Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Architect, of London, for whom see Directory of British Architects 1834-1914 (RIBA 2001), 976-7 and Gill Hunter, William White:  Pioneer Victorian Architect (Reading: Spire Books, 2010) . In Ireland William White designed Humewood Castle, Co. Wicklow, a dramatically irregular castellated granite house, which was built between 1867 and 1870 for William Wentworth Fitzwilliam Hume Dick (1805-1892). The house was to be built for £15,000 but in the end cost £25,000. When Dick refused to pay the difference, he and White were sued by the English builder, Albert Kimberley of Banbury, who eventually won his claim with costs, after a much-publicised five-year legal battle.

In his account of Humewood in Country Life, Mark Girouard draws a lively picture of the brilliant but eccentric White as a man of many diverse enthusiasms including - to name only a few - Swedish gymnastics, mountaineering, subsidised housing, the psychology of colour, concrete, the trigonomety of proportion, and Gothic architecture. Girouard questions how it was that the idealistic White was chosen by the worldly Dick, who divided his time between Mayfair and Mentone and envisaged Humewood as 'an occasional resort in the summer recess, or the shooting season'; he proposes the ingenious theory that the commission - which was handled by Dick's Irish agent Mr Fenton - was the result of Fenton's mistaking William White for the more mondain William Henry White (1838-1896), an architect who lived in Paris for many years and designed several châteaux for French clients.

The Irish Builder of 3 August 1912 states that White 'planned a large reconstruction of Powerscourt House, Enniskerry, for the late Lord Powerscourt' which was never executed,(1) but there is nothing to support this assertion in Lord Powerscourt's Description and History of Powerscourt(1903).

See WORKS, for Irish work only.


All information in this entry not otherwise attributed is from Mark Girouard, 'Humewood Castle, Co. Wicklow', Country Life 9,16 May 1968, 1212-1215, 1282-1285.

(1) IB 54, 3 Aug 1912, 454. The author makes this assertion in an editorial commentary on the list of architects which was appended to the final article of a series by Maurice B. Adams on British and Irish architects from the reign of George IV to George V which was published in RIBAJ 19 (Series 3) in 1912. Adams, however, does not mention any plan for Powerscourt in his short note on White (p.650).

1 work entries listed in chronological order for WHITE, WILLIAM [2]#

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Date: 1867-1870
Nature: New castellated Gothic house and stables built in granite. Builder: Albert Kimberley, Banbury. Subject of a protracted lawsuit in which Kimberley sued Dick and WW for £10,000.
Refs: Album of handcoloured lithograph plans, sections, elevations, s. & d. May 1867, in IAA, Acc. 92/47; B 25, 4 May 1867, 320; 26, 8 Aug 1868, 587(illus.); 29, 17 Jun 1871, 471,480; William. White, 'A descriptive sketch of the new house at Humewood, Co. Wicklow', RIBAJ 19 (1868-69), 78-88; Mark Girouard, 'Humewood Castle, Co. Wicklow', Country Life 9,16 May 1968, 1212-1215, 1282-1285(illus.); David J. Griffin & Simon Lincoln, Drawings from the Irish Architectural Archive (1993), 60-61(illus.).

Author Title Date Details
Hunter, Gill William White, Pioneer Victorian Architect
Reading: Spire Books, 2010.
White, William 'A descriptive sketch of the new house at Humewood, Co. Wicklow' 1869 RIBAJ 19 (1869), 78-88.