Monday, April 15, 2013

Powerscourt House

This 13th century Irish castle was redesigned 1731-41 by Richard Cassels. Today, it contains among other retail establishments and entertainment venues, a Ritz-Carlton hotel.

A mosaic lunette by Salviati commissioned by the Viscount Powerscourt can be seen above the doorway in this circa 1890 photograph of the saloon. It seems to depict a young child or perhaps a cherub.

The saloon, pictured here in another view circa 1865-1914, was located above the main entrance hall and measured sixty by forty feet. It was famously used to host King George IV in 1821.

Unfortunately, the house was gutted by a fire in November of 1974 and the minimal restoration of 1996 did not extend to the mosaic, nor the paintings in the niches above.

However, Stanley Kubrick's 1975 film Barry Lyndon used Powercourt's saloon as a substitute for interior shots of a German Baroque palace just a few months before the fire and therefore serves as a record of the lost interiors.

The 1955 movie Captain Lightfoot with Rock Hudson also features the salon before it was destroyed, including one scene of a grand ball.

Today, the saloon is known as the ballroom and is used as an event and wedding venue.

Barr, Sheldon. Venetian Glass Mosaics: 1860-1917. London: Antique Collectors' Club, 2008. 126.
Wikipedia: Powerscourt
Wikipedia: Barry Lyndon
Powerscourt House and Gardens
National Library of Ireland
MajorCalloway's flickr Photostream
Larry McMahon Photography

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