Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

English-born architect, who settled in Dublin in 1781 and was responsible for three major public buildings there - the Custom House, the Four Courts, and the King's Inns - as well as for Carlisle Bridge and for extensions to the Parliament House.(1) James Gandon, son of Peter Gandon, was born in London in February 1743 at the house of his grandfather, a Huguenot refugee. He was apprenticed to WILLIAM CHAMBERS  WILLIAM CHAMBERS in 1758 and set up in independent practice in about 1765. His connection with Ireland started as early as 1768 when he made designs for a deanery at Killaloe, Co. Clare, for Joseph Deane Bourke, and entered the Royal Exchange competition, in which he was placed second to THOMAS COOLEY THOMAS COOLEY . His first exhibited design at the Royal Academy in 1774 was for 'a villa for a gentleman in Ireland'. In 1780 at the instance of John Dawson, 2nd Viscount Carlow (afterwards Earl of Portarlington), to whom he had been introduced by his friend Paul Sandby, he prepared designs for the proposed new Custom House in Dublin, and the following year he came over to Ireland to superintend the building of it. The new Custom House was a controversial project, and Gandon at first encountered considerable hostility. Nevertheless he brought his family to join him in Dublin in 1782, settling in a house in Mecklenburgh Street, and remained in Ireland for the rest of his life apart from a brief absence during the troubled times of 1798-99, when he thought it safer to remove his household to London. He withdrew from active practice in 1808 and retired to Canonbrook, near Lucan, Co. Dublin, where he and his son, James Gandon, junior, engaged in large-scale tree planting schemes In his latter years he was much troubled by gout. He died at Canonbrook on 24 December 1823 and was buried in Drumcondra graveyard in the same grave as his friend Francis Grose the antiquary. James Gandon, junior, followed no profession, although at one stage he seems to have been intended for a career in architecture. As a young man he supplied a few drawings for Grose's Antiquities of Ireland (1791-5) and later in life exhibited drawings intermittently at the Royal Hibernian Academy.(2) He died in 1851.

Gandon was a subscriber to George Richardson's Book of Ceilings (1776)  and Treatise on the five orders of architecture (1787) and to Thomas Milton's The Seats and Demesnes of the nobility and gentry of Ireland (Dublin, 1783-1794).

The Irish Architectural Archive holds the following original Gandon material: Designs for Emo Court, Co. Laois: Emo Court Collection, 91/101.55-59,63-66 (signed), 91/101.60-62,68-71,73-74 (attr.). Designs for Coolbanagher Church, Co. Laois (attr.): Emo Court Collection, 91/101.96-7, 95/122. Designs for the King's Inns, Dublin, with H.A. Baker, 1805. RIAI Murray Collection, 511-520. Proposed designs for Slane Castle (attr.): RIAI Murray Collection, 1095-1102. Design for an unidentified villa, 1771, possibly Woodbrook, Co. Laois: Woodbrook Collection, 77/26.1/2. Autograph letter to Paul Sandby, undated but written after Gandon's retirement to Canonbrook: 91/45.

See WORKS (for Irish works only).



References



(1) The IAA index treats only of Gandon's Irish career. The definitive account of Gandon's life and work, on which this entry is based, is E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (Zwemmer, 1985). A more personal narrative of Gandon's life is given in Hugo Duffy, James Gandon and his times (Gandon Editions, Kinsale, 1999). These supersede T.J. Mulvany, The Life of James Gandon, Esq. (1846; reprinted 1969 with introduction, notes, appendices and index by Maurice Craig). A briefer summary of his life and works may be found in Howard Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British architects 1600-1840 (4th edn., 1995), 385-387. A list of portraits of Gandon is in the 1969 reprint of Mulvany, Appendix 4; Tilly Kettle and William Cuming's portrait in the National Gallery of Ireland is reproduced as the frontispiece to McParland's monograph. Gandon's drawing desk, formerly in the possession of Rudolf Maximilian Butler, is now in the Custom House, Dublin.
(2) These consisted of topographical views in Yorkshire and Cheshire in 1827 and 1828, a view of the Lake of Albano in 1837 and an 'Architectural Design in imitation of Engraving' in 1838.


34 work entries listed in chronological order for GANDON, JAMES


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Building: CO. CLARE, KILLALOE, DEANERY (PROPOSED)
Date: 1768
Nature: For Joseph Deane Bourke (unexecuted).
Refs: See E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), 15,121,205.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CORK HILL, ROYAL EXCHANGE
Date: 1768-69
Nature: Competition entrant, placed 2nd. (Malton says placed 3rd with prize of 30 guineas.
Refs: James Malton, A Picturesque and descriptive view of the city of Dublin (1799, unpaginated; ,a;  B 27, 2 Oct 1869, 781; see E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index.

Building: CO. LAOIS, WOODBROOK (PORTARLINGTON)
Date: 1771
Nature: Proposed design for a villa, ?possibly Woodbrook, for Valentine Knightley Chetwood.
Refs: Ground plan, signed and dated 1771, in IAA, Woodbrook Collection, 77/26.1/2; see E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), 122(illus.)

Building: CO. LAOIS, HEYWOOD
Date: 1771a
Nature: New house, designed for and in collaboration with Michael Frederick Trench.
Refs: Design exh. by S. White at Society of Artists, London, 1771; See E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), 122,205(illus.)

Building: CO. LAOIS, EMO COURT
Date: 1780
Nature: 3 designs for gates, probably for Emo.
Refs: Drawings, signed and dated 1780, in IAA, Emo Court Collection, 91/101.55-59; see E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index; see also E.McParland, 'Emo Court, Co. Leix', Country Life 155, 23,30 May 1974, 1274-77,1346-49.

Building: CO. MEATH, SLANE CASTLE
Date: 1781-83
Nature: Proposed alterations for William Burton-Conyngham.
Refs: Designs attr. to JG in IAA, RIAI Murray Collection 1095-1102, for one of these see D.J. Griffin & S. Lincoln, Drawings from the Irish Architectural Archive (IAA, 1993), 36 (no.9, illus.); see E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index;

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CUSTOM HOUSE DOCKS
Date: 1781-83
Nature: Dock and stores, for Commissioners of the Revenue.
Refs: See E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CUSTOM HOUSE DOCKS
Date: 1781-83
Nature: Dock and stores, for Commissioners of the Revenue.
Refs: See E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CUSTOM HOUSE QUAY, CUSTOM HOUSE
Date: 1781-91
Nature: For Commissioners of the Revenue. First sod turned by JG 16 Jul 1781.  FS laid 8 Aug 1781.  Clerk of Works: Richard Harman. Stonecutter: Henry Darley. Bricklayer & Mason: John Semple. Carpenter: Hugh Henry.
Refs: James Malton, A Picturesque and descriptive view of the city of Dublin (1799), unpaginated;  see E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005),141-145, PlS.44,45.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, COLLEGE GREEN, PARLIAMENT HOUSE
Date: 1782-1789p
Nature: Designed Foster Place entrance front of House of Commons, screen walls and portico for House of Lords.
Refs: Design for W front portico, attrib. to JG, in NLI, AD 3520; see E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005),383,385

Building: CO. WATERFORD, NEW GENEVA
Date: 1783-4
Nature: Proposed new town to house colony of emigrants from Geneva. Architect in charge: William Gibson.
Refs: See E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index.

Building: CO. LAOIS, COOLBANAGHER, CHURCH OF ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST (CI)
Date: 1783-88
Nature: Church and Portarlington mausoleum. For Church Vestry and John Dawson, Viscount Carlow.
Refs: Drawings for church attr. to JG in IAA, Accs. 91/101.96,97, and 95/122; also view of interior by James Malton with figures of Gandon and others , Acc. 96/19 (on loan from Coolbanagher Select Vestry); see E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index;  exterior illus. in Claude Costegalde & Brian Walker, The Church of Ireland: an illustrated history (2013), 323.

Building: CO. WATERFORD, WATERFORD, COURT HOUSE & GAOLS
Date: 1784-1787
Nature: New, for Grand Juries of the County and of the City of Waterford. Demolished.
Refs: See E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PARNELL STREET (& CAVENDISH ROW), ROTUNDA (ROUND ROOM)
Date: 1784-1791
Nature: Alts. & adds. (entrance block & exterior decoration) attr. to JG by McParland on stylistic grounds
Refs: See E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005),165.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, INNS QUAY, FOUR COURTS
Date: 1785-1802
Nature: For Lord Chancellor and Chief Judges. Continuation of building begun by Thomas Cooley.
Refs: Photograph of signed 'Elevation of the New Courts approved by his Grace the Duke of Rutland, 1785' (location of original unknown) in IAA (on loan from King's Inns Archives), Acc. 2007/10.2/9;  James Malton, A Picturesque and descriptive view of the city of Dublin (1799), unpaginated;  E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 92-98, Pl.46..

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, O'CONNELL STREET LOWER
Date: 1786
Nature: Proposed elevations for east and west sides of new street. Unexecuted.
Refs: See E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, ROYAL MILITARY INFIRMARY
Date: 1786-1793
Nature: New.  FS laid 17 Aug 1786. Building completed 1788. Opened for patients, 1790. Work superintended by William Gibson, who is also credited with being architect of same. For Commissioners and Overseers of the Barracks and Public Works.
Refs: See E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005),304-5.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CAVENDISH ROW (& GREAT BRITAIN STREET), HOUSES & SHOPS
Date: 1787-89
Nature: Attribution to JG by McParland 'based only on the Gandonian flavour of the designs' as shown in map by Thomas Sherrard, 1787. For Walter Robinson.
Refs: See E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, NEWGROVE AVENUE (SANDYMOUNT), ROSLYN PARK
Date: 1788-89
Nature: Villa for William Ashford.
Refs: See E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, BERESFORD PLACE, HOUSES (005)
Date: 1788-93
Nature: Terrace of 5 houses.  For John Claudius Beresford.
Refs: See E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index; J. Scannell, 'Beresford Place and its conservation', unpublished thesis submitted for degree of Master of Urban and Building Conservation, School of Architecture, University College Dublin, 1993;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005),180-181.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PARNELL SQUARE, CHARLEMONT HOUSE
Date: 1789
Nature: Addition of Rockingham library, for James Caulfield, Earl of Charlemont. (Demolished in early 1930s.)
Refs: James Malton, A Picturesque and descriptive view of the city of Dublin (1799), unpaginated;  E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005),151.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, ABBEVILLE
Date: 1790
Nature: Alts. & adds. for Rt. Hon. John Beresford.
Refs: See E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index; The Architecture of Ireland in Drawings and Paintings, (NGI, 1975), nos.28(illus.,29(illus.)

Building: CO. LAOIS, EMO COURT
Date: 1790-96
Nature: New mansion for John Dawson, lst Earl of Portarlington (formerly 2nd Viscount Carlow).
Refs: Drawings by and attributed to Gandon in IAA, Emo Court Collection, 91/101.60-71,73; see E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index; see also E.McParland, 'Emo Court, Co. Leix', Country Life 155, 23,30 May 1974, 1274-77,1346-49.; Mary Cecilia Lyons, Illustrated Incumbered Estates Ireland, 1850-1905 (1993), 23(illus.)

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CARLISLE BRIDGE (OLD)
Date: 1791-1794
Nature: New bridge, for Commissioners of the Revenue. FS laid 1791. Opened to traffic 1794. Keystones carved by Edward Smyth.
Refs: H.G. Leask, 'Some less known works of Edward Smyth, sculptor', JRSAI 80 (1950), 76); see also E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 694.

Building: CO. LONGFORD, CARRIGGLAS
Date: 1792-1804?
Nature: Villa (unexecuted), farm yard, stable yard and entrance gate. For Sir Willliam Gleadowe-Newcomen, Bt.
Refs: See E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index.

Building: ?, ?, MONUMENT TO FRANCIS GROSE (PROPOSED)
Date: 1794
Nature: -
Refs: Anthologia Hibernica 4 (Nov 1794), 322; E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), 178

Building: CO. DUBLIN, EMSWORTH
Date: 1794
Nature: New house, for James Woodmason. (Present owner, 2012, says that house was altered in 1960s by R.M. Butler & Co.)
Refs: Ground and first floor plans, signed & dated Mar 1794 in NLI, Fitzgerald-Kenny Album (photograph in IAA);  see E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, HENRIETTA STREET, KING'S INNS
Date: 1800-1808ca
Nature: Dining hall, library and chambers. Work unfinished when Gandon handed over responsibility to Henry Aaron Baker, ca1808. (Unexecuted proposals, 1790, for dining room, library, council room &c., on site behind Four Courts attr. to JG by E. McParland among King's Inns Maps, MS H4/6-1.)
Refs: Drawings by Gandon and Baker, 1805, in IAA, RIAI Murray Collection, 511-520; see E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005),157-160, Pl.47.


Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CASTLE STREET, DUBLIN CASTLE, CHAPEL ROYAL (CI)
Date: 1802
Nature: Unexecuted designs, for Lord Lieutenant, Philip Yorke, 3rd Earl of Hardwicke..
Refs: See E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005),358

Building: CO. DERRY, WALWORTH (BALLYKELLY)
Date: 1804
Nature: Minor works, for Rt. Hon. John Beresford.
Refs: E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), 197n54,207.

Building: CO. LAOIS, PORTLAOISE, CHURCH OF ST PETER (CI)
Date: 1804
Nature: New church, consecrated 29 Sep 1804.  Tower and steeple designed by JG
Refs: See E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index;  exterior illus. in
Clergy of Cashel and Emly; Clergy of Leighlin (Ulster Historical Foundation, 2012), 285 (illus.),287;  exterior and interior illus. in Claude Costegalde & Brian Walker, The Church of Ireland: an illustrated history (2013), 353.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, TRIUMPHAL ARCH (PROPOSED)
Date: 1815ca
Nature: 2 different designs for arch to commemorate the achievements of British forces in Peninsular War. Prepared at same time as Wellington testimonial competition entries, but not submitted as such.
Refs: See E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, LUCAN, CHURCH OF ST ANDREW (CI)
Date: 1823
Nature: New church, consecrated, 7 Dec 1823.? Perhaps based on design by JG, who donated site.
Refs: See E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), 106,206 (illus. Pl.100); Clergy of Dublin and Glendalough (Ulster Historical Foundation, 2001), 304;  exterior illus. in Claude Costegalde & Brian Walker, The Church of Ireland: an illustrated history (2013), 302.


Building: CO. LAOIS, EMO COURT
Date: ?
Nature: Design for rustic bridge attr. to JG.
Refs: Unsigned, undated design attr. to JG in IAA, Emo Court Collection, 91/101.74; see See E. McParland, James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus (1985), refs. as in index; D.J. Griffin & S. Lincoln, Drawings from the Irish Architectural Archive (IAA, 1993), 39 (no. 12, illus.)

Author Title Date Details
Mcparland, Edward James Gandon: Vitruvius Hibernicus 1985 London: A. Zwemmer, 1985.
Mulvany, Thomas John The Life of James Gandon, Esq. 1846 Dublin: Hodges & Smith. 1846. (Reprinted with introduction, notes, appendices and index by Maurice Craig, 1969.)