The Print Room

Date: 24 Jul 2008


The Print Room


The Print Room is one of the most important rooms at Castletown. It is the only fully intact eighteenth century print room left in Ireland. During Lady Louisa’s time it became popular for ladies to collect their favourite prints and then arrange and paste them on to the walls of a chosen room, along with decorative borders. At Castletown, Louisa, together with her sister Sarah, decorated this former ante room in 1768. She had been collecting prints since at least 1762, and the Print Room can be seen as a scrapbook of mid eighteenth century culture and taste. Included amongst the prints is Joshua Reynolds’ portrait of Louisa’s sister Sarah, sacrificing herself to the graces. Continuing the family theme the north wall features a print after Van Dyck of the children of Charles I, including the future Charles II, Louisa’s great grandfather. Contemporary popular culture is represented by two prints of the leading actor David Garrick; he is pictured between the muses of tragedy and comedy above the fireplace, and with the actress Sarah Cibber on the opposite wall. Amongst the artists featured are, Rembrandt, Guido Reni, Teniers and Le Bas.

Unusually this print room survived changes in taste and fashion, although the room seems to have been slightly rearranged in the mid 19th century. In the late nineteenth century this room was used as a billiards room but the present furnishings more accurately reflect its original purpose as a small or private sitting room.