friction) and the properties of optically active solutions, as well as sermons and lectures on religious topics.  Though no reformer, he was the only member of Board to support the admission of women when this was first mooted in the early 1870s.2 He was President of the Royal Irish Academy for five years from 1869, received the Royal Society’s Medal in 1881 and an honorary degree from Oxford in 1887.  His politics were sufficiently liberal to make him an acceptable candidate to Gladstone who appointed him Provost in April 1881. He died in office on 19 February 1888.

Painting Details

By Sarah Purser
Oil on canvas

  1. Anne Crookshank and David Webb, Paintings and Sculptures in Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, 1990), p. 74.
  2. J.V. Luce, Trinity College Dublin, The First 400 Years (Dublin, 1992), p. 101.