20 Dominick Street

Dublin, Ireland

Background

Twenty Dominick Street, onetime residence of 18th-century master stucco craftsman Robert West, is located on the north side of Dublin. The brick Georgian building rises four stories and extends five bays wide, with external corners reinforced with quoins. A notable feature is an entryway inspired by classical Doric temple façades, complete with pediment, triglyphs, metopes, and Doric columns. The building is considered to be among the finest 18th century townhouses in Dublin. West, who followed in a long family tradition of stucco craftsmen dating back to the 15th century, designed his home, which displayed exuberantly crafted Rococo style decorative stucco ranking among the best in Ireland.

How We Helped

WMF, the National Youth Federation of Ireland, local restoration experts, and young professionals involved in a plaster restoration program completed a three-year conservation project that began in the late 1990’s, to return much of the interior and exterior of the building to its original splendor. The first three phases focused on restoration, rehabilitation, and reconstruction of the historic fabric. Phase one of the project began with a thorough cleaning of the building. Next all aluminum windows on the front façade and two floors in the rear were removed and replaced with timber-framed windows. Concrete sills were removed and replaced with granite sills to match the originals. Further window treatment included the installation of shutters and sash boxes. Phase two of the project concentrated on the interior restoration of the first two floors. Extensive paint analysis was conducted to determine the original paint scheme. Ceilings were extensively cleaned and restored as necessary. The third phase involved the cleaning and restoration of the Rococo plasterwork on the ceilings and walls and the restoration of the main staircase.

Why It Matters

Robert West’s reputation as one of the most skilled Irish plaster craftsmen still stands. Notable projects included Rotunda Hospital, 4 and 5 Parnell Square, and 9 Cavendish Row, where West broke from his previous, more conservative work and became more adventurous and bold with ever more expressive designs that set the tone for his future work. At 20 Dominick Street, his own home, West was able to indulge his creative spirit and apply his considerable talents to create a personal vision that was considered to be one of the finest executions of his career and the period.

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