27 December 2016

Visiting four favourite buildings in Dublin
by Sir Thomas Newenham Deane (1)

The Lombardo-Romanesque frontfaçade of Saint Ann’s Church, Dawson Street, Dublin … designed by Sir Thomas Newenham Deane (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

The architect Sir Thomas Newenham Deane (1828-1899) was born on 15 June 1828 at Dundanion, Co Cork, the eldest son of Thomas Deane and his second wife, Eliza Newenham. He was educated at Rugby and Trinity College Dublin (BA, 1849). After graduation, he became a pupil in his father’s office in Cork.

In 1851 Deane and his father’s assistant, Benjamin Woodward (1816-1861), became partners in the practice of Deane and Woodward. Woodward, who was born in Tullamore, Co Offaly, trained as an engineer but developed an early interest in mediaeval architecture.

In October 1853, Woodward and Deane set up an office at No. 3 Upper Merrion Street, Dublin. Deane and Woodward developed a Gothic style based on the naturalistic principles laid down by John Ruskin, and their practice played an important role in the Gothic revival in England. Their two most important buildings are the Museum in Trinity College Dublin (1854-1857) and the Oxford Museum (1854-1860).

As an artist, Deane was also a regular exhibitor at the Royal Hibernian Academy from 1863 to 1898.

Woodward died in Lyons in France in 1862. In 1878 Sir Thomas Newenham Deane’s eldest son, Thomas Manly Deane, joined the partnership. Deane was one of four Irish architects who attended the Architects’ Conference in London in 1871. He believed that architects should have a broad education that included fine art and the study of the antique.

In 1875, Deane was appointed the first Superintendent of National Monuments. In 1890, Deane was knighted at the opening of the National Library and National Museum in Kildare Street.

Despite his fame and public acclamation, Deane was a shy person and suffered from a speech impediment and shyness. He was an associate and later a Member of the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (FRIAI), a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (FRIBA), and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland (FRSAI).

He died suddenly in his office at 37 Saint Stephen’s Green, Dublin, on 8 November 1899 and was buried in Deansgrange Cemetery, Co Dublin. His practice was continued by his son, Thomas Manly Deane.

Deane’s best known works in Dublin include the National Library and the National Museum in Kildare Street, bookending Leinster House. However, this week I want to look at four of his buildings that are among my favourite works of architecture in Dublin:

1, The Museum Building in Trinity College, Dublin;

2, No 46-47 Dame Street, which was built in 1869-1871 for the Crown Life Assurance Co;

3, The Allied Irish Bank, formerly the Munster and Leinster Bank, at 7-10 Dame Street Dublin;

4, the former Kildare Street Club on Kildare Street.

Deane’s other works also include the former Stopford House Hotel, or Invermore, in Courtown, Co Wexford, which was designed around 1860 for the Earl Courtown’s land agent, and at one time was the home of Eva Mary Comerford (née Esmond) and her daughter Maire Comerford (1893-1982); Rathmichael Parish Church (1863), Co Dublin; Turlough House, Co Mayo, built for Charles Lionel Fitzgerald; the New Lombardo-Romanesque front for Saint Ann’s Church, Dawson Street, Dublin (1866-1869), inspired by two churches in Rome – the baroque façade of San Giacomo in Augusta (degli Incurabili) in central Rome and Francesco Borromini’s tower at Sant’Agnese in Agone in the Piazza Navona; and the Graduates’ Memorial Building (GMB) in Trinity College Dublin (1899).

Join me this week as I visit the four buildings I have selected, all within walking distance of each other.

Tomorrow: The Museum Building in Trinity College, Dublin.

The Museum Building in Oxford was also designed by Woodward and Deane and decorated by O’Shea and Whelan (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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