James Gandon (1743-1823)

James Gandon (1743-1823) was of French Huguenot descent and studied under William Chambers in England . His most important work in England was Nottingham County Hall of which only the façade survives. In 1781 he came to Dublin at the behest of Lord Carlow and John Beresford to supervise the construction of the new Custom House and later the Four Courts also on the banks of the Liffey. History has it that Gandon had to be smuggled in to Dublin because of the widespread opposition to the Custom House. Other buildings include the east and west porticos to Pearce’s Houses of Parliament and the Law Society at Kings Inns. The interiors of the Custom House and the Four Courts were both destroyed by fire in 1921 and 1922 respectively and the Kings Inns was completed by his pupil Henry Aaron Baker. Originally the design and construction of the Four Courts was entrusted to Thomas Cooley, who was the architect of the Royal Exchange now the City Hall. He died however before either building was completed and the design of the Four Courts was taken over by Gandon. Part of Cooley’s building which was already built was incorporated into Gandon’s design.

He was responsible for publishing with J.Woolfe, two supplementary volumes to Vitruvius Britannicus in 1769 and 1771. Gandon seen his visit to Ireland as a temporary affair, as he intended to return home to England. Like Dean Swift however, this was not to be and he died at his home in Lucan, County Dublin in 1823 after spending 42 years in Dublin.