Putland, George (1745–1811), landowner and politician, was born in October 1745, son of John Putland (1709–73), landowner, magistrate, and later high sheriff of Dublin (1748), and his wife, Catherine (d. 1764), daughter and co-heir of Sir Emmanuel Moore of Ross Carbery, Co. Cork. The Putlands arrived as blacksmiths in Dublin in the seventeenth century and steadily accumulated wealth and position. George's great-grandfather, Thomas Putland (1650–1723), banker and property speculator, bought the lands in Co. Cork, Co. Wicklow, Co. Kilkenny, and Queen's Co. (Laois) that formed the backbone of the family wealth for two centuries. Though found guilty of fraud in 1707 and forced to flee to England, he left monetary bequests in his will in excess of £27,000.
George was educated in Athlone, Co. Westmeath, by Dr Campbell and graduated BA from TCD in 1767. Four years later he began buying land in Bray, Co. Wicklow; by 1777 he held forty-five acres there, and also purchased a new family estate of 864 acres near Tullow, Co. Carlow. On 13 February 1776 he was made high sheriff of Co. Wicklow and that year purchased from Gorges Lowther (1712?–1790), MP for Co. Meath, the parliamentary seat for Ratoath, Co. Meath, which he represented 1777–83. Lobbyists described him as an independent young man of good fortune, with estates in Wicklow and Tipperary of not less than £3,000 a year. His independence was borne out by his voting record: in 1777 he voted against the trade embargo and for the motion by Henry Grattan (qv) for retrenchment; in 1780 he voted for the motion by Barry Yelverton (qv) to modify Poynings' law. However, he did not have a high political profile and was not reelected in 1783. The following year he supported the reform movement of James Napper Tandy (qv) and on 12 October 1784, at a meeting at the weavers' hall on the Coombe, was elected one of five Dublin delegates to the national congress, a new body founded to bring about parliamentary reform. The congress met in William St. two weeks later (25 October) but adjourned after three days. Its demands for redistribution of seats and the admission of all leaseholders to the franchise were too advanced for most Irish whigs, and it avoided the pressing issue of catholic enfranchisement. It failed to generate momentum and had its last meeting on 26 April 1785.
Putland's other civic posts included those of governor of the lying-in hospital (1776–1800), governor of the charitable loan society (1778–1800), and governor of the charitable musical society (1781). He was a member of the Dublin Society from 1770 and of the RIA from 1797 to 1800. He died in June 1811 and was survived by his wife, Kitty (m. 20 January 1779), daughter of the Hon. John Evans of Bulgaden Hall, Co. Limerick, and niece of the 2nd Baron Carbery, and by two sons and two daughters.
His eldest son, George Putland (1782–1841), socialite, was educated privately and at TCD, where he graduated BA (1803). He was admitted to the King's Inns in 1801 but seems neither to have graduated nor practised at the bar. He married (1816) Anna Dorothea (‘Nancy’; d. 1857), daughter of Hampden Evans (1740–1820) of Portrane, Co. Dublin, a wealthy United Irishman who had been imprisoned in 1798 and lived in exile in France (1802–11). It was the third marriage between the two families, and Nancy's grandfather and George's great-grandfather were brothers. The couple were highly social and left their mark as fashion leaders, philanthropists, and aesthetes, though the cosmopolitan and accomplished Nancy Putland was a more influential figure than her husband. They had three houses: 64 Mount St., Dublin; ‘Sans Souci’ in Bray; and a house in Paris, where they spent the winter. In all three they entertained frequently and lavishly. For a fancy dress ball in April 1818 in Mount St. they erected a marquee in the garden for 600 guests and served wildfowl, burgundy, and champagne. The Freeman's Journal (15 April 1818) ‘remembered nothing like it since the union’. For the Putlands' fête champêtre (rustic feast) in June 1835, the town of Bray was decorated with triumphal arches bearing the motto ‘Céad Míle Fáilte’. After the lord lieutenant had received the welcome address, 500 guests repaired to Sans Souci, where a quadrille band and a band of the 15th Hussars were playing. The public were invited to the grounds in the evening. The Putlands had carried out major reconstructions on the house that year, covering the existing plain building with ‘an elaborate sugar-icing of gothick frivolousness’ (Garner, 61) and adding a remarkable circular gothic conservatory, whose twenty-one sides were divided by cast-iron buttresses. The family's logo, an elephant-head crest, was incorporated in the plaster and ironwork. In Paris, at their house in Place Vendôme, they played hosts to guests as diverse as Lafayette, Lord Cloncurry (qv), and Miles Byrne (qv). On Byrne's request, Mrs Putland prepared notes on the United Irishmen, including her father, for the French writer Gustave de Beaumont (qv).
Putland held few civic posts but was a notable and benevolent figure in Bray, sponsoring the Putland Stakes in the Bray races; supporting a school for poor catholic children; giving pensions to the widows of Bray fishermen lost at sea, and hosting an annual ‘Harvest home’ at Sans Souci for 150 tenants, at which dinner, music, and dancing were provided and warm clothing was handed out to the women. A cultivated man, he continued adding to his grandfather's notable library and was listed in 1821 as holding one of Dublin's private art collections. He was clearly proud of and apprehensive for his collections, since he stipulated in his will that books, plate, and paintings be preserved as family heirlooms. However, at his death in Mount St. (19 November 1841) he was childless, and the estate passed to his younger brother Charles Putland (qv), who was practical and placed land improvement above culture.