Builder and architect of Dublin. Arthur Williamson was a brother of MATTHEW and JOHN WILLIAMSON. T he Williamson brothers had connections with Armagh, where they may possibly have been born and brought up, and family ties with FRANCIS JOHNSTON and WILLIAM MURRAY , who was their nephew. Arthur Williamson was an executor of Francis Johnston's will of 1829, in which Johnston bequeathed him £50 and an additional £150 to be paid to Fanny McGuire of Annsbrook, near Duleek.
Arthur Williamson may, like his brother John, have worked for Francis Johnston. Although he is described as a builder in a lease of 1801, he is designated 'architect' from his first appearance in Wilson's Dublin Directory in 1815 and until 1821. From 1822 to 1829 he is described as a builder and measurer, reverting again to 'architect' in the editions for 1836 and 1837. By 1839 he has become simply 'Esq.'. He and John were the architects of The Argory, Co. Armagh, a new house for Walter McGeough, which was probably designed from 1819 and built between 1820 and 1824 under the supervision of THOMAS DUFF. They were also among the various architects employed at Emo Court, Co. Laois, where, between 1822 and 1831, they prepared designs for the north and south porticos, for the north front, for the drawing room ceiling and for various out-offices including an ice-house.
Arthur Williamson was also a property developer, initially in Paradise Row and the Mountjoy Street area. JOHN BUTLER , who was a neighbour in Paradise Row, also seems to have been engaged in property development in the area. In 1830 Williamson and Butler leased two adjoining sites in Rathmines on which they built a terrace of twelve houses name Leinster Terrace; five years later they leased two more sites abutting the eastern boundaries of their existing holdings, on which Butler built Ormond Villa (later Ulster Lodge) and Williamson Berlin Cottage. The terrace and two detached houses eventually became part of Leinster Square. In 1830 Arthur also acquired a plot of land off Albany Avenue, Monkstown, next to one which had been acquired by his brother John, and built himself a house named Albany House.
Arthur Williamson died in November 1846. He had married Emily Wainwright in 1831. They had no children of their own but adopted Emily Williamson's niece Rosetta. Martin Cregan exhibited a portrait of Williamson at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1826 (No. 116) and one of Emily Williamson and Rosetta in 1853 (No. 138).
The Irish Architectural Archive holds a number of drawings by Arthur and John Williamson for Emo Court. All three brothers subscribed to WILLIAM STITT' s The Practical Architect's Ready Assistant; or Builder's Complete Companion (1819).
Addresses: 5 Graham's Row, 1801; 27 Wellington Street, 1815-1816; 27 Paradise Row, 1817-1829 (as architect from 1817-1821 and as builder and measurer from 1822-1829; 20 Mountjoy Street, 1836-1839; Albany House, Albany Place, Monkstown, and Berlin Cottage, Leinster Terrace, Rathmines, 1844 until death.
All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from Anne Lavin's extensively researched study 'Leinster Square (with Prince Arthur Terrace) Rathmines: an early suburban speculative terraced housing development 1830-1852', MUBC thesis, University College, Dublin, 1995, 33-67.
Johnston and Murray's aunt Anne Johnston had married a Matthew Williamson, the Williamsons' sister Elizabeth was Murray's mother, and later John Williamson's daughter Henrietta was to marry a son of Francis Johnston's half-brother Andrew.
Will of Francis Johnston (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
See Gervase Jackson-Stops, 'The Argory, Co. Armagh' in Country Life 173, 30 Jun 1983, 1768-1771; 174, 7 Jul 1983, 20-24, and The Argory (National Trust, 1984).
Signed and dated drawings in IAA, Emo Court Collection, Acc. 91/101.41-52.
See note 4, above.
Pigot & Co.'s City of Dublin and Hibernian Provincial Directory (1824) gives his address as 34 Paradise Row.