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date: 26 January 2020

Burgh, Thomaslocked

(b Dromkeen, Co. Limerick, 1670; d Oldtown, Naas, Co. Kildare, Dec 18, 1730).
  • Edward McParland


(b Dromkeen, Co. Limerick, 1670; d Oldtown, Naas, Co. Kildare, Dec 18, 1730).

Irish architect. He emerged from a background of military engineering to become one of the most prominent architects in Ireland in the first two decades of the 18th century. In 1700 he succeeded William Robinson as ‘Engineer, Overseer, Surveyor & Director Generall of all…Fortifications, buildings’ etc in Ireland, a life appointment with responsibility (not always clearly defined) for erecting and maintaining most government, and some military, buildings.

Burgh’s most important works are public rather than domestic buildings, though it is difficult to tell to what extent this view depends on the uneven survival of records. His earliest building of consequence was the Royal (now Collins) Barracks, Dublin, begun shortly after 1700. Arranged around four open squares, Burgh’s ranges (partly destr.) display his characteristic astylar classicism, derived from William Robinson and from English 17th-century architects such as Roger Pratt. The elements of this style, adaptable to barracks, country houses, custom houses or hospitals, include façades of two or three storeys with central and end projections (sometimes pedimented), quoins and continuous string courses, rusticated ground-floor arcades and sometimes a top storey of dormers. This reticent, flexible, economic and undeniably prosaic formula was popularized by Burgh and dominated pre-Palladian architecture in Ireland, where there are few parallels to the work of English Baroque architects....

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