John Bell (1793 - 1861):
John Bell was born in Camelon, near Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland, but at the age of twenty he was known in Newry, County Down, as a landscape painter. In the course of the next seven years he had a number of letters and articles published in the local press, and he lived in Armagh, Newry, Dundalk and Dublin. He was an antiquarian, collecting, it is said 'anything from flint arrowheads to traditional Irish harps'. In 1839 he was employed as drawing master at the Royal School, Dungannon. In 1844 he was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and five years later a member of the Royal Irish Academy. During this period he was collecting both antiquities and folklore in County Tyrone and investigating a number of archaeological sites throughout Ulster. His drawings frequently illustrated his own archaeological research. When the Irish Antiquities Exhibition took place in Belfast in 1852, John Bell's collection was by far the largest. It was bequeathed to the Society of Antiquaries in Edinburgh and went to their museum.
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