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James Gandon, 1742–1823, British

Elevation for the West Front of Parliament House, Dublin

ca. 1787
Watercolor and pen and brown ink on medium, slightly textured, cream laid paper bar scale of 1/8 inch to 1 foot
Sheet: 9 7/8 x 15 1/16 inches (25.1 x 38.3 cm)

Paul Mellon collector's mark; Watermark: J Whatman

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawing & Watercolors-Architectural
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
architectural subject | columns | elevation (drawing) | niches | parliament | relief
Associated Places:
Dublin | Ireland
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IIIF Manifest:

An admirer and student of Sir William chambers (cats. 116-17), James Gandon was the foremost neoclassical architect working in Dublin in the late eighteenth century. Although his designs, such as this one for the Parliament House in Dublin, echo the forms of ancient Roman architecture, Gandon himself never traveled beyond Great Britain and Ireland. Rather, he learned classical architecture through discussions with Chambers, by looking at prints and drawings, and by studying books such as Vitruvius Britannicus. Admired during his lifetime as "Vitruvius Hibernicus," Gandon published s two-volume expansion of Campbell's seminal text. Through Irish connections made at the London home of Paul Sandby, Gandon was invited to Ireland by John Dawson, 2nd Viscount Carlow (later 1st Earl of Portarlington). In Dublin by 1781, he became a prominent figure in the redesign of Dublin that marked this period. His designs for the domed Custom House (1781-91) on the River Liffey and the adjacent Four Courts building established the public face of Georgian Dublin. He also designed additions to the Irish Parliament House when Westminster renounced its right to legislate Ireland in 1783. In this design for the Ionic-columned west front, Gandon demonstrates his study of classical form as well as his interest in sculptural decoration. The project of expanding both the House of Lords and the House of Commons became the work of many architects, and Irish architect Samuel Hayes adapted Gandon's design for the west Façade.

Morna O'Neill

Wilcox, Forrester, O'Neil, Sloan. The Line of Beauty: British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century. Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2001. pg. 150 cat. no. 128

Ireland - Art on a World Stage 1690-1840 (The Art Institute of Chicago, 2015-03-17 - 2015-06-07) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Line of Beauty : British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century (Yale Center for British Art, 2001-05-19 - 2001-08-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

British Architectural Drawings (Yale Center for British Art) (Yale Center for British Art, 1982-04-21 - 1982-05-30) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

William Laffan, Ireland : crossroads of art and design, 1690-1840, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 2015, p. 228, no. 45, no. 45, N6787 .I74 2015 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

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