The Pro-Cathedral, Marlbrough Street. Help needed.
January 4, 2006 at 6:44 pm #708338
As a student of arccitecture here in dublin I very often have to visit and discuss varies historic sites around Dublin. Amoung the churches in my lastest study is the Pro-Cathedral on Marlbrough St.
My first stop was a book I own, “Irish Cathedrals, Churches and Abbeys – published by Caxten Editions”.
Here it is said that the architect of the cathedral was unknown, and that the winning design was sent in from Paris marked only with the letter P. But a quick serch here informs me that it was designed by one John Sweetman.
Who am I to believe. Inaccuracies are common. And neither should be taken at face value. Help please.
January 4, 2006 at 7:32 pm #765003
Not being at home with my book collection, I cannot say where I got Sweetman from, but I have seen George Papworth (1781-1855) mentioned on other websites on the ‘net, as well as the “unknown architect”. All I can say is that I must have had good reason to implicate Sweetman.
You could also contact Brendan Grimes
January 4, 2006 at 7:35 pm #765004AnonymousParticipant
He is a descendent of the donor of the site to the church although fluent in built heritage Natural environment is more his area of real expertise
January 4, 2006 at 9:23 pm #765005
Re Architect for Pro-Cathedral: see thread “Reordering and destruction of Irish Cathedrals – St Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh” posting no. 415 which contains a quote from an earlier posting on the same thread.
January 5, 2006 at 12:59 am #765006
@Paul Clerkin wrote:
You could also contact Brendan Grimes
I could contact Brendan Grimes, and he would be able to help. But seeing as he is the person who gave me this assignment it is a little pointless. If I can’t get an answer by the time I return to college, i’ll have to ask him but I’d rather sovle it myself.
January 5, 2006 at 1:46 am #765007ctesiphonParticipant
Christine Casey’s just-published ‘Buildings of Ireland- Dublin’ (Yale UP) gives 4 pages to the Pro-Cathedral, including a plan by Brendan Grimes:), but it doesn’t give a definitive architect’s name.
‘The identity of Troy’s [the archbishop patron] architect remains unknown, despite the survival of detailed building accounts.’ (p.126)
And here’s a link to the page Praxiteles mentioned. https://live-archiseek.pantheonsite.io/content/showthread.php?p=44483#post44483
January 5, 2006 at 4:58 pm #765008
@Linked Thread wrote:
Plans for a church in the revivalist Greek Doric style, submitted by an architect who signed himself “P”, won the commission. It is accepted that the architect was George Papworth (1781-1855).
I have seen Papworth named before, but is that based on fact or is it just speculation. He would of been in Ireland at the time, not too far from the time of his design for Heusten Bridge. He also fits the “P” initial, but some sources suggest that the entry was sent from france, maybe the architect travelled to Paris to study the St. Philippe-le-Roule along side his design.
Also, if anybody knows basic materials of construction, it would help alot.
January 5, 2006 at 5:18 pm #765009
There is a 1988 (I think) book or pamplet on the Pro,,,,
January 5, 2006 at 11:42 pm #765010ctesiphonParticipant
Also, if anybody knows basic materials of construction, it would help alot.
Again, the Casey book has all this. If it’s not yet in your library, it’s in ‘all good bookshops’. Just pop in with a good digital camera;) .
The pamphlet Paul refers to should be in the National Library, and more than likely is in the DIT and UCD (Richview) libraries. The UCD catalogue is on line, the Richview library welcomes guests.
January 10, 2006 at 1:42 am #765011
Thanks to everyone who helped out, especially to MacLeinin who went way out of his way to get the entire contents of the heritage series book on the Pro to me. I’ve the history of the Pro perfect now,
even though i never did find out who the Architect was, nobody knows. Its a toss up between Sweetman, Papworth and Hippolyte Le Bas.
January 10, 2006 at 3:09 am #765012
aha – I knew I had reason – now I must dig out where I found that
January 10, 2006 at 4:25 pm #765013
John Sweetman was a Dubliner living in excile in Paris since the 1798 rebellion. This supports the basis that the church was based on a newly completed parisian cathedral. At the time the original drawings were summited, it was commented that they were draw by an amateur, this goes against the idea that Hippolyte Le Bas was the architect. Although some people believe that the design was a joint venture with Le Bas doing some of the work but the bulk, including delivery was left to Sweetman.
*Adapted from a few sources, you might of got Sweetman from the heritage series pamplet. It might be in best interest to change the site’s page on the Pro to included the other possible architects or included a note saying that Sweetman cannot be comfirmed.
January 10, 2006 at 7:09 pm #765014
Just on the interior, did anyone ever knock (okay rap with your knuckles) against the interior columns of the building? You’d assume them to be of Portland stone, but they sound decidedly hollow! Presumably timber, indeed were they not early 19th century I would have thought them to have something of a cast resin quality!
Very strange – iron pillars encased in Doric timber shrouds?
January 10, 2006 at 9:08 pm #765015
That is an interesting comment about the doric pillars in the Pro-Cathedral and may supply a clue to the architect. I have a recollection of reading that Papworth specialized in the use of cast iron and was an early enthusiast: viz. King’s Bridge. He also did quite a bit of work on the Dublin to Drogheda railway – like a someone else about whom I have had reason recently to comment .
I cannot imagine a recently built “cathedral” in Paris in 1800. We may be talking of La Madeleine -but I have to check the dates. I will be back on this point.
January 11, 2006 at 3:09 am #765016
I should of said church and not cathedral, and was refering to the St. Philippe-le-Roule in Paris on which the pro is based, with the exception of the front portico which comes from an athens temple. Was completed in 1784, Not too long before the start of construction on the Pro. I’ll have to have a look at the columns inside the church, i’ll be stopping by tomorrow to get a few pictures for finish off the report.
Also taking a trip over to Saint Saviour’s Church on dominick street (which is far harder to find infomation on than the Pro)
January 11, 2006 at 8:58 am #765017
re St Savour’s Dominick St.: why not start with with JJ McCarthy and the Gothic Revival in reland by Jeanne Sheehy. I believe the interior has been totally destroyed and vandalized.
January 11, 2006 at 6:32 pm #765018
The closing date was approaching so i decided to do my own work on St Saviour’s. With a visit to the site to get my own ideas and also a scan throught the web site. And your right the interior is completely changed due to that bane of all historical churches the liturgical requirements of the second vatican council.
January 11, 2006 at 7:38 pm #765019
Let us get right about the Second Vatican Council:
The kind of mass hesterical vandalism that has gone on in Ireland has nothing to do with the Second Vatican Council nor the revision of the rites and ceremonies of the Catholic Church. It has much to do with some very psychotic compulsions lurking not too far beneath the “national” psyche.
The provisions of the Second Vatican Council and the subsequent liturgical legislation of the Catholic Church nowhere mandates the kind of “re-ordering” that has gone on in Ireland. Indeed, the present law provides for the celebration of the Mass in historic churches with minimal, or where such is not possible, no change to their historic interiors.
January 11, 2006 at 7:41 pm #765020
Did it affect Catholic churches in Britain and elsewhere in Europe to the same extent Praxiteles do you know?
January 11, 2006 at 7:51 pm #765021
I would agree that the “very psychotic compulsions lurking not too far beneath the “national” psyche” Is the main reason. But my point was based that the vatican council actede as catalyst and starteds these reordering. I agree that changes were not required to the extent that they have been. But it is a shame hat some great religous treasures were altered or destoryed due to this.
January 11, 2006 at 8:58 pm #765022
The history of the liturgical movement prior to the Second Vatican Council was an very varied and complex phenomenon and embraced all sorts and shades of opinion. The beginnings, c. 1910, were modest enough but by the 1930s some very strage stuff was coming out France and Germany. I would point especially to Odo Cassell and his historiography of liturgy basically positing a three stage division of the history of the Liturgy: a primitive one, the high point reached at the time of Gregory the Great who died in 604, and a long radical decline and curruption since then. For him, the purpose of the liturgical reform was the radical cutting away of all accretions gathered during the second milennium so as to return to the rites and ceremonies of the V century by reconstructing them with an almost archeological compulsion. So, the theory went that by 1975, the Church would be celebrating the Liturgy as it had been celebrated in 675.
This kind of mentality was already to be seen in some schools of archeology from the early 1930s. The results of their work is something like the interior of Santa Sabina which saw its interior stripped of nearly everything that did not date from the first milennium so as to reconstruct the interior as it was in say 600. The implication of all of this somehow being that everything after that date had no historical, or religious, significance, or a significance no longer relevant.
A more moderate and sane approach to the question of liturgical reform was adopted by Cardinal Antonelli, who as professor of Archeology in the Antonianum in 1920s and 1930s fully realized that while adjustments had to be made to ensure that the rites and ceremonies of the Church retained and communicated their original significance and meaning, such adjustments had to be done minimally and bearing in mind the valid historical evolution of many of these rites, texts and ceremonies which form part of the Church’s tradition and cultural and religious heritage.
Both of these opposing trends affected every stage of the liturgical movement before, during and after the Second Vatican Council. All of the strains and tensions inherent in this clash are to be found in Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963). However, the Council generally tended towards a more “conservative” line while accepting and incorporating many valuable insights from the Cassell camp. For instance, the Council accepted in principle “the wider use” of the vernacular in the Mass and the Council Fathers specifically mandated that the collects of the Mass, the Eucharistic prayers and the Communion would remain in Latin. On the question of retaining the collects in Latin the vote was something like 2,200 to 120! Other examples could be given.
The implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium began in the late 60s and early 70s. A special commission was set up to carry forward the reform of the liturgy “willed by the Fathers of the Council”. While the Council outlined the general lines and principles to be followed, the details of the reform were left to the special commission. Here again, the old tensions of conflicting schools of thought quickly emerged and focused on the persons of Cardinal Giacomo Antonelli and Archbishop Annibale Bugnini who was an aggressive sisciple of Odo Cassell. The result was a “power” struggle between these two schools for the implementation of the reform in the middle of which a general anarchy spreading ( from social collapse e.g. France and the soixanthuitards) into the whole liturgical domain which lead to a free for all and general chaos.
Timid efforts to resolve the conflict of schools were made by Rome. Bugnini was disgraced when Paul VI eventually realized that what he was about was not what the Council wnated. He was banished to Iran. Firmer action began in 1988 when John Paul II issued a document to commemorate the 25 anniversary of the Sacrosanctum Concilium publication of Sacrosanctum Concilium entitled Vicesimusquintus annus adveniens. This was the red fag for the anarchy and marks the beginning of a period when the Church’s central authority begins to reassert itself in the field of liturgy and begin the task of eradicating the worst abuses that had occurred. In the last ten years, Rome has published a series of official legislative documents all instigated by this fresh approach to the reform of the liturgy – indeed, geared to salvage the reform from the lunatic element that lead to the wholesale destruction of many of our finest churches in Ireland (e.g. the unforgiveable committed by Casey in Killarney and Duffy in Monaghan).
To turn to the question of whether the kind of vvandalism experienced by us in Ireland was replicated in other countries, we would have to say that that depended very much on the country. In practically all of the European countries there exist bodies such as the Monuments Historiques in France , the Beni Culturali in Italy or the Denkmalamt in Germany and Austria. these operate merely on architectural, cultural or historical criteria. But they have ensured that nothing such as what has happened in Ireland took place. A second factor in European countries is whether or not the lunatic element took over the Church in the field of liturgy. Where that happened and there was no heritage authority, disaster ensued e.g. Ireland, to a lesser extent in Britain.
As regards Ireland and the Second Vatican Council I would recommend viewers to go to a good university library and consult the Acta of the Council – which have all been published. In the very early volumes you will find the replies send in by the Bishops of the worls when they were asked to advise on the topics that could be siscussed during the council. That is, they were ased to comment on the great theological questions to be placed before the Council. The contribution of the Irish Hierarchy will be found under “Hibernia”. It contains the personal response sent by every bishop in Ireland on the subject of the Council. From reading these, it quickly emerges that, with one or two exceptions, none of the Irish bishops had the slightest contact with the enormous evolution that had taken place in theology in the previous fifty years. They were absolutely clueless. This is extraordinary given the role they, a particularly Cardinal Cullen of Dublin, had played in the First Vatican Council just ninty years before. The conclusion of this is that despite all the talk about the Council, most of the Irish bishops had not a clue about what it was about. In this condition, they were not in a position to halt the onward march of the ecclesiastical internationale whose ethos is so well preserved in the pages of the Furrow.
This I realize is a potted version of events but it serves to explain in a general way the problem underlying the difficulties we have experienced in insular Ireland.
January 13, 2006 at 7:56 pm #765023
I’d a feeling that question would elicit something of a major policy document on the issue 😉
Thank you for that Praxiteles – much appreciated.
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