Discursive Modes in the Antiquarian Image: Irish Antiquities in the 1840s

The Irish artist and antiquarian George Petrie's publication The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Ireland (1845) refers to its illustrations by George Hanlon as exemplary instances of accuracy and truthfulness, very different in kind to picturesque depictions. Petrie's statement prompts further thoughts about the function of archaeological/antiquarian illustration and the possibility of its attaining the standard Petrie endorses. Charles Sanders Peirce's semiotic system (index, icon, and symbol) is drawn on to refine understandings of this imagery and to underline the coded nature of visual communication.