Leinster House


2 September 2019

In September 2019 a major conservation programme was completed at Leinster House by the Office of Public Works. The CRAFTVALUE team was conducted through the building from basement to roof-space by the conservation team. This provided us with the opportunity to compare the finished ceilings to the original drawings by Richard Castle held in the Irish Architectural Archive. While the architect’s design was followed in broad outline, the detail of the ceiling mouldings was considerably altered in execution, a common occurrence in the period which shows the collaborative nature of the completion process involving designer, patron and craftsman.

As at the Provost’s House of Trinity College, it was discovered that the original skirting boards at Leinster House were painted black, a practical device in an age of horse-powered transport , also seen in the black marble plinths of Roman churches. Particularly fascinating was the necessary dismantling and reinstatement of timber columns in the ground floor library which revealed the secrets of the eighteenth-century joiner in assembling the columns from a multitude of small parts, a complex task belied by the finesse of the finished product.

Further reading

J.T. Gilbert, A History of the City of Dublin, vol. III, Dublin,1859.

The Knight of Glin, ‘Richard Castle, architect, his biography and works’ in Bulletin of the Irish Georgian Society, 7, no. 1 (Jan – Mar 1964), 32-38.

 David J. Griffin, ‘Leinster House and Isaac Ware’ in Agnes Bernelle, ed., Decantations: a tribute to Maurice Craig, Dublin, 1992.  

David J. Griffin & Caroline Pegum, Leinster House, Dublin, 2000.

Christine Casey,  Dublin, New Haven & London, 2005.

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