Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Irish-born architect who supervised the erection of Ickworth, Suffolk, for Frederick Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry, from 1796 onwards. He appears to have been the son of FRANCIS SANDYS [1]  FRANCIS SANDYS [1] of Dublin. In March 1789 Faulkner's Dublin Journal drew the attention of the public to 'An elegant fountain…now constructing in Smithfield' to the design of 'that ingenious young Architect Mr Francis Sandy, jun.' who had also designed another fountain which was to be erected in a recess in the wall of Trinity College facing Dawson Street.(1) He was admitted a freeman of the city of Dublin as a member of the Merchants' Guild by virtue of birth at Easter 1790.(2) In November of the same year he was taking orders for bricks which would be ready 'early in the next season'.(3) At this period his brother JOSEPH SANDYS  JOSEPH SANDYS was living in Co. Derry as Frederick Hervey's domestic chaplain, while also acting as clerk of works for the construction of Hervey's new house at Ballyscullion. Francis Sandys may have moved from Dublin to join his brother in Co. Derry in 1791 in the hope or expectation of Hervey's patronage.(4) Hervey encouraged him to visit Rome and may also have supported his travels financially.

Sandys probably set out for Rome in July 1791, when Hervey wrote a letter of introduction to Canova on his behalf. He had arrived in Rome by the beginning of September and remained there for four and a half years. In November 1794 Hervey appeared in Rome on his final visit to the city, from which he was never to return alive. He immediately commissioned Charles Tatham, a young English architect, to design his new villa at Ickworth and arranged a meeting between Tatham and 'another Architect, a young student of Ireland'(5) who was presumably Sandys. The Tatham commission came to nothing; instead Hervey settled on designs by Tatham's friend Mario Asprucci. When Sandys left Italy in April 1796, he went directly to Ickworth to superintend construction of the house to Asprucci's plans with modifications by himself.(6) His brother Joseph made a striking wood and papier maché model of the house.(7)

Sandys settled in England, practising as an architect in Bury St Edmunds and, from 1808, in London.(8) In 1809 he contracted to design and build a court house at Durham, but with disastrous consequences. The building was badly carried out by dishonest workmen and had to be largely rebuilt. The Durham magistrates sued Sandys and were awarded £20,000 damages against him. Sandys was ruined, and nothing further is known of him.

The Irish Architectural Archive has an elevation of a three-span masonry bridge - possibly a proposal for Sarah Bridge, Dublin - signed by 'F. Sandys, Jr' and dated 1790 (Acc. 2000/102).

Addresses: 35 Dawson Street, 1789-1790;(9) 14 Peter Street, 1790.(10)

See WORKS for Irish work only.


All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from Howard Colvin, A Biographical dictionary of British architects 1600-1840 (4th edn., 2008), 902-3, and from John Ingamells, ed., A Dictionary of British and Irish travellers in Italy 1701-1800 (1997), 128-9,840-841,927.

(1) Faulkner's Dublin Journal 21-24 Mar 1789.
(2) 'An alphabetical list of the Freemen of the City of Dublin, 1774-1824', The Irish Ancestor XV (1983), Nos. 1 & 2, 112.
(3) Faulkner's Dublin Journal 30 Oct-2 Nov 1790.
(4) In the records of his children's baptisms in the Ickworth parish registers, he is described as being 'of Kilrea', Co. Derry; this may be a confusion with Joseph Sandys, who was rector of Kilrea from 1794-1798.
(5) Letter from Tatham to Henry Holland, 19 Nov 1794 (V & A 92.D.28, p. 3) (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44); Pamela Tudor-Craig, 'The Evolution of Ickworth', Country Life 153, 17 May 1973, 1363, gives the date as 9 Nov.
(6) Sandys exhibited a design for Ickworth at the Royal Academy, 1797 (no. 1066); for a discussion of his role in the design, see Tudor-Craig, op. cit.,1364-5.
(7) Illus. in Tudor-Craig, op. cit., 1363,1365, and Jeremy Musson, 'Modelled on a Roman Theme', Country Life 203, 23 Apr 1998, Pls.1-6.
(8) For his works in England, see Colvin.
(9) From Wilson's Dublin Directory.
(10) Faulkner's Dublin Journal, 30 Oct-2 Nov 1790.

4 work entries listed in chronological order for SANDYS, FRANCIS [2]

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Date: 1789
Nature: Proposed fountain in recess in wall of Trinity College facing Dawson St from designs 'by that ingenious young Architect Mr Francis Sandy, jun.'
Refs: Faulkner's Dublin Journal, 21-24 Mar 1789

Date: 1790
Nature: Proposed design for a bridge.
Refs: Elevation, s. F. Sandys, Jr & d. 1890, for 3-arched bridge over tidal river in IAA, Acc. 2000/102

Date: 1796-1798p
Nature: FS supervises design of house to designs by Mario Asprucci, for Frederick Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol.
Refs: Howard Colvin, A Biographical dictionary of British architects 1600-1840 (4th edn., 2008), 902.

Date: 1889
Nature: 'An elegant fountain is now constructing in Smithfield' from designs 'by that ingenious young Architect Mr Francis Sandy, jun.'
Refs: Faulkner's Dublin Journal, 21-24 Mar 1889