Waldron, Laurence Ambrose (1858–1923), stockbroker, patron of the arts, and MP, was born on 14 November 1858 at Ballybrack, Co. Dublin, fourth son of Laurence Waldron (1811–75), JP, DL, and MP for Co. Tipperary (1857–65), of Ballybrack and Helen Park, Co. Tipperary, and his wife Anne, daughter of Francis White (qv), surgeon and inspector of asylums for the mentally ill. His elder brother Brig.-gen. Francis Waldron served in the second Boer war. He was educated at Belvedere College, Dublin, and the Oratory School, Birmingham.
On his return to Dublin, he established his own stockbroking firm and soon had a thriving business. He was a member of the Dublin stock exchange from 1881 and later served as stockbroker to the court of chancery, the landed estates court, and the land commission of Ireland. He acted as a director and chairman of numerous companies, including the Dublin & Kingstown Railway, the Dublin United Tramways Co., and the Great Southern & Western Railway. In 1906 he was appointed chairman of the Grand Canal Co. Alongside his business interests he was a patron of the arts and was also known for his philanthropic work. He was a trustee of the NLI, a member of the board of governors and guardians of the NGI, a commissioner of national education, and a commissioner for charitable donations and bequests.
His friends, who included literary figures such as Oliver St John Gogarty (qv), George Moore (qv), and J. M. Synge (qv), knew him as ‘Larkey’, and he was renowned as a raconteur and epicurean. A collector of books and art, he immersed himself in the literature of the Celtic revival. His sumptuous home on Killiney Hill reflected his literary and artistic tastes and became a regular haunt for many of Dublin's artistic community. He supported home rule and in March 1904 was returned as MP for St Stephen's Green in the by-election caused by the death of James McCann (qv). He retained this seat in the January 1906 general election but did not contest it in the general election of January 1910. In 1911 he was appointed to the Irish privy council.
In the summer of 1912 he befriended Harry Clarke (qv), and acted as his patron until his own death in 1923. In 1913 he secured a travel scholarship for Clarke, who became a regular guest at his Killiney Hill gatherings and gave him several stained-glass panels as presents. These included a roundel depicting the Madonna and Child, which Clarke gave to him at Christmas 1915. Waldron commissioned several works from Clarke, the most important being the ‘Queens’ series of seventy-seven stained-glass panels, depicting characters from Synge's poem of the same name. These panels were completed in 1917 and placed in the window of Waldron's library overlooking Killiney Bay. Apart from commissioning pieces from Clarke, he introduced him to other potential patrons and members of Dublin's artistic community, most notably Thomas Bodkin (qv), the prominent art critic.
Known as an eccentric, Waldron was a familiar sight in Dublin streets, walking behind his carriage while his dog reclined in comfort on its seat. By the early 1920s, however, his health was in decline and for the last year of his life he was confined to his home. He died on 27 December 1923, having left instructions for his butler, Brown, to visit all his close friends and solemnly inform them of the news. Harry Clarke designed his memorial card.