The following article is an entry from IGS London's Stuart Blakley's Lavender Blue.
The first time we visited Mourne Park House, November 1992, the recently widowed Julie Ann Anley whisked us off on a whistlestop tour. “It’s great!” she laughed. “No one ever bothers us here because the house isn’t architecturally important.” This was no tourist attraction. The country house as time capsule may have emerged as a phenonomen in the Eighties when Derbyshire’s Calke Abbey came to the public’s attention, but it certainly was applicable to an extreme at MPH in the wilds of County Down. While the Treasury saved Calke, sadly no knight in shining armour would come to MPH’s rescue.
Christopher Monkhouse, a leading historian of the decorative arts who held positions in several major American museums, was involved with the Irish Georgian Society for more than half a century. Arguably the crowning event of his busy and varied career, the exhibition Ireland Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690-1840, held at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015, triumphantly put the visual arts of eighteenth-century Ireland onto the ‘world stage’.
Born in Portland, Maine, in 1947, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and early alumnus (1966) of the Attingham Summer School, Christopher’s earliest passion was for the architectural heritage of his native New England. His first publication was a 1969 pamphlet for the Bostonian Society on the eighteenth-century Faneuil Hall market, then under threat.
By this date Christopher was already visiting Ireland regularly – he first came in 1966 – in time specifically to study the eighteenth-century hotels on the Grand Canal, as part of his research for a thesis at the Courtauld Institute supervised by Nikolaus Pevsner. This interest in Ireland’s contribution to hotel architecture, inevitably led him into the circle of Desmond and Mariga Guinness and the early Irish Georgian Society, and friends made at Leixlip – the late Rolf Loeber for example – would go on to contribute in one way or another to the 2015 show.
2020 IGS conservation grant pledges clockwise from top left: Bessmount Park, Monaghan, Co. Monaghan; Coastguard Cottages, Lambay Island, Co. Dublin; Kylemore Abbey Church, Co. Galway; and Pyramid Mausolea, Maudlins, Co. Kildare.
Planning Department, Dublin City Council, Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8
Re: Nos 29 & 30 Fitzwilliam Street Lower / Nos 61 & 62 Mount Street Upper Dublin 2.
For 2021 the annual spring Conserving your Dublin Period House, presented in partnership with Dublin City Council, goes online.
Enrol on this twelve week talks programme to gain expert advice on the care and conservation of your period house. The talks will be of particular interest to owners of houses listed as Protected Structures or located within Architectural Conservation Areas. These talks will also benefit building professionals and practitioners and are approved for CPD by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland, Engineers Ireland, the Irish Planning Institute and the Heritage Contractors.
Download the full Conserving your Dublin Period House programme or visit events page.
Permanent closure of the Georgian House Museum, Dublin
The permanent closure of the ESB's Georgian House Museum at No. 29 Fitzwilliam Street will be a sad and significant loss to the public presentation of Dublin's eighteenth-century heritage. Announced through a planning application with Dublin City Council which seeks a change of use of the building from museum to residential purposes, the ESB have indicated that the move is being driven by a number of factors including "budgetary realities" and a "changed cultural environment".