Orientalist Charles-Pierre-Henri Rieu was born at Geneva on 8 June 1820. He studied philosophy and science at the Académie de Genève, proceeding to study oriental languages. By 1840 he had entered the University of Bonn to read Sanskrit and Arabic. He received his doctorate in 1843. Four years later he moved to London and was appointed assistant in the Britsh Museum’s Department of Manuscripts.
In 1867 he became first holder of the office of Keeper of Oriental manuscripts. He was responsible for the Catalogue of Persian Manuscripts and the Catalogue of Turkish Manuscripts. Rieu was also for many years Professor of Arabic and Persian at University College London. He resigned his post at the BM in 1895, and died at his home, no. 28 Woburn Square, Bloomsbury, in March 1902.