GALILEI, ALESSANDRO #
- Born: 1691 Died: 1737
Florentine architect, for biography of whom see Howard Colvin, A Biographical dictionary of British architects 1600-1840 (3rd edn., 1995), 384-385, Rolf Loeber, A Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Ireland 1600-1720 (1981), 54, and Macmillan Encyclopedia of Architects. Alessandro Galilei was brought to England in 1714 by John Molesworth, British envoy to the Tuscan court from 1710-1714. John Molesworth's father, Robert, created first Viscount Molesworth in 1719, had estates in Ireland, including land in Dublin itself, with a seat at Breckdenstown or Brackenstown, Co. Dublin. In 1715, when the parish of St Werburgh, Dublin, decided to build a new church, Molesworth promoted the adoption of a design by Galilei without success; he wrote disgustedly the following year that the commissioners for building the church were 'uncapable of comprehending what an artist Galilei is'.(1) The Archbishop of Dublin, William King, was also opposed to the adoption of Galilei's design because it lacked a proper tower and more importantly because Galilei was a Catholic.(2) In 1718 the Molesworths brought Galilei over to Ireland, where he remained for a few months before returning to England and thence, in August 1719, to Florence.(3) Galilei produced designs for Castletown, Co. Kildare, which may have been used when the building was erected from 1722 onwards under the direction of EDWARD LOVETT PEARCE. (4) When Pearce was in Florence at the end of 1723 he was in contact with Galilei about statues for 'Mr Conolly' and drawings for the 'Palace',(5) possibly a reference to Castletown. Later he is recorded as buying 'Coreggios' for Robert Clayton, Bishop of Killala and Achonry.(6) He also acted as John Molesworth's agent in the purchase of artefacts.(7)
Galilei may possibly be the author of an unsigned, undated proposal for the entrance elevation of St Anne's Church, Dawson Street, Dublin,(8) which was begun in 1720 to designs probably by THOMAS BURGH on a site given by Joshua Dawson immediately adjoining land belonging to Robert Molesworth.(9)
See WORKS, BIBLIOGRAPHY.
(1) K. Severens, 'A new perspective on Georgian building practice; the rebuilding of St Werburgh's Church, Dublin (1754-59)', BIGS 35 (1992-93), 3, citing ?letter from Molesworth to his wife, 16 Oct 1716, NLI, p.3752.
(2) E. McParland, Public Architecture in Ireland: 1680-1760 (2001), 45.
(3) E. McParland, 'Sir Thomas Hewett and the New Junta for Architecture', in The Role of the Amateur Architect: Papers given at the Georgian Group Symposium 1993 (1994), 21.
(4) See note 3, above, and M. Craig & the Knight of Glin, 'Castletown, Co. Kildare', Country Life 145, 27 Mar 1969, 722-726.
(5) John Ingamells, ed., A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy 1700-1800 (1997), 750.
(6) Florence, Archivio di Stato, Carte Galilei, Filza V/no.1, 213,214 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
(7) Florence, Archivio di Stato, Carte Galilei, Filza V/no. 1 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
(8) Victoria & Albert Museum, D89-1891.
(9) M. Craig, Dublin 1660-1860 (lst edition, 1952), 106-7; McParland (2001) attributes the design to Thomas Burgh rather that Isaac Wills.
3 work entries listed in chronological order for GALILEI, ALESSANDRO #
|Building:||CO. KILDARE, CASTLETOWN|
|Nature:||Proposed design by AG which may have been used when house was erected under direction of Edward Lovett Pearce in 1722.|
|Refs:||M. Craig & the Knight of Glin, 'Castletown, Co. Kildare', Country Life 145, 27 Mar 1969, 722-726; E. Kieven, 'Galilei in England', Country Life 153, 25 Jan 1973, 210-212|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, DAWSON STREET, ST ANN'S CHURCH (CI)|
|Nature:||Attribution of proposed elevation in V & A to AG has been suggested (building actually designed by Isaac Wills)|
|Refs:||Victoria & Albert Museum, D89-1891.|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, WERBURGH STREET, ST WERBURGH'S CHURCH (CI)|
|Nature:||AG 'may have also been involved' in design of same.|
|Refs:||K. Severens, 'a new perspective on Georgian building practice; the rebuilding of St Werburgh's Church, Dublin (1754-59)', BIGS 35 (1992-93), 3|
|Craig, Maurice, & [fitzgerald, Desmond] Knight Of Glin||'Castletown, Co. Kildare'||1969||Country Life 145, 27 Mar 1969, 722-726.|
|Kieven, Elizabeth||'Galilei in England'||1973||Country Life 153, 25 Jan 1973.|
|Toesca, Ilaria||'Alessandro Galilei in Inghilterra'||1952||M. Praz, ed., English Miscellany 3 (1952), 189-220.|