The Custom House is architecturally considered the most important building in Dublin. Designed by James Gandon, completed in 1791, it is an elegantly proportioned example of Neoclassical Palladian design. Undoubtedly an architectural masterpiece, it comprises of a lengthy façade of pavilions, columns and arcades crowned with a central dome supporting an impressive statue of Commerce. Gandon’s architectural designs transformed Dublin City, heralding in ‘Georgian’ Dublin signifying a definite break with the medieval. During Gandon’s lifetime Dublin was to grow to become the fifth largest city in Europe, this was a period of great expansion. The Custom House was the first major public building built in Dublin, every available master craftsman in Dublin worked on the construction for the ten years it took until completion, at a cost of £200,000. The Portland stone building is lavishly embellished with commissioned work from renowned artists Edward Smyth, Agnostino Carlini and Thomas Banks. Sculptures, coats of arms, and sculpted keystones symbolising the thirteen principal rivers of Dublin and the Atlantic Ocean adorn the Neoclassical exterior.
The classic Palladian interior was furnished by some of the leading master craftsmen of the 18th Century. Influenced heavily by the designs of Chippendale, Sheraton and Hepplewhite, simplicity, elegance and utility characterise the design of the pieces, primarily constructed of mahogany, heavily inlaid, some with japanned decoration. Luxurious gilded mirrors and sconces graced the many rooms, whilst beautifully sculpted decorative moulding adorned the walls and ceilings. We have included some archetypical pieces of our collection from this classical era for you to peruse at your leisure. Please browse through our website to see some of our fine pieces in both our Dublin and New York Galleries.