12 Henrietta Street
This season, we were so inspired by the opportunity to capture this next chapter of Madigan in a location so richly steeped in Irish history. Home to the magnanimous architectural conservationist, Mr. Ian Lumley, 12 Henrietta Street is part of the most intact collection of early to mid-century Georgian houses in Ireland.
Planned out by Luke Gardiner in the 1720s, 12 Henrietta street was built as a pair with No. 11 in a time when houses were built as homes for Irish Aristocracy.
It was initially leased to Henry Boyle, Speaker of the House of Commons. Later, the house was leased to the 2nd Earl of Shannon in 1780, and subsequently gutted with the removal of a floor to provide a truly grand piano nobile.
We shot our campaign in the the piano nobile (or noble floor), part of the formal public reception rooms.
These grand rooms began as social spaces to display the material wealth, status and taste of its inhabitants. Dublin’s Georgian elites developed a taste for expensive decoration, fine fabrics, and furniture made from exotic materials.
After the Acts of Union were passed in Great Britain and Ireland in 1801, all power shifted to London and most politically and socially significant residents were drawn from Georgian Dublin to Regency London. Dublin and Ireland entered a period of economic decline.
This marked a turning point for the street - professionals moved in, and Henrietta Street was occupied by lawyers. In the 19th century the rooms of the house took on a different more utilitarian tone. Fine decoration and furniture gave way to desks, quills and paperwork with the activities of commissioners, barristers, lawyers, and clerks who moved into the house.
Family life returned to the street in the early 1860s when the Dublin Militia occupied the house until 1876, when Dublin became a Garrison town, with their barracks at Linenhall.
Dublin’s population swelled by about 36,000 in the years after the Great Famine, and taking advantage of the rising demand for cheap housing for the poor, landlords and their agents began to carve their Georgian townhouses into multiple dwellings for the city’s new residents.
Now filled with families – often one family to a room – the room itself divided up into two or three smaller rooms – a kitchen, a living room, and a bedroom.
By 1911 over 850 lived on the street.
With the establishment of the new state, improvements to housing conditions in Dublin became a priority. The last tenement residents of number 12 left in the late 1970s by which time the buildings of Henrietta street were virtually abandoned by its owners.
During this period of neglect the processes of decay accelerated, leading to the rotting of structural timbers, loss of decorative plasterwork, and vandalism, leaving the house close to imminent collapse.
In 1982, Mr. Ian Lumley purchased the property as a passionate architectural conservationist. .
When redecorating No. 12, Mr. Lumley wanted to show "the layering of the house", referencing the 18th century in the parlor, with its deep red walls and marble fireplace flanked by green baize card tables or the tenement period, like the kitchen, with walls that are a glowing green, their door frames a more acidic hue in a crackling patina (even featured as Frankestein's home in 'Penny Dreadful')
The back room hasn't been painted for 200 years. Its plaster surface survived because it had been covered in wallpaper for more than a century; when he removed that, he found a mottled pinkish-brown, once red, which was beautifully weathered...
What location could be more apt for this next chapter in the Madigan story?
The beauty in the houses of Henrietta Street is their ability to stand through the test of time. The many lives and layers of 12 Henrietta Street has lived reminds us of the necessity to evolve, but to never forget our history...
We hope you enjoy our next chapter.