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John Nash in Ireland: Patronage and Legacy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 December 2020

Abstract

Studies on Irish architectural history following the Act of Union in 1801 have concentrated on public buildings. This article introduces an important new perspective to the subject by exploring John Nash (1752–1835) and his work in Ireland from 1803 to 1810. Nash is best known for the work he undertook for the prince regent, later King George IV. Relatively little is known of his other clients. However, patronage connections were singularly important to Nash and it was ultimately their high social and political profile that contributed to his career's upward trajectory. Nowhere are these connections more evident than in Ireland, where practically all of Nash's clients can be linked to his first known Irish patron, James Stewart (1741–1821) of Killymoon Castle in County Tyrone, and his wife Elizabeth née Molesworth (1751–1835). The timing of Nash's arrival in Ireland within a year of the Act of Union is also significant. Many of his Irish clients were new MPs at Westminster or representative peers elected to the House of Lords whose shared desire for personal aggrandisement found form in building works. In spite of Nash's often troubled relationships with his clients, his architectural output in Ireland was versatile and involved a variety of styles. As Nash's involvement with the prince regent grew, his supervisory role in Ireland passed to his pupils James and George Richard Pain, who in time established successful architectural practices of their own in the country. Few of Nash's Irish buildings have survived the test of time, but his legacy in Ireland is preserved in the works of the Pain brothers, whose design style remained remarkably faithful to their teaching master.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain 2020

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References

1 See Summerson, John, John Nash: Architect to King George IV (London, 1935; rev. 1949)Google Scholar; Davis, Terence, The Architecture of John Nash (London, 1960)Google Scholar; Davis, Terence, John Nash: The Prince Regent's Architect (London, 1966; repr. 1973)Google Scholar; Summerson, John, The Life and Work of John Nash, Architect (London, 1980)Google Scholar; Mansbridge, Michael, John Nash: A Complete Catalogue (London, 1991; repr. 2004)Google Scholar; Suggett, Richard, John Nash: Architect in Wales (Aberystwyth, 1995)Google Scholar; and Tyack, Geoffrey, ed., John Nash: Architect of the Picturesque (Swindon, 2013)Google Scholar.

2 Some sources erroneously refer to James Stewart's son, Colonel William Stewart, as Nash's first client.

3 See, for example, Murray Fraser, ‘Public Building and Colonial Policy in Dublin, 1760–1800’, Architectural History, 28 (1985), pp. 102–23, and Judith Hill, ‘Architecture in the Aftermath of Union: Building the Viceregal Chapel in Dublin Castle, 1801–15’, Architectural History, 60 (2017), pp. 183–217.

4 For a detailed account of Nash's early years, see Richard Suggett, ‘The Early Life of John Nash, Architect: Family, Marriage and Divorce; Speculation, Bankruptcy and Litigation’, Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, 15 (2009), pp. 59–86.

5 Davis, The Prince Regent's Architect, p. 20; Summerson, Life and Work, pp. 13–14.

6 Joseph Farington, The Farington Diary, ed. James Greig, 8 vols (London, 1922–28), VIII, p. 301.

7 Summerson, Life and Work, p. 18.

8 Davis, The Architecture of John Nash, pp. 22–23.

9 Suggett, Architect in Wales, pp. 65–83; Charles Watkins and Ben Cowell, Uvedale Price (1747–1829): Decoding the Picturesque (Woodbridge, 2012), pp. 87–98.

10 Summerson, Life and Work, pp. 32–33.

11 Summerson, Life and Work, pp. 33–34, 40–41.

12 Summerson, Life and Work, p. 50.

13 Jennifer McKendry, ‘The Attitude of John Nash toward the Gothic Revival Style’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 47 (1988), pp. 295–96. Kenneth Clark's The Gothic Revival (London, 1928) created the misconception that Nash disliked the Gothic style and depended on his draughtsman Augustus Charles Pugin to produce it when required.

14 Summerson, Life and Work, p. 44.

15 Davis, The Prince Regent's Architect, p. 44.

16 For a biographical note on John Nash and a full list of his Irish works, see the Irish Architectural Archive's Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720–1940 at dia.ie/architects/view/3979/nash-john (accessed on 19 March 2020).

17 See, for example, Summerson, Life and Work, p. 44.

18 Belfast, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland [hereafter PRONI], ‘Introduction: Stewart of Killymoon Papers’, nidirect.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/stewart-of-killymoon-papers.pdf (accessed on 23 July 2019), p. 4; Summerson, Life and Work, pp. 40–41.

19 William, Marquis of Kildare, to Emily, Duchess of Leinster, 23 March 1768. See Emilia Mary Lennox Fitzgerald, Correspondence of Emily, Duchess of Leinster (1731–1814), ed. Brian FitzGerald, 3 vols (Dublin, 1949–57), III, p. 513.

20 Quoted in The History of Parliament, historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1790-1820/member/stewart-james-1742-1821 (accessed on 22 February 2020).

21 John H. Gebbie, An Introduction to the Abercorn Letters, as Relating to Ireland, 17361816 (Omagh, 1972), p. 169.

22 London, Sir John Soane's Museum [hereafter SM], XV.A.2.5, Robert Woodgate to John Soane, 18 November 1799.

23 PRONI, Stewart Papers, D3167/2/160, Robert Woodgate to James Stewart, 27 December 1801; Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster (New Haven and London, 2003), p. 50.

24 PRONI, Stewart Papers, D3167/2/173, Elizabeth Stewart to James Stewart, 4 May 1803.

25 Timothy Mowl, ‘Designs by John Carter for Lea Castle, Worcestershire’, Architectural History, 25 (1982), pp. 47–55 (p. 49).

26 Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland, p. 334.

27 Dublin, Trinity College Library, Beaufort Papers, MS 4033, Daniel Augustus Beaufort, ‘Journal of a Tour in the North and West of Ireland, 1807–1808’, 14 October 1807.

28 Paxton quoted in Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland, p. 334.

29 Selkirk quoted in Davis, The Architecture of John Nash, pp. 44–45.

30 Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 2 vols (London, 1837), I, p. 395.

31 Davis, The Architecture of John Nash, p. 51; Mansbridge, Complete Catalogue (London, 2004), p. 241.

32 Mansbridge, Complete Catalogue, p. 314.

33 E. M. Jope, ‘Lissan Rectory, Kilwaughter Castle, and the Buildings in the North of Ireland Designed by John Nash’, Ulster Journal of Archaeology, 3rd ser., 19 (1956), pp. 121–30 (p. 126).

34 For a discussion of Millar's work at Kilwaughter Castle, see C. E. B. Brett, ‘Brett on John Millar, Architect of Belfast’, Ulster Architect, 11.9 (1994), pp. 4–6. The building is now a ruin.

35 A. P. W. Malcolmson, The Pursuit of an Heiress: Aristocratic Marriage in Ireland 1740–1840 (Belfast, 2006), pp. 90–91; Gordon Wheeler, ‘John Nash and the Building of Rockingham’, in Avenues to the Past, ed. T. Reeves and R. Oram (Belfast, 2003), pp. 169–95 (p. 171).

36 Wheeler, ‘Rockingham’, p. 171.

37 Summerson, Life and Work, p. 49. The house was gutted by fire in 1957 and its remains were later demolished.

38 Jonathan Clarke, ‘Pioneering yet Peculiar: John Nash's Contributions to Late Georgian Building Technology’, in John Nash: Architect of the Picturesque, ed. Tyack, pp. 153–68 (p. 160).

39 Mansbridge, Complete Catalogue, p. 166.

40 Mansbridge, Complete Catalogue, pp. 88–89.

41 PRONI, DIO/4, Armagh Diocesan Registry.

42 See Davis, The Architecture of John Nash, p. 52; Summerson, Life and Work, p. 42; and Jope, ‘Lissan Rectory’, p. 123. The building continues in use as a rectory, but the round tower and adjoining service wing have been demolished.

43 Summerson, Life and Work, p. 50.

44 PRONI, Caledon Papers, D2433/A/2/10/9, John Pringle to Lord Caledon, 22 September 1808; and D2433/A/2/10/12, John Pringle to Lord Caledon, 15 May 1809.

45 Mansbridge, Complete Catalogue, p. 308.

46 The original drawings were destroyed in a fire in the twentieth century, but photographs of the drawings are held by the Historic Environment Record of Northern Ireland.

47 Kevin V. Mulligan, The Buildings of Ireland: South Ulster (The Counties of Armagh, Cavan and Monaghan) (New Haven and London, 2013), pp. 42–43. Tynan Abbey was destroyed by fire in 1981 and its ruin demolished in 1998.

48 Mansbridge, Complete Catalogue, p. 146. The drawings are in the Royal Institute of British Architects, RIBA65307–RIBA65313.

49 Chatsworth House, Devonshire Collection Archives, sixth series correspondence (1811–39), CS6/D/11, Lady Frances O'Callaghan to Louisa O'Callaghan, 29 July [1805].

50 J. Everard, ‘Shanrahan: Church, Castle, and See’, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 5th ser., 28.1 (1908), pp. 67–72 (p. 69).

51 Davis, The Architecture of John Nash, p. 23. Shanbally Castle was demolished in stages between 1957 and March 1960, when its walls were blown up by a controlled explosion.

52 Frederick O'Dwyer, ‘“A Noble Pile in the Late Tudor Style”: Mitchelstown Castle’, Irish Arts Review Yearbook, 18 (2002), pp. 30–43 (n. 24).

53 Roger White, Cottages Ornés: The Charms of the Simple Life (New Haven and London, 2017), p. 163. The building was restored between 1985 and 1989 and is now open to the public.

54 Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland, 3 vols (Dublin, London and Edinburgh, 1846), I, p. 293; Lewis, Topographical Dictionary, I, p. 239.

55 Douglas Scott Richardson, Gothic Revival Architecture in Ireland, 2 vols (New York and London, 1983), I, p. 200; Mansbridge, Complete Catalogue, pp. 216–17.

56 J. P. Neale, Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen, in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, 6 vols (London, 1819–23), V, [n.p.].

57 Terence Davis, ‘John Nash in Ireland’, Bulletin of the Irish Georgian Society, 8.2 (April–June 1965), p. 61; Davis, The Architecture of John Nash, p. 71.

58 Davis, The Architecture of John Nash, p. 50.

59 Mansbridge, Complete Catalogue, p. 180.

60 London Courier and Evening Gazette, 22 May 1816.

61 Alexander Martin Sullivan, New Ireland, 2 vols (London, 1877), I, p. 294. For an in-depth treatment of the building history of Lough Cutra Castle, see Judith Hill, ‘Mysterious Majesty’, Country Life, 9 January 2019, pp. 42–47.

62 Bernard Burke, A Visitation of the Seats and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, 2nd ser. (London, 1855), p. 191.

63 Summerson, Life and Work, p. 48.

64 Summerson, Life and Work, p. 192; Howard Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 16001840, 3rd edn (New Haven and London, 1995), p. 735.

65 Farington Diary, VIII, p. 302.

66 PRONI, Stewart Papers, D3167/A/42, John Nash to Elizabeth Stewart, undated but c. 1805–1807.

67 PRONI, Caledon Papers, D2433/A/2/10/9, John Pringle to second Earl of Caledon, 22 September 1808. The prospective client in County Limerick is yet to come to light.

68 PRONI, Caledon Papers, D2433/A/2/10/30, John Pringle to second Earl of Caledon, 20 September 1810.

69 Charles Watkins and Ben Cowell, Letters of Uvedale Price (Leeds, 2006), p. 121.

70 Elizabeth Stewart quoted in Davis, The Architecture of John Nash, p. 50.

71 PRONI, Stewart Papers, D3167/2/175, Elizabeth Stewart to James Stewart, 11 May 1803.

72 Elizabeth Stewart quoted in Davis, The Architecture of John Nash, p. 50.

73 ‘Killymoon, County of Tyrone’, Irish Penny Journal, I, 41 (10 April 1841), pp. 1–2 (p. 1).

74 Viscount Lorton quoted in Davis, The Architecture of John Nash, p. 53.

75 For building accounts relating to Rockingham and for Viscount Lorton's difficulties with Nash, see PRONI, King-Harman Papers, D4168/C/1/1–4; and Wheeler, ‘Rockingham’, pp. 172–80.

76 University of Limerick [hereafter UL], Timothy Looney Papers, P43/103, ledger containing expenditure accounts on the Shanbally estate. Building expenditure, listed under the heading ‘New mansion’, gives the date of first payment as 30 June 1811 and the last as 31 December 1813.

77 PRONI, Stewart Papers, D3167/2/175, Elizabeth Stewart to James Stewart, 11 May [1803].

78 PRONI, Stewart Papers, D3167/2/176, Elizabeth Stewart to James Stewart, 13 May 1803.

79 Elizabeth Stewart's activities at Killymoon and her correspondence with Nash is discussed in some detail in Davis, The Prince Regent's Architect, pp. 47–50.

80 Dublin, National Library of Ireland, MS Joly 12–13, Thomas Bell, ‘An Essay on Places in the North of Ireland and on Irish Politics Entitled Rambles Northward in Ireland during the Government of the Marquis Wellesley’, 1827, p. 72.

81 PRONI, Caledon Papers, D2433/A/2/10/27, John Pringle to F. A. Pigot, 2 September 1810.

82 Tyack, ed., John Nash: Architect of the Picturesque, p. xii.

83 Davis, The Prince Regent's Architect, p. 63; Summerson, Life and Work, p. 57.

84 For a biography of James Pain, see Lee, David, James Pain Architect (Limerick, 2005)Google Scholar. The year of James Pain's birth was hitherto uncertain and usually given as c. 1780, but see his baptismal record dated 12 September 1783: Isleworth All Saints Baptisms, findmypast.co.uk (accessed on 26 August 2019).

85 Obituary of James Pain, Builder, 35 (1877), p. 1303.

86 The date of George Richard Pain's birth was previously unknown and given as c. 1793, but was in fact 14 May 1792: see London Metropolitan Archives, Church of England Parish Registers 1538–1812, P90/SAV/001. Also available at ancestry.co.uk (accessed on 26 August 2019).

87 ‘Some Forgotten Books and a Family of Architects’, Builder, 100 (1911), p. 772.

88 Wheeler, ‘Rockingham’, pp. 178–79.

89 Summerson, Life and Work, pp. 48–49.

90 UL, Timothy Looney Papers, P43/143–44, accounts prepared by James Pain for work done at Shanbally Castle, 1842 and 1844 [?].

91 Richardson, Gothic Revival, I, pp. 128–39.

92 UL, Dunraven Papers, D/3196/E/2/16, Journal of Caroline Wyndham Quin, 22 December 1817.

93 UL, Dunraven Papers, D/3196/E/2/21, Journal of Caroline Wyndham Quin, 1821, passim.

94 UL, Dunraven Papers, D/3196/E/7/17, Edwin Wyndham Quin to his mother Caroline Countess of Dunraven, 30 July 1835; and D/3196/J/3/8, correspondence between James Pain and second Earl of Dunraven, 19 and 21 February 1842.

95 Caroline Wyndham Quin, Countess of Dunraven, Memorials of Adare Manor. With Historical Notices of Adare, by Her Son, the Earl of Dunraven (Oxford, 1865), pp. 147–48.

96 Bowen, Elizabeth, Bowen's Court (Cork, 1998), p. 256Google Scholar.

97 O'Dwyer, ‘Mitchelstown Castle’, p. 32.

98 O'Dwyer, ‘Mitchelstown Castle’, n. 24.

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