Deane, Sir Thomas (1792–1871), architect, and his son Sir Thomas Newenham (T. N. ) Deane (1828–99), architect, were the most noted members of a family of builders and architects, originally established in Cork in the eighteenth century, but based in Dublin from the 1850s to the 1920s. Both men were knighted, as was Thomas Newenham's son and architectural successor, Thomas Manly Deane (1851–1933).
The first Sir Thomas Deane was born 4 June 1792 in Cork, eldest son of Alexander Deane (1759/60–1806), architect and builder, and Elizabeth Sharpe Deane (d. 1828). Following the death of Alexander, his widow found herself in difficulties. Not only had she seven children to raise, but due to a defect in the will she was obliged to obtain an act of parliament in order to manage his property holdings in the city. Elizabeth soon established herself as a formidable businesswoman, successfully completing public works contracts, most notably the naval and ordnance depots on Haulbowline Island (1816–22), and building speculative housing with the profits. Thomas assisted her, his first work as an architect being the Cork Commercial Buildings (1811–13) on South Mall, later incorporated into the Imperial Hotel. Thomas married firstly (1809) Catherine Connellan; they had two children, John Connellan (1815–87), assistant secretary to the Dublin exhibition of 1853 and secretary to the Manchester art treasures exhibition of 1857, and Julia. In 1823 he moved from the family's base on Lapp's Island in the city to an old house in the suburb of Blackrock, in the grounds of which he built (1832) a substantial new villa, Dundanion Castle. Despite the name, this was in the neo-classical style, in which he was competent. Thomas arranged for two of his brothers, Alexander (1796–1847) and Kearns (1804–47), to be trained in the London drawing studio of Alfred Nicholson.
Kearns proved adept at architecture, designing a number of buildings in and around Cork, including the St Mary's Dominican church on Pope's Quay (1832–9), completed by Deane & Woodward (1858–61). He and Thomas designed the neo-classical Cork Savings Bank on Warren (later Parnell) Place (1839–42). The two brothers also worked in the Gothic style at Frankfield chapel, Douglas (1838). Kearns probably also had a role in the design of Dromore Castle, Templenoe, Co. Kerry, built by Thomas Deane & Co. in 1831–9. This was their only country house. The brothers reputedly designed the Cork city and county courthouse (1830–35), won in competition, but its execution was entrusted to their rivals, the brothers James (qv) and George Richard Pain (qv). The Pains were patronised by the whig county faction in Cork politics, while the Deanes were associated with the tory interests of the city's merchants. Thomas served three terms as city sheriff, in 1815, 1830 (when he was knighted by the lord lieutenant), and 1851, and was a noted patron of the arts, supporting the sculptor John Hogan (qv) and the painter Samuel Forde (qv). In 1816 he was one of the instigators of the Cork Society for the Promotion of the Fine Arts. Much later, during his final term as sheriff, he was one of the promoters and underwriters of the National Exhibition, Ireland's answer to the Crystal Palace, held in the converted Cork corn exchange in 1852.
Following the death of his first wife, Thomas married Eliza O'Callaghan Newenham (d. 1851) in 1827. Her father, a member of an old Cork family, was at various times an architect and developer in Limerick, a topographical artist, and one of the inspectors general of barracks in Ireland. There were three children of this marriage: Thomas Newenham Deane, born 15 June 1828, and two daughters, Susanna Adelaide (‘Ada’) and Olivia Louisa. Thomas Newenham seems to have been marked out for the practice at an early age, his older brother having got into several financial scrapes while studying law. In 1843 T. N. was sent to Rugby, the English public school, from which he entered TCD, where he was awarded a BA (1849). He then toyed with the idea of becoming a professional artist, much to his father's chagrin. While still at Trinity he had assisted the firm with the drawings for QCC, a commission awarded to Thomas by the board of works in late 1845. Kearns, who was in poor health, may have had some involvement with the early stages of the project but he died in January 1847. Sir Thomas's chief assistant on the college, however, was the young Benjamin Woodward (qv) (1816–61), who appears to have been taken on in the first half of 1846. Woodward had trained as an engineer, but having made a personal study of Irish medieval architecture, was well placed to assist in the design of a Gothic-revival building.
The college was inaugurated in November 1849, a few months after T. N.'s graduation from TCD. A second public-works commission, the district asylum for the mentally ill at Killarney, had been awarded by the board of works in 1847, construction taking place between 1848 and 1852. Another Gothic design, as the board stipulated, it seems to have been largely conceived and executed by Woodward. T. N. Deane (who had married a Blackrock neighbour, Henrietta Manly, on 29 January 1850) was not fully brought into the practice until the second half of 1851, when a formal partnership was established, under the style of Sir Thomas Deane Knt., Son & Woodward. This coincided with work commencing on a competition design for a town hall for Cork and followed the death of Lady Deane on 6 June, which greatly affected Sir Thomas. While unplaced, the town hall design, in the Belgic style, was noted by the London Builder and was, in time, to form much of the basis of Deane & Woodward's concept for the university museum at Oxford (1854–60), the firm's best-known building. T. N. Deane's lithographed perspective of the town hall was printed by Guy & Co. The three partners had rather contrastive personalities and appearances: Sir Thomas, who was of stocky build, was a great talker, known in his home town as ‘Blatherum’; his much thinner and bearded son was rather retiring and suffered from a speech impediment; while the affable but taciturn Woodward was tubercular. His condition had stabilised in the 1840s but was to deteriorate when the practice reached its zenith in the late 1850s.
The commission which was to move Deane & Woodward from its Cork roots onto a larger stage was the Museum Building at TCD, awarded in the spring of 1853, following a limited competition. While they were obliged to use floor plans provided by the college architect, John McCurdy, the Venetian cinquecento elevations (much influenced by the writings of John Ruskin) and the detailing were theirs. The building was also decorated with Ruskin-inspired naturalistic carving, mostly carried out by the O'Shea brothers, John and James. Woodward returned to Dublin, where his family lived, while T. N. Deane, his wife and young sons, Thomas Manly (b. 1851) and Joseph Henry (b. 1853) moved there in early 1854, taking a house on Upper Merrion St., which also served as the office. Sir Thomas had elected to remain in Cork, having remarried in Manchester on 16 November 1853. His bride was Harriet Williams and they were to have one child, Hermann Frederick Williams (1858–1921), later librarian and chapter clerk of St George's chapel, Windsor. Although Sir Thomas made occasional visits to Dublin and to Oxford, where the firm won the competition for the new university museum in 1854, the practice was effectively in the hands of Woodward and T. N. Deane from 1853 up until Woodward's death from tuberculosis eight years later. It would appear that T. N. Deane managed the Dublin office and made presentation drawings, while Woodward was largely responsible for design matters and for site supervision, particularly on the English projects; an office being maintained in London also.
The firm's principal designs in England were the Oxford University museum; the Oxford Union (1856–7); the Crown Life office (1856–8; demolished 1866) in Blackfriars, London; and the highly placed competition design for the government offices, Whitehall, London (1857). In all these projects it was intended to employ decorative artists and carvers, following the precepts of Ruskin, whom Deane and Woodward first met towards the end of 1854. All, apart from the Romanesque Crown Life, were in a hybrid Gothic style, combining elements from the English and European traditions. The museum had a striking modern element in a central glass-roofed court, but treated in a Gothic manner with wrought iron spandrils ornamented to look like plants. The carvings, by the O'Sheas and their nephew, Edward Whelan, were only partly completed. At the Union, Woodward persuaded some of the Pre-Raphaelites, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones, and John Hungerford Pollen (qv) to decorate the interior with murals on the theme of the Morte d'Arthur. Deane & Woodward's last major work in Dublin was the Kildare Street Club (1858–61, interiors partly removed in 1971). Like its neighbour, the Trinity Museum Building, it was Romanesque, but in brick, with carved stone dressings. At Kilkenny Castle they rebuilt the picture gallery (1859–66), which has a hammer-beam roof, decorated by Pollen.
As work on the Oxford museum drew to a close, Woodward's health declined. He paid a last visit there, with T. N. Deane, in December 1860, before he headed for the Continent, where he was to winter on the Iles d'Hyères, off the Côte d'Azur. En route home, he collapsed and died at a hotel in Lyon on 15 May 1861. Woodward's friends collected funds for a proposed memoir, but it never appeared, owing in part to the Deanes’ opposition. The practice was reorganised; while Sir Thomas had sold Dundanion and moved to Dublin in the autumn of 1860, he seems to have played little part in the business, devoting his time to professional institutions. He was one of a number of architects appointed to membership of the RHA under its new charter in 1860, serving as its president in 1866–8. He also assisted in the revival of the RIAI in 1863, serving briefly as its president in late 1868 before resigning on age and health grounds. He died at his home, 26 Longford Terrace, Monkstown, Co. Dublin, on 2 October 1871 at the age of 79. He was buried at Blackrock, Cork, in the graveyard of St Michael's church.
Much of T. N. Deane's work in the years immediately following Woodward's death was derivative, the Romanesque and Ruskinian Gothic styles predominating. In the former category were the Munster (later AIB) Bank, Dame St., Dublin (1870–74, extended 1958–9) and two Crown Life assurance offices: Fleet St., London (1864–6, demolished) and Dame St., Dublin (1868–71). Ruskinian buildings included two Irish country houses – Portumna Castle, Co. Galway (c.1861–3, demolished) and Turlough Park, Co. Mayo (c.1865–7) – and two major projects in Oxford: the Meadow Buildings at Christ Church (1862–6) and the Clarendon laboratory (1867–70, rebuilt 1946–8). Deane was invited to compete in the London law courts competition of 1866, submitting what one critic has described as ‘a ludicrously ornate version of his dead partner's Oxford museum’ (Summerson, 1970). His ecclesiastical work included the Italian Romanesque front of St Ann's church, Dawson St., Dublin (1868), the restoration of St Canice's cathedral, Kilkenny (1863–70), and the substantially new cathedral of St Mary at Tuam, Co. Galway (1861–78). Like Woodward before him, Deane developed a reputation as an antiquary, and this led to his appointment to the part-time government post of superintendent of national monuments in 1875.
In 1878 T. N. was joined in practice by his eldest son, Thomas Manly Deane. Having studied at TCD, Manly Deane had a broad training as an architect in London, where he was apprenticed to William Burges and attended the Royal Academy drawing schools. He won the academy's travelling scholarship to Europe in 1876. Father and son jointly designed the practice's last major Gothic building, the Commercial Union assurance office on Grafton St., Dublin (1879–81). Their most celebrated work was also in Dublin; the National Library and National Museum on Kildare St., won in competition in 1884. The two buildings, in the classical style, were designed to harmonise with the Palladian Leinster House, which they flanked. Much of the internal joinery, including chimney-pieces and door panels, was carved in Siena by Carlo Cambi, whom Manly Deane appears to have met on his travels. On the opening of the buildings in 1890, T. N. Deane was knighted by the lord lieutenant, the marquess of Zetland (qv).
At Oxford T. N. Deane & Son added the rather plain Pitt-Rivers museum (1885–6) to the rear of the university museum. T. N. continued to practise up until his death at 37 St Stephen's Green, Dublin, on 8 November 1899; he was buried in Deansgrange cemetery. His son is best remembered for his role as executant architect to Sir Aston Webb, of London, on the construction of another Dublin building complex, the Royal College of Science and Government Buildings on Merrion St. (1905–21). He was knighted by King George V on the opening of the college in 1911. Around 1925 he and his wife, Florence Mary (née Wright), retired to Penmaenmawr, north Wales, where he died on 3 February 1933.