Preserved in an album in Birr Castle for two hundred and sixty years, the fantastical and bizarre world of Samuel Chearnley is revealed in this the first edition of Miscelanea Structura Curiosa. In October 1745 Chearnley embarked on a project of paper architecture, producing over eighty drawings for grottoes, obelisks, pyramids, fountains and triumphal arches. Sadly Chearnley died at the age of twenty-nine shortly after dating the last of the drawings; his treatise was not published and none of the designs in the album was built. The present volume finally publishes these remarkable images in their entirety for the first time. Freed from the constraints of bricks and mortar, Chearnley allows his imagination to soar to heights of architectural fantasy unparalleled in Ireland in the eighteenth century.
‘One of the most important contributions to Irish architectural studies in recent years.’ (Desmond FitzGerald, Knight of Glin)
‘A delight.’ (Frank Callanan, Irish Times)