Unfurling the Foliage


A section of the stair hall ceiling at Powerscourt House, Dublin. Designed in the early 1770s by Robert Mack, this served as the town residence for the Viscounts Powerscourt until sold to the government in 1807 for £500 less than it had cost to build. The house is rightly famous for its ebullient decoration, not least this ceiling by stuccodore James McCullagh which, along with the surrounding walls, features a riot of compartmentalised acanthus scrolls. The plasterwork in Powerscourt House is of superior quality but difficult to appreciate since the building, which has served as a shopping centre for the past three decades, is excessively cluttered with confusing signage.

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