Townley Hall was built for Blaney Townley Balfour in 1798. In his three-part illustrated essay, Robert O’Byrne recounts the family’s history in the area from the early 17th century onwards. He tells the story of how the house was passed down through many generations of the Balfour family, before being purchased by Trinity College Dublin in 1956, and subsequently by the School of Philosophy & Economic Science in the 1980s. Michael Telford continues the story to the present day.
Francis Johnston (1760-1829) was from Co Armagh and is recognised – along with James Gandon and Edward Lovett Pearce – as one of the leading architects of his time. His principal buildings in Dublin include the General Post Office (GPO), St George’s Church in Hardwicke Place, and the Chapel Royal in Dublin Castle. He also designed many fine houses, but Townley Hall is recognised as one of his masterpieces – its outstanding feature being the central rotunda and its magnificent cantilevered spiral staircase. In a series of feature articles on Townley Hall in 1948, Country Life magazine declared that “There is nothing lovelier in the Georgian architecture of these islands than the rotunda and staircase at Townley Hall.”
This beautifully produced and sumptuously illustrated large-format book includes:
- an introduction by Robert Townley
- an essay on the architecture of Townley Hall by Michael and Victoria Kavanagh
- a three-part illustrated essay on the origins, construction and subsequent history of Townley Hall by Robert O’Byrne
- an illustrated essay on Townley’s recent history by Michael Telford
- the Country Life coverage by Seán O’Reilly, complete with all the original photographs from 1948
- a revealing illustrated essay by Brendan Kiernan on the detailing and construction of Townley Hall
- a biography of Francis Johnston and a complete catalogue of his works by Michael Kavanagh, illustrated with 200 drawings and photographs
- dozens of full-page colour plates by leading architectural photographer Ros Kavanagh, together with the Townley Hall collection of architectural drawings, and a set of survey drawings by MVK Architects.