A Light Hand

Home since 1870 to the Royal Irish Academy of Music, No.36 Westland Row, Dublin was originally  built by Nicholas Tench in 1771 and nine years later leased to Sir Samuel Bradstreet, lawyer and politician: it is thought that the house’s decorative scheme dates from around this time. The neoclassical plasterwork in the main reception rooms is very fine and has been tentatively attributed by Conor Lucey to stuccodore Michael Stapleton, drawing on designs made by Thomas Penrose, architect and Inspector of Civil Buildings for the Board of Works: Penrose also acted as agent for the English architect James Wyatt who had many clients in Ireland. These photographs show some of the plasterwork in a ground floor room adjacent to the entrance hall, and include a series of grisaille medallions with classical figures painted by an unknown hand.

6 comments on “A Light Hand

  1. sylvia wright says:

    They’re beautiful!

  2. claudius1889 says:

    Very plain and sober, like everything neoclassical. Simply beautiful, Thank you

  3. Dougal Paver says:

    Utterly delightful. Thanks for sharing.

  4. As a recent follower (especially on Instagram) I have thoroughly enjoyed all your posts – but especially those concerning stucco plastering. At least three generations of my family were plasterers (some sources have described them as stucco plasterers) in the area around Castledawson/ Magherafelt in County Londonderry. This would have been at the end of the 18th and during the first 60 years of the 19th century. Documentary evidence of their lives is hard to come by – but I know there were some fine houses built in the area during the Georgian/ Victoria period… not to mention commercial premises like banks and so on, all of which would require the skills. I am struggling to know how I might find out more about their work…. so any suggestions would be very much appreciated. Thanks again for your wonderful blog and social media posts.

    • Thank you for your message. Unfortunately, information about individual craftsmen is hard to come by, especially in the 19th century when much of the plasterwork was made in moulds rather than freehand (which is not to disparage the skills of your forebears…). Have you been in touch with the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society (https://www.ulsterarchitecturalheritage.org.uk/). It may be able to help direct you for that particular area of the island.
      Best wishes for your search and apologies for not being able to provide much direction…

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