Architect and mason, of Dublin, active from the 1750s until at least the late1770s. Robert Mack appears to have come from Scotland; in 1760 he was unflatteringly described by THOMAS EYRE , architect to the Barrack Board, as 'an obscure journeyman stonecutter' who had been dismissed by the King's Works in Scotland for misbehaviour. Though Eyre had reason to be biassed against him, Mack does indeed seem to have been a mason by training. According to Harris, he built Essex bridge to designs by GEORGE SEMPLE in 1753-57 but 'was a considerable loser, by a mistake in the contract, as well as some untoward accidents'. He was working for the Barrack Board in 1764 and may be the Mr Mack of James's Street, Dublin, who exhibited 'A design for His Majesty's Courts of Justice' at the Society of Artists in Ireland in 1765 (no. 67). He was an entrant in the Royal Exchange competition of 1768-9. In the late 1760s he tendered successfully to build Rialto Bridge, but was dismissed in 1769 when his work was found to be 'insufficient, as well from the opinion of competent judges, as Mr Mack's own acknowledgment'. In 1771 he designed Powerscourt House, South William Street. He submitted a bill for work at Newbridge, Co. Dublin, in 1777.
The announcement of the marriage of 'Mr Robert Mack, architect of Great George's Street' to Miss Mary Lodge of Exchequer Lane 'a few days ago' appears in Faulkner's Dublin Journal for 5-7 January 1775. 'Robert Mack, architect' is listed as a subscriber for two copies of Pool & Cash's Views… in the City of Dublin (1780). He was presumably related to JOHN MACK. A drawing for a chimneypiece in the Powerscourt Albums in the Irish Architectural Archive is signed by Robert Mack, or inscribed with his signature.
The Irish Architectural Archive holds a three-quarter-length seated portrait of an architect, signed 'J. Trotter, 1784', which is believed to be portrait of Robert Mack (Acc. 2008/59). A design by Mack for a chimneypiece is in the Powerscourt Albums, Acc. 89/62.1/5/3.
Eyre was writing in response to a report by the Barrack Board on the Royal Barracks which sought to imply that he had been negligent, and Mack was one of the three contractors who had been asked by the Board to to assess the condition of the building; see F. O'Dwyer, 'Building empires: architecture, politics and the Board of Works 1760-1860', Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies 5 (2002), 114-116.
Walter Harris, History and Antiquities of the City of Dublin (1766), 474.
JHCI VII, Appendix cclxvi (1764) (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
G. Breeze & M. Wynne, Society of Artists in Irelalnd: Index of Exhibits 1765-80 (National Gallery of Ireland, 1985, 18.
B 27, 2 Oct 1869, 781.
CARD XII, 24-25.
Robert Pool & John Cash, Views…in the City of Dublin (1780), 113.
Alec Cobbe and Terry Friedman, James Gibbs in Ireland: Newbridge, his villa for Charles Cobbe, Arcbishop of Dublin (Cobbe Foundation & Irish Georgian Society, 2005), 32. Cobbe and Friedman also suggest that Mack may have been the mason employed on the building of Newbridge in the 1750s.
According to www.familysearch.org (2008), he married Mary Lodge at St Anne's church, Dublin, on 3 January 1775.
IAA Acc. 89/62, Powerscourt Albums, Vol. 1, p. 5, no. 3.
This portrait was formerly in a private collection in the United States.