Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Amateur architect. Agmondisham Vesey, who was Accountant and Controller General of Ireland from 1734 and M.P. for Harristown, Co. Kildare, from 1740,(1) was credited by James Boswell with the plan of his own house at Lucan, Co. Kildare. Vesey's knowledge of architecture was recognised by his contemporaries, including Dr Johnson, who assigned him the role of Professor of Architecture in his utopian university. In fact Vesey consulted his friend WILLIAM CHAMBERS  WILLIAM CHAMBERS about the design of Lucan House, and Chambers provided him with a set of four plans, elevations and sections in June 1773. These designs have disappeared, but an accompanying letter from Chambers appears to indicate that they incorporated part of an existing building. In a letter to Chambers the following March, Vesey wrote that he was 'intent in finishing the South front of your Plan at Lucan this summer' and asked him for 'any rough sketch for a portico of four Columns'. In the event the old house was still being demolished in the summer of 1775 and the new house was not completed until 1780 or 1781. Its form seems to have been determined by both Chambers and Vesey, and constrained to some extent by the incorporation of part of the old house. According to Harris, the front of Lucan is 'typically Chambersian…but neither the plan nor the details are characteristic'.  Between 1772 and 1775 Vesey also seems to have involved JAMES WYATT  JAMES WYATT in the design of the house;  Robinson believes that 'it is likely that he was generally responsible for the ibnterior of the house and garden ornaments'.(2)

A volume of survey maps of Agmondisham Vesey's estates in 1772 by BERNARD SCAL BERNARD SCAL É is in the archives of St Patrick's Hospital, Dublin.

Vesey subscribed to William Chambers's Treatise of Civil Architecture (1759), to STEPHEN RIOU' STEPHEN RIOU' s Grecian Orders of Architecture (1768), and to the first volume of Instructions given in the Drawing School established by the Dublin-Society (1769).



(1) For Vesey's political career, see Edith Mary Johnston Liik, History of the Irish Parliament 1692-1800 (Ulster Historical Foundation, 1992), VI, 469-471.
(2) John Martin Robinson, James Wyatt (1746-1813) architect to George III (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2012), 104.

1 work entries listed in chronological order for VESEY, AGMONDISHAM

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Date: 1773-1780/81
Nature: Apparently contributed to design of house, modfying designs supplied by Chambers.