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Darley Collection

12 January 2016

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PDF icon darley_collection_descriptive_catalogue.pdf
A history and descriptive catalogue of this unique collection is now available.

A collection of working drawings of chimney pieces created by George and Hill Darley in the course of their work as stone-cutters in Dublin between c.1757-1813.  

The Darleys were an important family of stone-cutters, sculptors, builders and architects who were active across two centuries in Dublin and Co. Down.

This collection of ninety drawings of chimney-pieces was donated to the Royal Irish Academy in 1889 by Sterling Ballantine, a stone-cutter of Dublin. Ballantine suggested that the Academy might be interested in the drawings as a record of ‘the high state of workmanship existing in Dublin more than a century ago’. These drawings are considered to be one of the most extensive collections of original late eighteenth-century designs for chimney-pieces in Britain or Ireland.

The drawings would most likely have been working documents, created to show potential clients the variety of designs and materials which could be provided. It is for this reason that a number of the drawings show chimney-pieces with different marble and decorative options on either side. The working nature of the drawings is further apparent from the various pencil annotations which feature - scale rules, measurements and even price. The majority of the designs are noted as costing between £20 - £75, a huge sum of money for the period. A number of the drawings have also been annotated with names and addresses. Many of these chimney-pieces are still being sold at auction today for large sums of money and adorn many Dublin houses.

Further information on the Darleys and Ballantines can be found here. A full descriptive list of the collection is available Special List A045.

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