Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Artist and amateur architect, for biography of whom see Oxford DNB. John Hungerford Pollen was an Anglican clergyman by training but gave up holy orders on converting to Roman Catholicism in 1852. He subsequently practised as a decorative painter and amateur architect. Towards the end of 1854 he was invited by John Henry Newman to become the Professor of Fine Arts in the newly established Catholic University of Ireland. Newman also asked for his help in designing and decorating the new church which was to be attached to the University.(1) Following 'general proportions' suggested by Newman himelf,(2) Pollen had drawn up plans for a church in the style of an early Italian basilica by the summer of 1855. The church was formally opened for worship on Ascension Day, 1 May 1856, although further decoration and embellishment with Irish marbles continued for some months. During this period Pollen was based in Dublin; he appears in the directories with an address at 62 Rathmines Road from 1855 until 1858.(3) He remained Professor of Fine Arts at the Catholic University for a further ten years and was an honorary professor from 1869 until 1875.

While he was working in Dublin, Pollen met BENJAMIN WOODWARD BENJAMIN WOODWARD , with whom he later collaborated on several projects.(4) He designed and executed painted decoration for two of Woodward's buildings in Ireland: Clontra, Shankill, Co. Dublin, on which he worked between 1858 and 1863, and the picture gallery at Kilkenny Castle, decorated in 1861-62. He also designed the gallery chimneypiece and, at the Marchioness of Ormonde's request, made plans for a flower garden in the castle grounds.

See WORKS and BIBLIOGRAPHY. BIBLIOGRAPHY.



References

Information not otherwise accounted for is from Jones's transcripts from Thom's directories. See also Frederick O'Dwyer, The Architecture of Deane and Woodward (1997), passim., and J. Anthony Gaughan, Newman's University Church (1997), 15-16, which is illustrated with a portrait drawing of Pollen.

(1) For Newman's letters to Pollen on these matters, Dec 1854-Nov 1855, see Letters of John Henry Newman XVI, 331,417,476-477,496,513,531,540; XVII, 4,229,263,326,328,333,341,345,401,403,440 (transcripts in Jones file P62).
(2) B 14, 19 Apr 1856, 222.
(3) O'Dwyer, op. cit., above, 292.
(4) For an account of these, see O'Dwyer, op. cit., above.


5 work entries listed in chronological order for POLLEN, JOHN HUNGERFORD #


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Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, ST STEPHEN'S GREEN, NO. 087 (UNIVERSITY CHURCH)
Date: 1855-56
Nature: New chapel for John Henry Newman, who laid down the 'general proportions' of the design.   In style of early Italian basilica, as desired by Newman. Begun Summer 1855. Opened for worship 1 May 1856. Embellishment continued until autumn. Contractor: J.P. Beardwood.
Refs: Undated designs (interior perspective looking E and design for candlestick) in RIBA Drawings Collection see Jill Lever, ed., Catalogue of the Drawings Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects O-R (1974), 83, and British Architectural Library Catalogue, http://riba.sirsidynix.net.uk/uhtbin/cgisirsi/xv4RsvrqLR/MAIN_CAT/146470007/9 (last visited, Apr 2009); B 14, 19 Apr 1856, 222; letters from John Henry Newman to JHP, Dec 1854-Nov 1855 in Letters of John Henry Newman XVI, 331,417,476-477,496,513,531,540; XVII, 4,229,263,326,328,333,341,345,401,403,440 (transcripts in Jones file); R.F. Wilson, Newman's Church in Dublin (1916)(reviewed in IB 58, 26 Feb 1916, 94 and Building News 110, 21 Jun 1916, 591-2); Frederick O'Dwyer, The Architecture of Deane and Woodward (1997), 290-293(illus.); J. Anthony Gaughan, Newman's University Church (1997), 15-16;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005) , 473-4.

Building: CO. KILKENNY, KILKENNY, PARADE, KILKENNY CASTLE
Date: 1861-62
Nature: Proposed flower garden, for Dowager Marchioness of Ormonde.
Refs: Unsigned but attributable drawings in IAA, Ormonde Loan Collection, Acc.0077/009; Frederick O'Dwyer, The Architecture of Deane and Woodward (1997), 347,588nn

Building: CO. KILKENNY, KILKENNY, PARADE, KILKENNY CASTLE
Date: 1861-62
Nature: Wall and ceiling decoration and chimneypiece in picture gallery, for Dowager Marchioness of Ormonde.
Refs: 2 undated detail designs in RIBA Drawings Collection (see see Jill Lever, ed., Catalogue of the Drawings Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects O-R (1974), 84); Frederick O'Dwyer, The Architecture of Deane and Woodward (1997), 292,347,588n

Building: CO. KILKENNY, KILKENNY, PARADE, KILKENNY CASTLE
Date: 1861-62
Nature: Painted decoration of Great Gallery and design for gallery chimneypiece (executed by Ballantine, 11 Dorset St, Dublin).
Refs: 2 watercolour designs for same ('Golden Age' for roof, 'Reading Girl' for wall) exh. Dublin International International Exhibition of Art & Manufactures, 1865, nos. 17,33; Frederick O'Dwyer, The Architecture of Deane and Woodward (1997), 346(illus.),347,588 n.162; for coloured photograph of detal of roof decoration, see Kilkenny Castle(National Parks & Monuments Service, n.d.), 13(illus.)

Building: CO. KILKENNY, KILKENNY, PARADE, KILKENNY CASTLE
Date: 1862ca
Nature: Design for flower garden.
Refs: Unsigned, undated designs attributable to JHP in IAA, Ormonde Loan Collection, Acc. 77.9.80-82; E. Malins & P. Bowe, Irish Gardens and Demesnes from 1830 (1980), 45; Frederick O'Dwyer, The Architecture of Deane and Woodward (1997), 346(illus.),347,588, n.163

Author Title Date Details
Pollen, John Hungerford 'The apologia of the basilica, St Stephen's Green, Dublin' 1856 British Architectural Library manuscripts collection, PoJ/1 (Proof copy of lecture.)
Sublet, Antoine [MS. letter to John Henry Newman, 9 Jun 1856, with advice on how to protect the paintings in the Univeristy Church, Dublin, from humidity of the Irish atmosphere.] 1856 British Architectural Library manuscripts collection, PoJ/1