OLIVER, ARCHER JAMES (1774–1842), portrait-painter and associate of the Royal Academy, was born in 1774. In 1791 he exhibited a portrait of himself at the Royal Academy, and in 1793 was admitted a student in the schools of that institution. He was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy and the British Institution for fifty years, his chief work being portraits, though he occasionally painted small domestic subjects of still-life. At one time Oliver had a large and fashionable practice as a portrait-painter, with a studio in New Bond Street. He was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1807. Latterly his practice fell off, and he was appointed curator of the painting school of the Royal Academy. Towards the end of his life his health failed, and he was supported to a great extent out of the Academy funds. Oliver died in 1842.
[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760-1880; Sandby's Hist. of the Royal Academy; Royal Academy Catalogues.]
OLIVER, GEORGE, D.D. (1781–1861), catholic divine and historian of Exeter, was born at Newington, Surrey, on 9 Feb. 1781, and was educated, first at Sedgley Park, Staffordshire, and afterwards at Stonyhurst College, where he taught humanities for five years. From an early age he was devoted to the study of antiquities, and while at Stonyhurst he rode with John Milner, afterwards bishop of Castabala, to explore the abbey of Whalley (Husenbeth, Life of Milner, p. 121). During the eleven years that he spent at Stonyhurst, Father Charles Plowden was his spiritual director, and took much interest in the progress of his literary studies (Oliver, Jesuit Collections, p. 168). He was promoted to holy orders at Durham by Dr. Gibson, bishop of Acanthus, in May 1806. In October 1807 he was sent to the ancient mission of the Society of Jesus at St. Nicholas, Exeter, as successor to Father Thomas Lewis (Western Antiquary, iv. 42). This mission he served for forty-four years, retiring from active duty on 6 Oct. 1851. He continued, however, to reside in the priory, and occupied the same room till the day of his death. During the whole of his career he enjoyed the regard of members of his own faith, and was highly esteemed by his fellow-citizens of all denominations.
Oliver was nearly the last survivor of a number of catholic priests, pupils of the English Jesuits, who, though never entering the society, always remained in the service of the English province, and subject to its superiors (Foley, Records, vii. 559). On 30 March 1843 he was elected an honorary member of the Historical Society of Boston, U.S., and on 15 Sept. 1844 he was created D.D. by Pope Gregory XVI. On the erection of the canonical chapters in 1852, after the restoration of the hierarchy by Pope Pius IX, Oliver was appointed provost of the chapter of Plymouth, which dignity he resigned in 1857. He died at St. Nicholas Priory, Exeter, on 23 March 1861, and was buried on 2 April near the high altar in his chapel. Oliver's numerous works relate principally to the county of Devon, and are standard authorities. The titles of his chief publications are: 1. 'Historic Collections relating to the Monasteries in Deyon,' Exeter, 1820, 8vo. 2. 'The History of Exeter,' Exeter, 1821, 8vo; 2nd edit. Exeter, 1861, 8vo. In some respects the first edition is more useful than the second. An index to the second edition, privately printed in 1884, was compiled by J. S. Attwood. 8. A translation of Father John Gerard's Latin 'Autobiography' from the manuscript at Stonyhurst College; printed in fourteen Numbers of the 'Catholic Ipectator,' 1823-6. 4. 'Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Devon, being Observations on many Churches in Devonshire, originally published in the "Exeter and Plymouth Gazette," with a Letter on the Preservation and Restoration of our Churches,' Exeter, 1828, 12mo; written in conjunction with the Rev. John Pike Jones of North Bovey, who, however, only contributed the introduction and the descriptions of twelve churches. 5. 'Ecclesiastical Antiquities in Devon, being Observations on several Churches in Devonshire, with some Memoranda for the History of Cornwall; 3 vols., Exeter, 1839-40-1842, 8vo. Although professedly a second edition of the former work, it possesses claims to be considered an entirely new one. The introduction is the only contribution of the Rev. J. P. Jones that was retained. An extended edition was sent to the press, and partly printed, but never published. It was intended to contain a complete list, arranged in alphabetical order, of all the churches described by Oliver, many of which had not appeared in the previous editions. 6. 'Cliffordiana,' privately printed, Exeter , 12mo, containing a detailed account of the Clifford family, three funeral addresses, and a descriptive list of the pictures at Ugbrooke Park. The author made collections for an enlarged edition of this work. These were probably utilised in a series of thirteen articles on the 'Cliffords of Devonshire' that appeared in the 'Exeter Flying Post' between 1 June and 29 Sept. 1857. 7. 'Memoir of the Lord Treasurer Clifford,' London [1828 ?], 8vo, reprinted from the 'Catholic