When Sir George Gilbert Scott returned to London after being knighted, he was immediately engulfed in work: the submission date for the Cathedral of St Mary’s, Edinburgh, was less than a fortnight away and, in the meantime, on 22 August 1872, he visited Ireland to inspect and sketch Dunsany Castle. This is thirty miles north-west of Dublin and was owned by the seventeenth Lord Dunsany, who commissioned Scott to draw up plans for a massive extension to his largely eighteenth century Gothick mansion. Scott seems to have intended to make it look more like a genuine medieval castle, as the plans included a ‘Keep’ and a ‘heavy entrance tower’, and it was estimated that they would cost a massive £45,000.
Work started on the Castle in 1875 but only the foundations were laid before Dunsany abandoned the scheme and concentrated on improving his estate. In 1878 the fees account was rendered for £1,653 or two and a half per cent on the £45,000 estimated cost of the project and for the executed foundations.
(RIBA) Scott’s Sketchbook, 39, Drawings Collection 83 [a], sketched 22/8/1872.
Fisher, G., Stamp, G. and Heseltine, J., (eds), The Scott Family, Catalogue of the Drawings Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Avebury Publishing, Amersham, 1981), 83 [a].
Casey, C. and Rowan, A., North Leinster, Buildings of Ireland (Penguin Books, London, 1993), pp. 280-1.
Country Life , CXLIX, 3 June 1971, pp. 1365-6.
Stamp, G., An Architect of Promise, George Gilbert Scott Junior (1839-1897) and the Late Gothic Revival (Shaun Tyas, Donnington, 2002), p. 376.
RIBA Drawings Collection, Ledger of Scott’s Office, 1875-1914, p. 35.
Cole, D., The Work of Sir Gilbert Scott (The Architectural Press, London, 1980), p. 211.
Country Life, CXLIX, 3 June 1971, pp. 1365-6.
RIBA Drawings Collection, Scott’s Office Ledger 1875-1914, p. 35.