Designs for Gentlemen and Tradesmen

An illustration of a proposed ‘Gothick Temple’ in Batty Langley’s Gothic Architecture Improved by Rules and Proportions in many Grand Designs first published in London in 1742. The long-term influence of this work can be seen in the garden front of a lodge at Castletown, County Kildare which, having been built in 1772 was embellished with a semi-polygonal Gothic façade, built in finely cut deep grey limestone, its design derived from Batty Langley’s book. This volume is one of a number currently on display at the Irish Architectural Archive in Dublin featuring items from the Rowan Collection of historic architectural volumes recently deposited with that institution. While relatively few such books were printed in Ireland during the 18th and 19th century, copies of important texts would have been found in the libraries of architects and their clients, and the Rowan Collection can be taken as representative of such a resource. Another volume in the same exhibition is Thomas Rawlins’ Familiar Architecture; consisting of Original Designs for Gentlemen and Tradesmen, Parsonages and Summer-Retreats (1768). It includes the design below for a simple country residence which, although of relatively modest proportions manages to incorporate plenty of rooms. Such houses were built in abundance throughout Ireland in the later Georgian period.


Putti at Play

As mentioned earlier (24th September), the five-bay number 45 is the largest house in Dublin’s Merrion Square. Dating from 1785 and today home to the Irish Architectural Archive, the building’s neo-classical decoration is less elaborate than that found in some of its earlier neighbours. There are, however, occasional delights, among them this chimneypiece in the first-floor front drawing room. Sadly some of the cameo discs set into white marble have been lost over the past couple of centuries but those remaining introduce an element of skittishness into what is otherwise a distinctly formal space.