Pain (Paine), George Richard (1793?–1838), architect and builder, was born in London, son of James Pain, builder and surveyor; nothing is known of his mother. George's grandfather William Pain, joiner and architect, published Practical house carpenter (1789), one of the standard textbooks governing the late Georgian decorative style. William's career embodied the large degree of interchange between the design and construction of buildings during the eighteenth century; George and his brother James (see below) similarly oversaw both the design and construction of many buildings.
George exhibited architectural designs from a London address at the Royal Academy from 1814 and was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Society of Arts in 1813, as well as the Society's silver medal the following year. He was apprenticed alongside his elder brother James Pain (Paine) (1779–1877), architect and builder, born in Isleworth, Middlesex, to the prominent British architect John Nash, who was commissioned to design and build Lough Cutra Castle, Co. Galway, for Charles Vereker (qv). Nash dispatched the Pain brothers to supervise the castle's construction, and thenceforth they made their careers in Ireland. Authorities (Bence-Jones; Richardson) note the difficulty in authoritatively attributing work to, and between, the brothers due to the nature of their partnership and their prolific output across the south and west of Ireland. James took the lead in the commercial side of their work while George, demonstrating stronger drafting skills, focused more on the architectural side. Their initial association with Nash, the then prince regent's architect, who had contributed so much to the remodelling of central London, stood them in good stead in Ireland, where they found favour among the nobility and were never short of work.
Perhaps both in Ireland by 1811, they submitted a design (June 1813) for the proposed renovation of Dromoland Castle, Co. Clare – twenty miles from Lough Cutra. Unsuccessfully submitting a number of revised plans for Dromoland, James settled in Limerick and, probably under Nash's influence, was appointed architect to the board of first fruits of the archdiocese of Cashel (1823), bringing responsibility for all churches and glebe houses in the archdiocese. He surveyed all such existing structures, as well as those he added, in the two decades from his appointment, the records of which are preserved in the RCB Library, Dublin. Working mostly in partnership, the brothers were responsible for a significant amount of ecclesiastical construction and renovation in Munster during the second quarter of the nineteenth century.
They constructed a number of residences around the country in the castle style, including Strancally Castle, Co. Waterford (c.1830), and Blackrock Castle, Co. Cork, and made additions (1833) to Castle Bernard, King's Co. (Offaly), in a Tudor revival style. Their most famous commission came in 1823 from George King (qv), 3rd earl of Kingston, to build a new castle at Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, larger than any other in Ireland. Completing the construction of arguably the first Gothic revival castle in Ireland in two years, at a cost of between £100,000 and £200,000 (estimates vary), they based their design on Windsor castle and included at Kingston's urging a lavishly furnished ‘royal tower’. Kingston vainly hoped King George IV, his godfather, would stay during his visit to Ireland. The brothers then rebuilt Dromoland after 1826, utilising a similar interior plan to that of Mitchelstown. They began (1832) preliminary work on Adare Manor, Co. Limerick (where James Pain had constructed a family mausoleum in 1825), though the project was continued by A. W. Pugin (qv) and eventually completed by Philip Charles Hardwick.
George settled in Cork sometime around 1819 and the brothers’ first commission there (1818) was the house of correction at Cork county jail. They also designed the County Club (1829–31), South Mall. George's most significant work in Cork was the courthouse (1830–35), often mistakenly attributed to Kearns Deane (d. 1847); George had won first prize in the competition (1830) jointly with Thomas Deane (qv) and his son Kearns Deane, the latter claiming credit for the design. In 1825 George designed the Capuchin church of the Holy Trinity on Fr Mathew Quay. Building commenced in 1832, though it was not completed till after his death (1850), when the tower was built to a modified design.
The brothers won a public competition in 1817 to design and build Limerick county jail (1817–22). James designed and built (1838–9) four houses in Pery Square, Limerick, as a ‘tontine’ project. He also designed a number of bridges, most notably Thomond Bridge in Limerick (1838–42). James ceased to practise before 1860 and lived the remainder of his life in Limerick, where he died at home, 17 Upper Glentworth St., on 13 December 1877, aged 97, and was buried (17 December) in the Vereker family vault in St Mary's cathedral, Limerick. He never married.
George exhibited (1832) two paintings at the RHA, where he was listed as living at Camden Place, Cork. He died there 26 December 1838, aged 45, and was buried at the church of St Mary's, Shandon, Cork. He had married first (21 January 1818) Catherine Benn at St Mary's cathedral, Limerick; they had one son, Richard (b. c.1823), and a daughter, Sally, who married Henry Vereker of Limerick. He married secondly (18 September 1824) Margaret Atkins at St John's church, Limerick.