A Touch of La Touche

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On this beautiful bank holiday weekend, morning sunlight in the entrance hall of Harristown House, County Kildare. The original building, of nine bays and three storeys over basement, is believed to have been designed by the 18th century Irish architect Whitmore Davis. He had a decidedly chequered career, seemingly often neglecting his responsibilities and in 1797 being declared bankrupt. The original owners of Harristown were a branch of the wealthy banking family of La Touche. In the 19th century it was here that Rose La Touche, the adolescent girl with whom John Ruskin fell in love, lived with her parents who were ardent evangelical Christians. In 1891 the house was gutted by fire and although subsequently rebuilt to the designs of James Franklin Fuller it is now one storey lower than was previously the case. The large east-facing entrance hall is a near-cube extended further back beyond a screen of Doric columns to provide access to darwing room and main staircase.