James Gandon (1743 - 1823)
James Gandon had reached the age of 40 by the time he arrived in Ireland in April 1781 to start work on the Custom House. With the Custom House, the House of Lords extension, the Four Courts and the King's Inn, he was to radically alter the centre of Dublin in what was a golden age for architecture in the city.
He had been born in London in 1742 of Huguenot stock. He joined the office of William Chambers where he was an apprentice for seven years. Here he absorbed Chamber's conservative and academic taste. Like his master he hated the Greeks, admired the Romans, and looked to the French particularly for the discipline of their fastidious masonry.
In 1768 he had been beaten into second place in the competition for the Royal Exchange in Dublin. He had made a number of important Irish contacts in London. John Beresford asked him for drawings for a new Custom House, a building which in time came to be described as 'the glory of Dublin'.
Gandon continued to live in Ireland after his retirement. He is buried in Drumcondra, Dublin.