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William Garner

(fl 1752–61; d Dublin, 1790).

Irish stuccoist. He is a typical example of the many plasterers working in Dublin during the mid-18th century whose work remains largely unidentified. In 1752 he was described as a plasterer when admitted as a freeman of the City of Dublin. In 1756 he was paid £534 for ‘plaistering and stucco’ in the city’s Rotunda Hospital, where it is thought he decorated the staircase ceiling. In 1761 he worked at 9 Cavendish Row and at 4 and 5 Parnell Square, three houses built by Bartholomew Mosse (1712–59), Master Builder of the Rotunda.

West is variously described in legal documents as plasterer, Master Builder and merchant, and it is known that he developed property in Lower Dominick Street, Granby Row, Great Denmark Street and City Quay. He built 20 Lower Dominick Street before 1758, and the ceilings there can be attributed to him. Various motifs in the hall—serrated acanthus in high relief and birds holding flowers—are also to be found in the staircase hall of 56 St Stephen’s Green. This latter work is crowded and crudely modelled, though the ceiling of Lower Dominick Street’s hall is one of the most daringly conceived and freely modelled Rococo ceilings in Dublin. Here, trophies of musical instruments, caryatids and birds standing on pedestals are close in treatment to those in the Rotunda Chapel. At Florence Court, Co. Fermanagh, the dining-room ceiling is similar to that in the back drawing-room of 9 Cavendish Row, with its flat acanthus set within robust rectangular mouldings. Although West is popularly associated with the bird motifs found in Dublin Rococo plasterwork, few are actually to be found in the houses where he is known to have worked. Nothing by West can be dated later than ...