- Born: 1740 Died: 1792
Architect, of Cork and Dublin. Thomas Penrose came from a Quaker family which had established itself in Waterford. He was born in 1740, the second son of Francis Penrose by his wife Susanna Pim.(1) He inherited property in Cork from his grandfather William Penrose, who died in 1745 or 1746. In the late 1760s he became involved in some way with the Tyrone navigation as is indicated by the fact that in 1773 he exhibited at the Society of Artists in Ireland, Dublin, an 'Elevation of the navigable bridge on the new Tyrone navigation, designed and executed by Davis Dukart, engineer, in 1768, under Thomas Penrose'.(2) Much later, in the Dublin Evening Post of 12 August 1788, he is mentioned as being employed on the Tyrone Colliery.(3)
Penrose married Jane Spiller of Roscarbery, Co. Cork, in Cork in 1782. In the same year he was employed by the Dublin Wide Streets Commissioners, who instructed him to 'lay down a plan of the several grounds surveyed so as to lay down different Streets, Making Dame Street Eighty feet wide'.(4) He acted as JAMES WYATT' s agent or assistant for his Irish works from 1772 until 1787.(5) In April 1784 he was appointed Inspector of Civil Buildings in succession to THOMAS COOLEY. (6) He held the post until his death in 1792, when he was succeeded by VINCENT WALDR É.
Penrose may have had early aspirations to be a painter. He is presumably the Thomas Penrose of Cork who exhibited 'A landscape and cattle' and 'Still Life' as an honorary exhibitor at the Society of Artists in Ireland in 1771.(7) He provided Gabriel Beranger with the original of his view of Carrick Castle, Co. Meath.(8)
Penrose was a subscriber to Richardson's Book of Ceilings(1776) and probably to James Lewis's Original Designs in Architecture (1780); these volumes were presumably sold after his death with the rest of his library. Attending the auction of Penrose's books in 1793, JAMES GANDON was mortified to find his own designs for additions to the House of Commons among the lots for sale.(9) An album of designs for ceilings, doors and other architectural features which formerly belonged to Penrose is in the National Library of Ireland.(10)
Addresses:(10) Fleet Street, Dublin, 1773;(11) 5 South Cumberland Street, 1781-1783; Ranelagh Road, 1784; 56 Camden Street, 1785-89.
All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from the account of Penrose in Frederick O'Dwyer, 'Making connections in Georgian Ireland', BIGS 37 (1996-97),16-18.
(1) LGI (1904), 643.
(2) G. Breeze, Society of Artists in Ireland: Index of Exhibits 1765-80 (1985), 21; two years earlier he had exhibited a landscape with cattle and a still life with the Society.
(3) IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44.
(4) E. McParland, 'The Wide Streets Commissioners: their importance for Dublin architecture in the late 18th - early 19th century', QBIGS 15 (Jan-Mar 1972), 10; there are further references to Penrose in the Commissioners' minutes, on 23 Mar & 30 Aug 1782 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
(5) John Martin Robinson, James Wyatt: architect to George III (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2012), 103. A volume of drawings by Wyatt and Penrose is in NLI.
(6) Faulkner's Dublin Journal 13-15 Apr 1784.
(7) Breeze, op.cit., above, 36.
(8) Beranger's copy is reproduced in Peter Harbison, ed., Beranger's Views of Ireland (1991), Plate 4).
(9) T.J. Mulvany, The Life of James Gandon(1846), 116.
(10) For a description see C.P. Curran, Dublin Decorative Plasterwork of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (1967), 74-5.
(11) From Wilson's Dublin Directory unless otherwise stated.
(12) See note 2, above.
14 work entries listed in chronological order for PENROSE, THOMAS
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, LUCAN HOUSE|
|Nature:||Drawing for 'lobby to the bed chamber'. For Agmondisham Vesey.|
|Refs:||Signed drawing (?dated '4.76') in NLI, AD 1593|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, WOODVILLE (LUCAN)|
|Nature:||Proposed adds., for Col. Henry Theophilus Clements. With Thomas Rodderick?|
|Refs:||Signed & dated drawings in NLI, AD 2672-2674|
|Building:||CO. WATERFORD, CURRAGHMORE|
|Nature:||'neo-classical ceilings...often attributed to Wyatt, may...be Penrose's work'|
|Refs:||Frederick O'Dwyer, 'Making connections in Georgian Ireland', BIGS 37 (1996-97), 18|
|Building:||CO. MEATH, SLANE CASTLE|
|Nature:||Design for eating parlor entablature (& others). For ? Conyngham. Survey drawings, Apr 1783.|
|Refs:||Signed drawing of 1770s and 2 survey drawings, 1783, in IAA, Murray Collection, Acc. 92/46, nos. 1088,1103,1104; further survey drawings, Apr 1783, in Slane Castle Collection|
|Building:||CO. WATERFORD, WATERFORD, ADELPHI QUAY, HOUSES (003)|
|Nature:||TP 'probably...the architect of the long-demolished terrace of three houses...built by his first cousins Samuel and William Penrose'|
|Refs:||Frederick O'Dwyer, 'Making connections in Georgian Ireland', BIGS 37 (1996-97),18|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CASTLE STREET, DUBLIN CASTLE|
|Nature:||Conversion of Battle Axe Hall into Presence Chamber. Plan of St Patrick's Hall (survey or proposal?).
Frederick O'Dwyer, 'Making connections in Georgian Ireland', BIGS 37 (1996-97), 18; Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 355,356-7.
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, CHIEF SECRETARY'S LODGE|
|Nature:||Detail drawing(s) in NLI.|
|Refs:||Signed drawing of entablature for study, dated 28 Aug 1784, in NLI, Stapleton Collection, 2241 (also unsigned drawing for drawing room cornice, dated 7 Mar 1787, NLI 2242recto) 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, 160|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, COLLEGE GREEN, PARLIAMENT HOUSE|
|Nature:||May have worked on alts.|
|Refs:||APSD, P, 82|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, SEWER|
|Nature:||Work on sewer for Paving Board.|
|Refs:||JHCI 13, clxxxvi (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44)|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, VICE-REGAL LODGE|
|Nature:||Works at same.|
|Refs:||Unsigned drawing for drawing room cornice, dated 7 Mar 1787, in NLI, Stapleton Collection, 2242recto, 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, 169|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, COLLEGE GREEN, POST OFFICE (OLD)|
|Nature:||Work on same. Paid £50.|
|Refs:||JHCI 12, dlxxx, and Public Accounts 25, App.dcxxx (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44)|
|Building:||CO. WATERFORD, WATERFORD, BRIDGE OVER RIVER SUIR|
|Nature:||Unexecuted proposal for 11-arch bridge over River Suir.|
|Refs:||Elevation in private collection, Dublin; see Frederick O'Dwyer, 'Making connections in Georgian Ireland', BIGS 37 (1996-97), 16-17(illus.),18|
|Building:||CO. WICKLOW, BLESSINGTON, DOWNSHIRE HOUSE|
|Nature:||Improvements for Wills Hill, 1st Marquess of Downshire.
PRONI D607 & D671/v360 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); Maurice Craig, The Architecture of Ireland from the earliest times to 1880 (1982), 146; photograph in IAA Reading Room box files.
|Building:||CO. WICKLOW, BLESSINGTON, CHURCH|
|Nature:||For Lord Downshire (i.e. chapel at Blessington House?)|
|Refs:||PRONI D607 & D671/v360 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44)|