Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Stuccadore and builder, of Dublin. Michael Stapleton, son of George Stapleton, plasterer, of Dublin, was born circa 1747, and worked extensively as a stuccadore in Dublin and elsewhere. As a Catholic he could play no part in the life of the Dublin Guilds or Corporation and was debarred from leasing or owning land until the Relief Acts of 1778 and 1782 permitted Catholics first to take extended land leases and then to buy and sell land if they swore allegiance to the king. By taking the oath in 1778, Stapleton was able to make a second career as a builder and developer, and it seems reasonable to assume that his commissions for plasterwork were delegated increasingly to assistants.(1) He is described as a master builder in 1789, and it was as one of the 'principal Architects and Builders' of Dublin that he signed a certificate of recommendation which accompanied Bryan Bolger's application to be appointed measurer to the Royal Canal Company in July 1794.(2) He worked with the architects THOMAS PENROSE  THOMAS PENROSE and JAMES WYATT JAMES WYATT , among others, and both Craig and Curran assert that he was an architect himself. However the degree to which he was personally responsible for the design of the plaster decoration which he (or his assistants) executed or the houses which he erected as a builder is not clear.

Stapleton died in 1801 and was buried in the old graveyard in Malahide Castle demesne, Co. Dublin.(3). An extract of his will of 25 August 1801, is listed in the Eneclann Index of Irish Wills 1484-1858 (CD).(4) At the time of his death he owned several houses and two building plots in Dublin as well as the house he had been living in at Maynooth. He had married Frances Todderick(5) circa 1774 and had a son, GEORGE STAPLETON GEORGE STAPLETON , who carried on the family stucco and building business from No. 1 Mountjoy Place. Michael Stapleton was a friend of ROBERT WEST  ROBERT WEST (d. 1790), who named him as legatee and sole executor of his will.

A collection of drawings and engravings accumulated by Michael Stapleton and, to a lesser extent, by George Stapleton remained in the possession of the Stapleton family until 1939. The drawings, mostly designs for decorative plasterwork, and some of the engravings were acquired by the National Library of Ireland in 1940; the remaining engravings are now held by the Irish Architectural Archive (Acc. 077/006) None of the drawings is signed by Stapleton; Curran breezily attributes most of them to him, but Carr demurs.

Addresses: 16 Mecklenburgh Street, 1776-1777; 59 Camden Street, 1778-1779; 80 Marlborough Street, 1782-1792; Mountjoy Square, 1793-1795; 1 Mountjoy Place, 1796 until death.

See WORKS, BIBLIOGRAPHY. BIBLIOGRAPHY.



References

All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from the chapter on Michael Stapleton in C.P. Curran, Dublin Decorative Plasterwork of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (1967), 79-87, and Eugenie Carr, 'A catalogue of the Stapleton family collection of Drawings in the National Library of Ireland', unpublished MA thesis, University College, Dublin, 1985, 1-6.

(1) See JHCI 12, cccxxi, re the plastering of the Arsenal Barracks, 1785, where the work was not done by Stapleton himself but by his team of workmen (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
(2) Bryan Bolger MSS, NA/PRO 1A/58/129, which also includes another memorial signed by Stapleton in support of Bolger's application to succeed John Beahan as measurer to the Board of Works in Feb 1801.
(3) According to Curran, he was 'taken to the vaults of the Pro-Cathedral.
(4) Eneclann Index of Irish Wills 1484-1858 (CD), Document ID 62294. Probate was granted to Francis Stapleton and Andrew Callnan.
(5) See Thomas Todderick.


34 work entries listed in chronological order for STAPLETON, MICHAEL *


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Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PARNELL SQUARE, NO. 018
Date: 1765p
Nature: Neo-classical ceiling in library (over entrance hall) attr. to MS.
Refs: Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005),

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, ST STEPHEN'S GREEN, NO. 053
Date: 1771
Nature: Stuccowork in rear ground-floor drawing room attr. to MS by Curran. For Gustavus Hume.
Refs: Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 543..

Building: CO. DUBLIN, LUCAN HOUSE
Date: 1776p
Nature: Plasterwork by MS for Agmondisham Vesey.
Refs: C. Hussey, 'Lucan House, Co. Dublin', Country Life 105, 31 Jan 1947, 278-281(illus.); Eugenie Carr, 'A catalogue of the Stapleton family collection of Drawings in the National Library of Ireland', unpublished MA thesis, University College, Dublin, 1985, 114-5,191-2,194,236

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, WILLIAM STREET SOUTH, NO. 059 (POWERSCOURT HOUSE)
Date: 1777-1780
Nature: Stucco work of principal reception rooms, probably executed in late 1770s. For 3rd Viscount Powerscourt.
Refs: C.P. Curran, 'Michael Stapleton: Dublin Stuccodore', Studies 28, no. 111 (Sep 1939), 441; C.P. Curran, Dublin Decorative Plasterwork of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (1967), 79; unsigned, undated drawing in NLI, Stapleton Collection, 2303,2353, see Eugenie Carr, 'A catalogue of the Stapleton family collection of Drawings in the National Library of Ireland', unpublished MA thesis, University College, Dublin, 1985, 54-56,79,235,Pls.23,33;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 510.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, HARCOURT STREET, NO. 016-17 (CLONMEL HOUSE)
Date: 1778
Nature: '[The house] is enhanced by refined plasterwork decoration in which Michael Stapleton surely had a hand' (Casey).
Refs: Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 494.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, ST STEPHEN'S GREEN, NO. 017
Date: 1778-1780
Nature: Stuccowork in 9 principal rooms, for Joseph Leeson, lst Earl of Miltown.
Refs: Unsigned, undated ceiling designs in NLI, Stapleton Collection, 2283b,2333r,2353, see Eugenie Carr, 'A catalogue of the Stapleton family collection of drawings in the National Library of Ireland', unpublished MA thesis, University College, Dublin, 1985, 21,49-50,54-56,81,235,Pls.23,34;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 538, Pl.43.

Building: CO. WICKLOW, BELLEVUE (DELGANY)
Date: 1779ca
Nature: Plasterwork by MS?
Refs: Unsigned, undated drawing in NLI, Stapleton Collection, 2280 (& 2235?), see Eugenie Carr, 'A catalogue of the Stapleton family collection of Drawings in the National Library of Ireland', unpublished MA thesis, University College, Dublin, 1985, 73-74,86,236; C.P. Curran, Dublin Decorative Plasterwork(1967), 82,113-4

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, VICE-REGAL LODGE
Date: 1782;1787
Nature: Proposed improvements, 1782 (Casey).  Curran attributes stuccowork by MS at Vice-Regal Lodge, 1787.
Refs: Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 293,294;  C.P. Curran, Dublin Decorative Plasterwork (1967), 83; Eugenie Carr, 'A catalogue of the Stapleton family collection of drawings in the National Library of Ireland', unpublished MA thesis, University College, Dublin, 1985, 169,235.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, COLLEGE GREEN, TRINITY COLLEGE, EXAMINATION HALL
Date: 1784
Nature: Stuccowork by MS.
Refs: C.P. Curran, Dublin Decorative Plasterwork of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (1967), 79; TCD vouchers 1760-99 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44);  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 397.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, CHIEF SECRETARY'S LODGE
Date: 1784
Nature: Plasterwork attributed to MS by Curran and Carr.
Refs: C.P Curran, Dublin Decorative Plasterwork (1967), 83; Eugenie Carr, 'A catalogue of the Stapleton family collection of drawings in the National Library of Ireland', unpublished MA thesis, University College, Dublin, 1985, 160,234

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, DENMARK ST GREAT, BELVEDERE HOUSE
Date: 1786
Nature: Ornamental plasterwork. (Craig attributes design of house as well as plasterwork to MS, but see under Robert West.)
Refs: Unsigned, undated drawing for Venus drawing room ceiling in NLI, Stapleton Collection, 2361, see Eugenie Carr, 'A catalogue of the Stapleton family collection of Drawings in the National Library of Ireland', unpublished MA thesis, University College, Dublin, 1985, 54-56, 106-109,234 (Carr also discusses the now missing design for the Diana room ceiling); M. Craig, Dublin 1660-1860 (1952), 230; C.P. Curran, Dublin Decorative Plasterwork of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (1967), 81-82; Joseph McDonnell, Irish Eighteenth Century Stuccowork and its European Sources (1991), 28;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 174-5, Pls. 48,49.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, RATHMINES, HOUSE
Date: 1789
Nature: Bryan Bolger measures plastering by MS for Gustavus Hume at Revd Dr Dalzac's house, Rathmines'
Refs: Bryan Bolger MSS, NA/PRO 1A/58/125

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, MOUNTJOY SQUARE, HOUSES
Date: 1789-1790;1793
Nature: Bryan Bolger measures work carried out for MS in at his buildings in Mountjoy Sq in 1789, 1790 and 1793.
Refs: Bryan Bolger MSS, NA/PRO 1A/58/124, 127

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, HARCOURT STREET, HOUSE
Date: 1789;1793
Nature: Bryan Bolger measures plastering by MS at Mr Edward Hill's house, Harcourt St. in 1789 and 1793. (Is this No. 9 Harcourt St?)
Refs: Bryan Bolger MSS, NA/PRO 1A/58/125

Building: CO. WICKLOW, BLESSINGTON, DOWNSHIRE HOUSE
Date: 1789ca
Nature: Plasterwork in dining parlour. For Wills Hill, lst Marquess of Downshire.
Refs: PRONI D671 V36D (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); drawings for plasterwork in 'Marquis of Downshire's Dining Parlour' (location not named) in NLI, Stapleton Collection, 2288, 2351, see Eugenie Carr, 'A catalogue of the Stapleton family collection of Drawings in the National Library of Ireland', unpublished MA thesis, University College, Dublin, 1985, 23,158,236,Pls11,.56

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, MOUNTJOY SQUARE
Date: 1790
Nature: Bryan Bolger measures stone and bricklayers' work by MS for John Scott (mostly garden walls)
Refs: Bryan Bolger MSS, NA/PRO 1A/58/126

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, COLLEGE GREEN, TRINITY COLLEGE, CHAPEL (1787)
Date: 1792
Nature: MS paid £1806-8s-3½d for plastering same.
Refs: TCD MS A.8 (3688) (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44)

Building: CO. DUBLIN, ROEBUCK, HOUSE (ROEBUCK GROVE?)
Date: 1792a
Nature: Bryan Bolger measures plasterwork by MS for executors of John Robinson at his new-built house in Rhoebuck, 1792
Refs: Bryan Bolger MSS, NA/PRO 1A/58/126

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, GRENVILLE STREET, HOUSE
Date: 1793
Nature: Bryan Bolger measures plasterwork by MS for Robert Wynn, Jun 1793
Refs: Bryan Bolger MSS, NA/PRO 1A/58/127

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, COLLEGE GREEN, TRINITY COLLEGE
Date: 1793
Nature: Bryan Bolger measures plastering by MS at new bath house, medicine garden.
Refs: NA/PRO Bolger MSS, 1A/58/128

Building: CO. KILDARE, MAYNOOTH, ST PATRICK'S COLLEGE
Date: 1796-1800
Nature: MS contractor for same. Work included extension of Stoyte House. Buildings inspected by Waldré, 1800.
Refs: JHCI 24, II 1797 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); NA/SPO 516/94/6 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); C.P. Curran, Dublin Decorative Plasterwork of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (1967), 85

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, MOUNTJOY PLACE, NO. 001
Date: 1796a
Nature: House built and decorated by MS for himself.
Refs: C.P. Curran, Dublin Decorative Plasterwork of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (1967), 79

Building: CO. ARMAGH, ARDRESS HOUSE
Date: ?
Nature: Drawing room ceiling possibly by MS.
Refs: Design for drawing room ceiling at Ardress (or Lucan House ?) in NLI, Stapleton Collection, see Ardress House (National Trust, 1990), 9, 15-17(illus.); C.P. Curran, Dublin Decorative Plasterwork of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (1967), ?; Eugenie Carr, 'A catalogue of the Stapleton family collection of Drawings in the National Library of Ireland', unpublished MA thesis, University College, Dublin, 1985, 100-101,117-118,235;  Kevin V. Mulligan, The Buildings of Ireland: South Ulster (2013), 84, Pl.48..


Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, HARCOURT STREET, NO. 009
Date: ?
Nature: Built 1795ca by MS, who 'built a few houses at the N end (W side) [of Harcourt Street] in the late 1790s' (Casey). Plasterwork attributed to MS by Curran.
Refs: Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 524; C.P. Curran, Dublin Decorative Plasterwork of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (1967), 83; Eugenie Carr, 'A catalogue of the Stapleton family collection of drawings in the National Library of Ireland', unpublished MA thesis, University College, Dublin, 1985, 234

Building: CO. WICKLOW, MOUNT KENNEDY (NEWTOWNMOUNTKENNEDY)
Date: ?
Nature: Plasterwork in principal rooms attr. to MS. For Maj. Gen. Robert Cunninghame.
Refs: Ceiling design for Mrs Cunninghame's dressing room in NLI, Stapleton Collection, 2293, see Eugenie Carr, 'A catalogue of the Stapleton family collection of Drawings in the National Library of Ireland', unpublished MA thesis, University College, Dublin, 1985, 83-4,236,Pl.36; C.P. Curran, Dublin Decorative Plasterwork of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (1967), 84

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, ST STEPHEN'S GREEN, NO. 044
Date: ?
Nature: Stuccowork attributed to MS by Curran.
Refs: C.P. Curran, Dublin Decorative Plasterwork of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (1967), 83

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, GEORGE'S STREET NORTH GREAT, NO. 043
Date: ?
Nature: Ceiling designs in Stapleton drawings collection. For Rt. Hon. Col. Henry Theophilus Clements, MP.
Refs: Unsigned undated drawing in NLI, Stapleton Collection, 2306; see Eugenie Carr, 'A catalogue of the Stapleton family collection of Drawings in the National Library of Ireland', unpublished MA thesis, University College, Dublin, 1985, 35,235,Pl.16;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 211.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, ST STEPHEN'S GREEN, NO. 016
Date: ?
Nature: Plasterwork attributed to MS by Curran.
Refs: C.P. Curran, Dublin Decorative Plasterwork of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (1967), 83; Eugenie Carr, 'A catalogue of the Stapleton family collection of Drawings in the National Library of Ireland', unpublished MA thesis, University College, Dublin, 1985, 55,57

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, GEORGE'S STREET NORTH GREAT, NO. 019
Date: ?
Nature: Ceiling design in Stapleton Collection, thus probably executed by MS. According to Casey, 'the piano nobile has two lovely ceilings by Michael Stapleton for which drawings survive'.
Refs: NLI, Stapleton Collection, 2371, see Eugenie Carr, 'A catalogue of the Stapleton family collection of Drawings in the National Library of Ireland', unpublished MA thesis, University College, Dublin, 1985, 61,235,Pl.27;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 209.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, MOUNTJOY SQUARE, NO. 039
Date: ?
Nature: 'No 39 can be firmly attributed to Michael Stapleton' (Casey).  Plasterwork attr. to MS by Curran. 
Refs: C.P. Curran, Dublin Decorative Plasterwork of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (1967), 83,234; Eugenie Carr, 'A catalogue of the Stapleton family collection of Drawings in the National Library of Ireland', unpublished MA thesis, University College, Dublin, 1985, 234;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 203.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, MOUNTJOY SQUARE, NO. 044
Date: ?
Nature: Plasterwork attr. to MS by Curran. (House formerly belonged to George Stapleton; since demolished & rebuilt.)
Refs: C.P. Curran, Dublin Decorative Plasterwork of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (1967), 83

Building: CO. DUBLIN, CORK ABBEY (BRAY)
Date: ?
Nature: Plasterwork attr. by Curran to MS. For Col. Edward Wingfield (1772-1859, therefore could be by George Stapleton)
Refs: C.P. Curran, Dublin Decorative Plasterwork (1967), 211 (attribution based on presence of unsigned detail drawing for 'Cornice in Honble. Col. Wingfields Parlour Cork Abbey Bray' in NLI, Stapleton Collection, 2268, see Eugenie Carr, 'A catalogue of the Stapleton family collection of drawings in the National Library of Ireland', unpublished MA thesis, University College, Dublin, 1985, 211,236

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, DENMARK ST GREAT, NO. 005 (KILLEEN HOUSE)
Date: ?
Nature: Plasterwork possibly by MS
Refs: C.P. Curran, Dublin Decorative Plasterwork (1967), 83; Eugenie Carr, 'A catalogue of the Stapleton family collection of Drawings in the National Library of Ireland', unpublished MA thesis, University College, Dublin, 1985, 234

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, GEORGE'S STREET NORTH GREAT, NO. 035
Date: ?
Nature: Plasterwork possibly by MS.
Refs: Eugenie Carr, 'A catalogue of the Stapleton family collection of Drawings in the National Library of Ireland', unpublished MA thesis, University College, Dublin, 1985, 147,235