MUCH is already known about Edward Lovett Pearce's Dublin Parliament House of 1729, now occupied by the Bank of Ireland (Fig.10). Happily, the re-emergence - after an obscure and mildly romantic interlude - of a memorandum on the proposed building, signed by Pearce eleven months before the foundation stone was laid, tells us a good deal more. What follows is a commentary on this memorandum of which an unedited transcript is printed as an appendix. This commentary is supplemented by a review of the history of the erection of the building, with observations on its design.
VIRGILIO SPADA was a man who was used to having his way. The trusted administrator of two seventeenth-century popes and the most famous architectural amateur of baroque Rome, he left his mark on many of the most celebrated buildings of Borromini, Bernini, Cortona and other lesser architects. He was the eminence grise of Borromini's oratory, the building on which he gained his experience as a patron and critic. During the pontificate of Innocent X he super- vised the reconstruction of the Lateran basilica, and his voice was also heard on the worksites of the Palazzo Pamphilj and S. Agnese in Piazza Navona, in the planning of the Villa Pamphilj, and on the commission to investigate structural flaws in Bernini's campanile on the facade of St Peter's. Under Innocent X he was one of the most powerful men in Rome, and he retained part of that power under Alexander VII. Within his own family his advice was taken as gospel on matters of architecture. He helped his brother, Cardinal Bernardino Spada, to plan his palace, and was active in the design of several Spada Chapels. Although a man of only moderate personal wealth, he harnessed. the forces of the Congregation of the Oratory and of the Banco di S. Spirito to shape the Piazza dell'Orologio, where his own simple rooms were to be found underneath Borromini's splendid clocktower (Fig. 1). The piazza is the closest he ever came to a personal monument. This supremely competent administrator, who did more to shape the physical fabric of the baroque city than any other single patron of his generation, went from success to success until his death in 1662.
JOHN WOOD's name is synonymous with Georgian Bath. Queen Square, the North and South Parades, Gay Street and, above all, the Circus were all his creations. He was also obsessed with constructing a system of architecture rising from God and Moses. This for him was a moral obligation. He established his system, or 'superstructure' as he called it, in his first book, The Origin of Building (1741), extended and elaborated it in his later books and would have carried it further had he lived longer. From the outset his purpose remained constant:
... not only to weigh and consider the Origin, Progress and Perfection of Building, so as to make the Account thereof consistent with Sacred History, with the confession of the Ancients and with the course of great Events in all parts of the world, and with itself; but, from Time to Time, to point out the Plagiarism of the Heathens; and then, to shew, that the Dignity to which Architecture was rais'd by the Grandeur of the Egyptian, the Assyrian, the Median, the Babylonian, the Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman Empires, was not comparable to the Lustre with which it first shined in the Sacred Works of the Jews.