Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Gardener and landscape architect. Ninian Niven, the son of a Scottish gardener of the same name who worked at Keir House near Stirling, was born at Kelvingrove near Glasgow, circa 1799. After serving his apprenticeship with Thomas Butler, head gardener at Bothwell Castle, and working at Belladrum Castle, Inverness-shire, he was invited to Ireland in 1827 to take up the post of head gardener at the Chief Secretary's Lodge in the Phoenix Park. In 1834 he was appointed curator of the Botanic Garden at Glasnevin, where he remained for four and a half years before resigning in August 1838. He then set up in business as a nurseryman and landscape gardener, first in Monkstown and then in Drumcondra. A visit to France fired an enthusiasm for French formal gardens and caused him to aim for an 'intermediate' style in which French and English principles of garden design were blended. From 1849 he took pupils in agriculture and horticulture. He died on 18 February 1879.

Addresses:(1)  Richmond Hill, Monkstown, <=1841->=1844;  Clonturk Cottage, Drumcondra, 1847; Garden Farm, Drumcondra, <=1853->=1875.

See WORKS and BIBLIOGRAPHY. BIBLIOGRAPHY.



References

All information in this entry not otherwise attributed is from E. Malins & P. Bowe, Irish Gardens and Demesnes from 1830 (1980), 36-42, and from the chapter on Nevin in E. Charles Nelson & Eileen M. McCracken, The Brightest Jewel: a history of the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin (1987), 83-96, which see for further details of Niven's career. A photograph of Niven, c. 1868, appears on p. 82.

(1) From Post Office and Thom's directories.


20 work entries listed in chronological order for NIVEN, NINIAN


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Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, UNDER-SECRETARY'S LODGE
Date:
Nature: Garden attributed to NN.
Refs: Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 292.


Building: CO. DUBLIN, MONKSTOWN, MONKSTOWN AVENUE, MONKSTOWN CASTLE, PUBLIC GARDENS (PROPOSED)
Date: 1839
Nature: Design of proposed gardens by NN, for James Pim.
Refs: N. Niven, 'A general outline…of the new public garden' in Prospectus of the proposed public gardens at Monkstown Castle (Dublin, 1839), 17-25; E. Malins & P. Bowe, Irish Gardens and Demesnes from 1830 (1980), 38; Frederick O'Dwyer, 'The architecture of John Skipton Mulvany', Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies 3 (2000), 20

Building: CO. DOWN, GREYABBEY HOUSE
Date: 1843
Nature: Proposal for garden.
Refs: Drawing, s. &. d. 2 Dec 1843, in house (Archaeological Survey of County Down(1966), 405)

Building: CO. MONAGHAN, CASTLE LESLIE (GLASLOUGH)
Date: 1843;1854
Nature: Designs for kitchen and fruit garden for Charles Powell Leslie III 1843 (unexecuted), and designs for pinetum and for conservatory in kitchen garden, 1854.
Refs: Leslie MSS (PRONI microfilm MIC.606/G/2/4,2/5,2/6)

Building: CO. KILKENNY, KILKENNY, PARADE, KILKENNY CASTLE
Date: 1852
Nature: Unexecuted proposal for parterre in front of courtyard, for John, 2nd Marquess of Ormonde, who died before it could be carried out.
Refs: Design in IAA, Ormonde Loan Collection, 77/9.83; E. Malins & P. Bowe, Irish Gardens and Demesnes from 1830 (1980), 38

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, LEINSTER LAWN, DUBLIN INDUSTRIAL EXHIBITION BUILDING
Date: 1852-53
Nature: Winter garden (unexecuted, or only partly executed?)
Refs: E. Malins & P. Bowe, Irish Gardens and Demesnes from 1830 (1980), 41; E. Charles Nelson & Eileen M. McCracken, The Brightest Jewel: a history of the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin (1987), 94

Building: CO. DUBLIN, SANTRY COURT
Date: 1857;1863
Nature: Formal gardens for Sir Compton Domvile, Bt., 1857. Also proposal for geometric cottage garden, 1863.
Refs: Dated plan in NLI, AD 2426 and 3310; also signed, dated design for cottage garden, AD 3426; E. Malins & P. Bowe, Irish Gardens and Demesnes from 1830 (1980), 41

Building: CO. DUBLIN, TEMPLEOGUE HOUSE
Date: 1862ca
Nature: Formal gardens for Sir Compton Domvile, Bt.
Refs: Signed and dated plan of old garden in NLI, old ref. AD 2426; E. Malins & P. Bowe, Irish Gardens and Demesnes from 1830 (1980), 41

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, EARLSFORT TERRACE, IVEAGH GARDENS
Date: 1863
Nature: Gardens for International Exhibition.
Refs: Nicholas Sheaff, Iveagh House (Dublin, Department of Foreign Affairs, 1978), 54; E. Charles Nelson & Eileen M. McCracken, The Brightest Jewel: a history of the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin (1987), 94;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 487.
 

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUN LAOGHAIRE, GRESHAM TERRACE, ROYAL MARINE HOTEL
Date: 1865?
Nature: Garden.
Refs: DB 7, 1 Oct 1965. 232; E. Charles Nelson & Eileen M. McCracken, The Brightest Jewel: a history of the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin (1987), 94

Building: CO. MONAGHAN, HILTON PARK
Date: 1870ca
Nature: Formal gardens and terraces.  NN visited house in Dec 1870.
Refs: Kevin V. Mulligan, The Buildings of Ireland: South Ulster (2013), 356


Building: CO. WEXFORD, EDERMINE
Date: ?
Nature: Gardens, for Sir James Power, Bt.
Refs: E. Malins & P. Bowe, Irish Gardens and Demesnes from 1830 (1980), 39

Building: CO. TYRONE, BARONSCOURT
Date: ?
Nature: Lower parterre to connect upper parterre to lakeside terrace, for Duke of Abercorn..
Refs: E. Malins & P. Bowe, Irish Gardens and Demesnes from 1830 (1980), 46(illus.),47

Building: CO. KILDARE, ATHGARVAN
Date: ?
Nature: Pleasure grounds, for - Reeves.
Refs: E. Malins & P. Bowe, Irish Gardens and Demesnes from 1830 (1980), 41

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, DONNYBROOK, NUTLEY
Date: ?
Nature: Gardens, for Alderman George Roe.
Refs: E. Malins & P. Bowe, Irish Gardens and Demesnes from 1830 (1980), 38

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, CHIEF SECRETARY'S LODGE
Date: ?
Nature: Garden.
Refs: E. Charles Nelson & Eileen M. McCracken, The Brightest Jewel: a history of the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin (1987), 94.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, NATIONAL ARBORETUM (PROPOSED)
Date: ?
Nature: Unexecuted proposal.
Refs: E. Malins & P. Bowe, Irish Gardens and Demesnes from 1830 (1980), 37

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, VICE-REGAL LODGE
Date: ?
Nature: Parterre and possibly Yew Walk.
Refs: E. Malins & P. Bowe, Irish Gardens and Demesnes from 1830 (1980), 36(illus.),41;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 296.


Building: CO. DUBLIN, KILLAKEE
Date: ?
Nature: Gardens for Col. & Mrs Samuel White.
Refs: E. Malins & P. Bowe, Irish Gardens and Demesnes from 1830 (1980), 38-39(illus.)

Building: CO. DONEGAL, ARDS HOUSE
Date: ?
Nature: Garden terraces 'designed by Mr Nevin[sic]'..
Refs: Ms letter from ? Murphy, Dunfanaghy, to A.J.R. Stewart, 28 Aug 1874, in IAA, Acc. 2007/47.1/2

Author Title Date Details
Niven, Ninian 'On the villa plantations in the neighbourhood of Dublin' 1833 Irish Farmer's and Gardener's Magazine 1 (1833), 6-8.
Niven, Ninian 'Observations on the Glasnevin Garden' 1834 Irish Farmer's and Gardener's Magazine 1 (1834), 406-408.
Niven, Ninian The Visitor's companion to the Botanic Garden, Glasnevin 1838 Dublin, 1838.
Niven, Ninian 'A general outline…of the new public garden' 1839 Chapter in Prospectus of the proposed public gardens at Monkstown Castle, (Dublin, 1839).