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Sir Archibald Geikie (1835–1924) was a formidable and authoritarian figure who played a central part in British geology in Victorian and Edwardian times. He was a protégé of Sir Roderick Impey Murchison and became Professor of Geology at the University of Edinburgh (1871), Director of the Geological Survey of Scotland (1871) and Director-General of the Geological Survey of Great Britain (1882), a position that he held with stern, but kindly, attention to his staff until his retirement to Haslemere in 1901. He was a prolific writer of both biographies of his mentors and a huge number of books and papers on a wide variety of geological topics. His rather long-winded and self-congratulatory autobiography (Geikie 1924) was published in the year of his death. His principal hobby was as a proficient sketcher and water colourist, mostly of scenes of geological interest, many of which adorn and illustrate his published works. Geikie had a powerful influence on Victorian and Edwardian geology and was rewarded by many honours, including Fellow of the Royal Society (1864), a knighthood (1891) and the Order of Merit (1914).

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