white house historical association > james hoban : architect of the white house
Irish Roots | A County Kilkenny Man

Born in a thatched cottage on the estate of the Cuffe family, Earls of Desart at Cuffesgrange, near Callan in County Kilkenny, Ireland, James Hoban rose from journeyman carpenter and wheelwright to become the architect of the world's most famous house. Little is known of the Hoban family’s connection to the Cuffes, other than that Hoban's father Edward worked as a tenant farmer or an estate laborer on the Desart Court lands.

His mother Martha's maiden name was Bayne, and he had at least three siblings, Joseph, Philip, and Ann. Hoban, educated at the estate school, probably displayed a talent for drawing and design. With Lord Otway Cuffe's consent, and possibly his patronage, young Hoban attended the Dublin Society's Drawing School.

Hoban surely excelled in his studies, as he received the prestigious Duke of Leinster's medal for drawings of "Brackets, Stairs, and Roofs, & c." from the Dublin Society in 1780. He subsequently found a position as an apprentice to the Cork-born architect Thomas Ivory, the headmaster of the Dublin Society School from 1759 to 1786.

Major extant buildings in Dublin associated with Hoban's student years are the Glendower, Newcomen & Company bank building (today the Rates Office of the Dublin City Council) , designed by Ivory; and the Royal Exchange (1769-79), designed by English architect Thomas Cooley and recently restored as Dublin City Hall. Hoban must have been familiar with the Royal Exchange, for he gave President George Washington a detailed summary of its materials and cost in discussions related to the estimates for the President's House.


whha > james hoban : irish roots | desart court

whha > james hoban
whha > james hoban : introduction
whha > james hoban: imagining james hoban
whha > james hoban : irish roots
whha > james hoban : life and work in charleston, south carolina
whha > james hoban : building the president's house
whha > james hoban : rebuilding the president's house
whha > james hoban : public architect and developer
whha > james hoban : civic contributions and family
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