Turtle Bunbury

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HISTORY

HEROES AND VILLAINS

John Henry Foley, RA (1818-1874)

John Henry Foley was probably the most influential sculptor working in Europe during the middle decades of the 19th century. A champion of Britain’s imperial values, his breathtaking equestrian masterpieces strode across city squares and parklands from Dublin to Calcutta. Queen Victoria personally requested that the Irishman create the statue of her beloved Prince Albert which sits at the core of the Albert Memorial. When Foley died in 1874, the Queen decreed that he should be buried in Westminster Abbey.

Few of those who attended his funeral knew about his humble origins in the back streets of Dublin where his father was a grocer and his grandfather an amateur sculptor. The child prodigy mastered his craft under the brilliant Edward Smyth at the Royal Society Schools in Dublin. He arrived in London aged 18 on the eve of Queen Victoria’s reign and gradually rose through the ranks to become one of the most celebrated members of the Royal Academy. At the time of his premature death aged 54, his workshop was filled with incomplete commissions. The complexity of his life was such that, amongst these, were the aforesaid statue of Prince Albert, the towering monument of Irish nationalist icon Daniel O’Connell that dominates central Dublin today, and the statue of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson in Richmond, Virginia.

Turtle was closely involved as both historical researcher and co-scriptwriter on the documentary 'John Henry Foley - Sculptor of the Empire' (Dealbhóir na hImpireachta), which first aired on TG4 in November 2008. The film was short-listed for the Best Documentary BIFF Award at the 2008 Magners Irish Film Festival in Boston. Launched in the National Museum of Ireland, it examines the life and works of the controversial Victorian sculptor. The documentary, which premiered at the 20th Galway Film Fleadh, was directed by Se Merry Doyle of Loopline Films. The Sunday Independent described the programme as one that showed 'all the signs of a work that was not just well done, but that needed to be done'. The Sunday Business Post concurred that 'Sé Merry Doyle’s film has put [Foley] in his proper place - on a pedestal - for that’s what he deserves'.

See 'Foley's Asia' for more.

This chronology is designed as a research tool. Anyone spotting any errors or omissions, or otherwise interested in Foley and his works, is urged to contact Turtle directly.

With thanks to Se Merry Doyle, John Sankey, Helen Bergin, Daniel Hegarty, Martina Durac, John Turpin, Paula Murphy, Ronan Sheehan, Benedict Read, Niamh Barrett, Goutam Ghose, Pat Wallace, Humphry Wakefield, Keith Wilson, Allen Foster, Anthony Harrison, Martha Wailes, Nick Butler, John Hewitt, Patricia Eaton, Julian Hardinge, Hugh Hardinge, Shane Gough, Diane Clements, Jonathan Marsden, Robert Guinness, Sophie Dupre, Eibhlin Roche, Andrew Potter, Mark Pomeroy, Raymond Refausse, Steve Stockwell, Basil Walsh, Rory Guinness, Rebecca Hayes, Frances Foley, Rosie Rathdonnell, Raymond Gillespie, Emmeline Henderson, Jane Beattie, Nicola Morris, Richard Seedhouse, Eamon Delaney, Pat Power, Bella Bishop, Liam Kenny Nikki Gordon Bowe, Terence Dooley, Mario Corrigan, Terence Reeves-Smyth, Jeremy Black, Frank Columb, Denis Bergin, Dr Leon Litvack, Roy Foster, Hilary Finlay and Gavan Woods.

1757

Birth of Benjamin Schrowder, step-grandfather to Foley, in Winchelsea.

1791

Among those working with James Gandon on Custom House is Foley's step-grandfather, the sculptor Benjamin Schrowder. Custom House is formerly opened.

1801

Act of Union spells end of golden age for Dublin.

1804

Benjamin Schrowder carves James Swistir.
St Paul's Cathedral starts series of sponsored memorials to glorious dead of the Napoleonic Wars.

1806

1811

Dublin Society (later Royal Dublin Society) establishes School of Modelling to compliment Figure and Ornament Schools in Kildare St. Foley's neighbour Edward Smyth Smyth (1749 - 1812) becomes the School's first Master at a salary of 50 guineas a year.

1812

Marriage of Jesse Foley, glassblower, and Eliza Byrne (28 Feb). Later has grocer on Mecklenburg Street, Dublin. They had a large family, six of whom were born in the house in Montgomery-street, an area with many artisans living locally. Foley's neighbours include several of the "high class" hands who helped finish and decorate the Custom House. They often gather for merrymaking in the Curlew Tavern.
Edward Smyth dies at 36 Montgomery Street (Foley Street) while working on the plaster heads for the Chapel Royal. He is succeeded by his son, John Smyth, also Foley's neighbour, as head of Dublin Society Sculpture School (Nov).
£100 spent on completing the pedestals in the RDS statue gallery. Its walls are coloured and the long gallery finished.
An early pupil at the RDS modelling school is Hanoverian sculptor William Behnes.

1814

Birth of Edward Foley, eldest son of Jesse and Eliza. He grows up amid the artisan community of Dublin's Montgomery Street.

1817

Birth of the architect James Joseph McCarthy, a school pal of John Henry, later known as the Irish Pugin. He built Kilkenny Cathedral and Glasnevin Chapel.

1818

John Henry Foley born at 6 Montgomery Street, Dublin. (May 24)
JHF baptised at St. Thomas's (Church of Ireland) (June 7)
Archduke Maximilian visits Dublin (Nov)

1819

image title

Prince Albert was to be one
of John Henry Foley's
foremost patrons.

Behnes wins a Society of Arts gold medal and sets up studio in London.
Birth of Prince Albert, second son of Ernest, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. (August 26). He is only a year younger than Foley.

1820

Birth of Florence Nightingale.

1821

Dublin Society becomes Royal Dublin Society at time of George IV's visit to Ireland. Behnes wins a contract to execute a sculpture of the King, which he said he would do for free if RDS supplied the marble. They did but the sculpture, never completed, remains in his studio until 1845.

1820s

Sarah Atkinson says the Foley children were brought up in a frugal manner 'kept much at home, and tenderly and carefully watched over by their mother'. All children educated in a room in the house by a mother whose 'discipline was strict, her word was law but the children loved her greatly'. Jesse taught them maths. Edward proved to be a better student that JHF who is aided by sister and rather mischievous, always sliding into green slime ditches and dressing up in dolls clothes. Something occurred to oblige the Foley's to remove Edward from the seminary he attended and study at home. Edward later studies with his grandfather Benjamin Schrowder.

1823

RDS Sculpture Gallery exhibits works by John Hogan of Cork, who went on to become a well known sculptor. Other distinguished pupils from the 1820s include Constantine Panormo and John Gallagher who, at the end of 1823, were sent to London as pupils to Mr. Behnes, for two years, at £60 each.

1824

Decimus Burton founds The Athenaeum as a 'Club for Literary and Scientific men and followers of the Fine Arts.'

1825

Panormo wins silver medal. After a third year with Behnes, he and Gallagher are sent to Rome for a final course of study. Clearly Behnes is a man of considerable influence at this time.

1826

John Henry Foley and the future architect James Joseph McCarthy visit RDS's Natural History Museum on second floor of Leinster House (St. Stephen's Day). Foley points to statue [of Apollo Belvedere] and exclaims: "This is the sort of thing I'll spend my life at".
Death of Benjamin Schrowder, step-grandfather to the Foleys. He is buried in a grave in St. George's but does not have enough money to secure permission from church to have his monument erected on the wall.
Edward Foley, aged 13, apprenticed by his grandfather to John Smith, Master of the RDS School of Sculpture. During his first year he is to receive no payment. John Smith was working on Gosford Castle in Markethill, Armagh, for the Earls of Gosford. Also starting to work to a commission from members of the bar to execute the monument in St. Patrick's Cathedral to John Ball, Sergeant-at-Law.

1827

Edward working with John Smyth, now on 6 shillings/week.
Richard Westmacott (1775-1856) succeeds Flaxman as Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Academy (RA). His neo-classical style would have been the official style for all future students such as Foley.

1828

Jesse Foley in poor health and limited to cultivating the garden. Young JHF now the man of the house, fixing broken panes, making little chairs and tables for his sisters. Eliza, his mother, considers apprenticing him to a carpenter or upholsterer. JHF threatens to run away.
Edward Foley's wage increases to 17 & sixpence a week. By now intimate with the Smyths, he forms "an attachment to one of the daughters of the house".

1829

Eleven-year-old JHF admitted as a student to the Royal Dublin Society drawing schools at Leinster House.
Atkinson's says that "when about 12 years of age" JHF suddenly began to read everything that came his way. These include The Vicar of Wakefield, The History of England, Young's Night Thoughts, Hervey's Meditations and selections from Shakespeare.
O'Connell secures Catholic Emancipation Act.

1830

JHF awarded a Premium to continue to study drawing and modelling at the RDS schools. He takes several first-class prizes in modelling, architectural drawing, studies of the human form, ornamental design and other branches of study.
Edward Foley persuades Smith's daughter to "engage herself to him" but his teacher soon "found himself unable to provide work" and Edward thus "made up his mind to go to London". He sets off with top hat and meets consistent rejection until he strikes lucky with 35-year-old William Behnes at his studio on Onasburgh Street. He secures job by carving a coat-of-arms for a nobleman to such a fine finish that even his master said he could not have excelled. He duly became an assistant at Behnes studio, at a salary of £4 a week.
Irishman Sir Martin Archer Shee begins 20-year tenure as President of Royal Academy in London.
Athenaeum Clubhouse built on Pall Mall as part of the new civic architecture in Greek style by which London was embellished after the battle of Waterloo.
George IV succeeded by William IV.

1831

JHF at RDS during its centenary year.
Edward marries his childhood sweetheart, Miss Smith, and settled at Devonshire Street, Portland Place.
Chantrey popularizes use of contemporary dress in bronze statue of William Pitt.
Foley's school pal, JJ McCarthy, enters the Christian Brothers, O'Connell School, North Richmond St. Dublin RDS Centenary
Ireland's Chief Secretary Stanley introduces system of National Education (with English as the sole medium of instruction).

1832

JHF takes 2nd Premium in Modelling. (March)
JHF admitted to Architectural School of RDS (May 31)
JHF awarded 2nd Premium for Modelling (Dec 20)
First issue of Dublin University Magazine

1833

JHF completes studies at RDS School. He wins first prize in all four schools. When a rival destroys some vital foliage, JHF gives the night-porter the slip to rework the piece overnight. London and the RA beckons.
On the back of his brothers' success at the RDS, Edward invites JHF to join him in London and enrol at the Royal Academy.
Saunders News-Letter notes JHF victory at RDS.
Abolition of Slavery Bill passes (July)

image title

Foley scooped first prize in all his
exams at the Royal Dublin Society.
There was only one place for a man
of his ambition to go from there -
London.

1834

JHF leaves for London, assuring weeping sister "Now don't cry, I'll be a great man some day and I'll buy you a silk dress". Goes to Edward at 16 Buckingham Street. (March)
Edward Foley first exhibits in Royal Academy in Somerset House.
JJ McCarthy admitted to Figure & Ornament Schools of RDS in Kildare St. He later moves to the Architecture School.

1835

JHF's model of "Death of Abel" obtains him a studentship of the Royal Academy for 10 years. (30 April). A model from life also wins him a large silver medal and books. He is also involved with music, poetry and plastic art. He sends a song entitled 'Past and Present' home to his mother.
JHF's President at RA is Sir Martin Archer Shee.
William Clarkson Frederick Stanfield, maritime artist, elected to Royal Academy.

1836

At some stage the 18-year-old JHF moves with his brother Edward and wife (nee Miss. Smith) to house on Devonshire Street, Portland Place.
John Smyth gives gave new head, left arm and leg to equestrian statue of William III in College Green after it was blown up. He was also one of the original associates of the RHA.

1837

Queen Victoria succeeds William IV and ascends throne.
Towards end of year, JHF has severe attack of jaundice brought on by over-work. He is ill-advisedly kept on low diet for weeks; "his complexion … naturally a clear red and white, became rather swarthy". His figure loses "its original robustness". But he continues to be a fine-looking man, 5' 7" in height.
Edward Foley's employer, William Behnes, appointed 'Sculptor in Ordinary' to the new Queen.Subsequently flooded with commissions to do busts, reliefs, church monuments and statues.
(Sir) Richard Westmacott, John Foley's teacher at the RA, is knighted by Queen.
Royal Academy moves from Somerset House to recently constructed National Gallery in Trafalgar Square.
Death of John Constable, RA.

1838

JHF graduates from Royal Academy having been awarded a Silver Medal.
Richard Westmacott (the younger) elected Associate of RA. Poor law passed in Ireland.
Father Matthew sets up the Temperance Movement - to become the biggest mass movement in pre-famine Ireland
Emancipation of all slaves in Jamaica

1839

Despite his recent ill-health, JHF has first taste of success as exhibitor at the RA with Death of Abel and Innocence. He continues to send works to the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibitions for next 22 years until the argument of 1861. When 'Abel' was shown, the RA say Foley's address was given as 57 George Street, Euston Square. Strickland says it was No. 59 George Street. That same year, JHF rents purpose-built studio on Edward Street, just off Hampstead Road and close to Regents Park.
Edward Foley exhibits "Samuel Lover", now in National Portrait Gallery.
First Opium War in China. 1840 (22)
Death of John Smyth, father-in-law to Edward Foley.
JHF befriends Samuel Carter Hall, founder and editor of the influential new magazine, The Art Journal, and his wife, the novelist and travel-writer Anna Maria Hall. They are benevolent, liberal, teetotal, charitable types who support woman's rights.
Thomas Davis founds The Nation.
O'Connell campaigns to Repeal the Union and restore Irish Parliament.
Marriage of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria.
Penny post starts.
Annexation of New Zealand.
Municipal Reform Act enables middle class Irish Catholics to secure positions in local government.

1840

JHF attracts serious attention with 'Ino and the Infant Bacchus'. The Earl of Ellesmere commissions it for his collection at Bridgewater House. Atkinson claims it propels him "at 22 years of age, in the first rank of living artists". 'Ino' is amongst the first engravings of statuary in SC Hall's Art Journal. Foley allowed each subsequent work to be likewise engraved. A wider audience can now see his talents without need to see the actual bronze or marble sculpture.

1841

JHF exhibits 'Lear and Cordelia' and 'Death of Lear' at Royal Academy.
JHF executes statue of Sir Henry Marsh, former President of Royal College of Physicians, and bust of William Robert Dickinson for Royal Academy.
Death of Sir Francis Chantrey.
Royal Association of the Deaf and Dumb founded in London; JHF later becomes a patron employer.
O'Connell elected the first Catholic Lord Mayor of Dublin since 1688.
Punch founded.

1842

JHF exhibits 'Venus Rescuing Aeneas from Diomed' and 'The Houseless Wanderer'.
JHF exhibits bust of W. Farren at Royal Academy.
First issue of Illustrated London News.
Railway mania hits Britain with opening of Great Western Railway.
First publication of The Nation.
Attempted assassination of Queen Victoria.
Disastrous retreat of British from Kabul.
Collieries Act.
Treaty of Nanking between Britain & China opens several ports.

1843

JHF exhibits 'Prospero and Miranda'.
JHF exhibits marble bust of actress Helena Saville (née Faucit), wife of (Sir) Theodore Martin.
The Nation calls for monuments to Irish patriots (May)
O'Connell's monster meetings. A meeting at Clontarf is forbidden by government; O'Connell calls it off.
Brunel's Thames Tunnel opens between Rotherhithe and Wapping.
Brunel's SS Great Britain launched in Bristol.
Wordsworth becomes Poet Laureate.
The Economist begins publication.
Charles Dicken's Martin Chuzzlewit published.

1844

Original version of JHF's 'Youth at the Stream' exhibited at Royal Academy. The Art-Union (later Art Journal) considers it the most beautiful work exhibited at the RA.
Contest underway to decorate St. Stephen's Hall and the new Houses of Parliament at Westminster. JHF enters Youth and Ino into Westminster Exhibition. Edward Foley enters "Canute reproving his Courtiers". JHF - along with Calder Marshall and John Bell - wins contest to sculpt and deign St. Stephen's Hall in Westminster. JHF to do Hampden and Selden.
Lord Charles Townsend commissions marble of Ino for 550 guineas; Townsend pays 250 guinea advance to Edward Foley on JHF's behalf.
O'Connell convicted of conspiracy and jailed.
3rd Earl of Ross constructs largest telescope in the world.
YMCA founded in England.
First Public baths opened in Liverpool.
Disraeli's Coningsby published.
France holds French Industrial Exposition and thus inspires Great Exhibition.
First telegraph transmitted.
Alexander Dumas, Three Musketeers.

1845

Potato famine hits Ireland. Peels government puts relief measures in place.
JHF exhibits "Contemplation" at RA.
JHF exhibits "James Oliver Annesley" - a posthumous bust for the eldest son of Sir James.
JHF exhibits posthumous bust of "Mrs Prendergast".
Thomas Davis in The Nation calls for monument to Father Matthew and O'Connell, both of whom Foley will sculpt circa 20 years later. (May)
Portland vase broken by a drunk in British Museum.
Elastic bands & pneumatic tyres patented in London.
First ever Oxford v Cambridge boat race on the Thames.
Henry Jones invents Self Raising Flour.
Anglo - Sikh war begins.
Florida and Texas become 27th & 28th States of the Union.
Maori uprising against British in New Zealand.

1846

JHF, preparing to bring his mother to London, exhibits 'Pandurus overthrown by Diomed'
Formation of the non denominational Queens Collegesin Ireland, referred to as 'godless' colleges by O'Connell but welcomed by the Young Irelanders. Young Irelanders split with Daniel O'Connell and form the Irish confederation - objective is self government of Ireland. Split concerns physical force which they won't rule out.
Total failure of potato crop. Almost 10% of Irish labour force employed in relief schemes.
Robert Peel resigns after repeal of the Corn laws. Lord Russell becomes prime minister.
Treaty of Lahore ends Sikh War.
Daily News is first published.
Opening of Lancaster to Carlisle Railway (Dec 15)
Sewing machine patented in USA

1847 - A Year of Mixed Blessings

Black '47 - the worst year of the famine.
29-year old JHF completes 'Sir John Hampden' for St. Stephen's Hall. It wins great fame for Foley and portrait commissions of all kinds now begin to come rapidly. Like Chantrey before him, Foley understands that portrait statues and monuments are far more lucrative than works of imagination.
Death of JHF's mother, Eliza Foley, on eve of her move to London. Edward and JHF preparing urgent trip to Dublin to see mother but arrive after her death. JHF devastated as had long said he would never relax until his mother was with him.
JHF marries Mary Anne Grey: The Gentleman's Magazine (p. 535) recorded the marriage at St Pancras, London, on 21st August 1847 of 'John Henry Foley, esq, of Edward-st and Osnaburgh-st, Regent's-park, Sculptor, to Mary-Ann, second dau. of Samuel Grey, esq., of Brecknock -crescent'. The marriage was also mentioned in The Patrician, V. 4 (1847) (edited by John Burke, Bernard Burke), which gave Brecknock-crescent as being in 'Camden, Newtown'. I can find no further information about Samuel Gray but assume he is not the man wanted for murder in Co Monaghan in 1843!
Prince Albert acquires Foley's Innocence for the Royal Collection at Osborne House. Copeland porcelain version of Innocence also produced.
Birth in Worcester of (Sir) Thomas Brock, future assistant to Foley (March 1st)
Death of Daniel O'Connell.

Central exchequer ends provision of relief funds; henceforth to be met by local rates.
Irish Confederation formed by Young Ireland dissenters under William Smith O'Brien
John Nicholson, a future subject for Foley, becomes assistant to Sir Henry Lawrence, Resident at Lahore.
Sadler's Factory Act restricts working day for women and children to 10 hours per day.
80 men and children die in Great Ardley Pit Disaster.
First Gold Rush in California.
Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre and Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights published.
Thackeray's Vanity Fair published.
Death of Mendelssohn aged 38.

1848

Graves 'Royal Academy of Arts - A Complete Dictionary of Contributors' states that the Behnes studio was at 13 Osnaburgh Street from 1833 and that Foley's was at 19 Osnaburgh Street (later renumbered 10) from 1848. In 1877 all houses in the street were renumbered and 10 became 30. Sarah Atkinson refers to a fixed residence at "Osnaburgh House" but no such place appears to have existed. Strickland suggests that after his marriage Foley removed to Hampstead so how long did he live in The Priory?
Lord Charles Townsend refuses to pay further monies due for his "Ino" claiming he is dissatisfied. JHF advises that he will seek another buyer. (April).
"Ino & Bacchus" exhibited in Dublin and sold to Earl of Ellesemere for 750 guineas.
JHF completes statue of William Stokes for Royal College of Physicians Bust of Sir James Annesley for RA.
JHF elected an Associate of the Royal Academy (Nov 5th)
Sarah Atkinson (nee Gaynor) marries Dr. George Atkinson, part proprietor of the "Freeman's Journal". She is, like SC Hall, a woman of devout philanthropic Victorian values.
Among those who settle in London after the Revolutions in Europe is the Italian sculptor Carlo Marochetti.
Richard Westmacott the Younger elected full Academician.
First safety match produced.
Photography starts.
Public Health Act in Britain following Cholera epidemic.
William Smith O'Brien leads doomed Young Ireland Rebellion.
Revolution throughout Europe starts in France (Feb) and engulfs Prussia and Naples.
Nicholson distinguishes himself in Sikh War.
The Chinese Junk Keying comes to London.
Treaty of Guadalupe ends US war with Mexico - US gains Texas, New Mexico, California, Utah, Nevada & Arizona.
The Franklin Search Expedition ends in disaster.

1849

Foley elected ARA (Associate of the Royal Academy). Meanwhile, he is defending himself before Queen's Bench against Lord Charles Townsend over the latter's' demand for return of 250 guinea instalment paid for "Ino & Bacchus" (June). Lord Denman concludes that JHF should, at his own expense, execute a single figure to Townsend's desire to be worth as close as possible to the 200 guineas outstanding. "Ino" is exhibited during the trial and "exhibited general admiration".
Who's Who begins publication.
New silver coin minted in Britain called a "Florin" with a value of 2 shillings.
Ransomes' & Mays portable locomotive steam engine exhibited at Smithfield Club Cattle Show.
Britain annexes Punjab.
Zachary Taylor inaugurated as 12th President of USA

image title

In 1847, Foley's mother was amongst
those to perish in Ireland on account
of the Famine. That same year,
Foley had his breakthrough when his
sculpture of Sir John Hampden was
erected in Westminster.

1850

National Archives contain a deed of release relating to marriage settlement of an Edward Foley and Elizabeth Fanny Cuming, dated 30 March 1850. Page 427. 427. 999/284. 6/4. Could this have been JHF's brother?
Death of Sir Martin Archer Shee, President of Royal Academy (August 19). He is succeeded by Sir Charles Lock Eastlake (until 1865).
Alfred Lord Tennyson becomes Poet Laureate on death of William Wordsworth.
Hinks, Wells and Co. of Birmingham employs 564 people manufacturing pens using 2½ tons of steel per week to make 35,000 gross of pens per week.
First public libraries open.
Millard Fillmore becomes 13th President of USA on death of Zachary Taylor.
Large emigration continues to US & the colonies from Britain; 4 out of 5 are Irish.
Death of Sir Robert Peel after being thrown from horse (July 2).
R. W. Bunsen produces his gas burner.

1851

Bronze version of Youth at the Stream, now at Bancroft Gardens, Stratford-on-Avon.
JHF exhibits 'The Mother"', a companion group to 'Ino and Bacchus'.
May 1st - Queen Victoria opens Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace in London (May 1). Foley, one of 17,000 thousand exhibitors, shows The Wanderer. Marochetti's 'Richard the Lionheart' placed outside Crystal palace as too big for building.
Britain annexes Burma.
New York Times begins publication.
Schooner America wins America's Cup race around the Isle of Wight.

1852

34-year-old JHF exhibits bust of "Rev. Andrew Reed, DD" at RA.
Crystal Palace disassembled and taken to Sydenham.
Victoria and Albert Museum opens.
Death of "Iron Duke" of Wellington.
Lord Derby succeeded by Lord Aberdeen as Prime Minister.
Louis Napoleon declares himself Emperor Napoleon III.
Transvaal in South Africa gains the right to manage its own affairs.

1853

JHF completes "Selden" for St. Stephen's Hall; duly placed near "Hampden".
JHF's studio is at No. 10 Osnaburgh Street, adding a fine studio, approached by glass door from the dwelling house. Atkinson gives an excellent insight to studio on p.26 - 27. People of distinction and curiosity were common-place visitors.
Between 1853 and 1860, 35 statues are erected in Ireland, 14 in Dublin.
Wagner completes the text of Der Ring Des Nibelungen.
Outbreak of Crimean War.
Death duties introduced in Britain.
Smallpox vaccination become compulsory in Britain.
Queen Victoria given chloroform during birth of her seventh child.

1854

The Corporation of London arrives at Foley's studio on Osnaburgh Street "in a long line of cabs, like a funeral procession". They had come to see his models and to choose two figures to be executed in marble and placed in the Egyptian Room of the Mansion House. Corporation duly commissions ideal figures of "Egeria" (1854) and "Caractacus" (1858).
Queen Victoria visits Foley at his studio; perhaps she wanted to see his design for the Duke of Wellington's memorial. His design for the Duke's Memorial was exhibited at the Royal Academy but ultimately he was rejected from contest to build Monument to Duke.
JHF exhibits monument to "Hon James Stuart" of Ceylon at RA.
JHF exhibits bust of actress, 'Mrs. Warner'.
Le Figaro begins production.
Britain & France declare war on Russia and send forces to the Crimea.
Bloemfontein Convention gives Orange Free State to Afrikaners.

1855

Edward Foley exhibits "Catherine Hayes" (a second version made in 1861).
Daily Telegraph begins publication.
Livingstone discovers and names the Victoria Falls on Africa's Zambezi River.
Victoria & Albert visit Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugénie in France (Aug)
Lord Palmerston becomes Prime Minister.
End of siege of Sebastopol; guns melted down to make Victoria Cross.
Tsar Nicolas I dies and is succeeded by Alexander II.

1856

JHF completes 'Viscount Hardinge on his War Charger', executed for Calcutta and exhibited in front of Burlington House before its departure top India. "Strenuous efforts" to commission a replica for London fail but JHF considers the huge public response to be "one of the most gratifying incidents of his artistic life".
Commissions overwhelming; JHF obliged to take apprentices and "bid farewell" to the "classic and portrait studies of his younger years".
Exhibits posthumous bust of "Sir Charles Hulse" and his wife for RA Exhibition.
Death of Sir Richard Westmacott at 14 South Audley Street, Mayfair.
Palace of Westminster receives new bell, christened "Big Ben" after the Director of Public works, Sir Benjamin Hall (October).
Victoria Cross created to reward bravery in battle.
Anglo-Chinese War
begins, Royal Navy bombards Canton.
Crimean War ends in March with the Treaty of Paris.
Florence Nightingale working in Scutari.
James Buchanan elected 15th President of the USA.

1857

Foley's 'Viscount Hardinge', the first of his great equestrian statues, installed in Calcutta.
JHF exhibits posthumous bust of 'Rev. Richard Sheepshanks'at RA.
JHF exhibits bust of 'John Sheepshanks' for V&A.
Richard Westmacott succeeds his father as RA's professor of sculpture, the only time a RA professorship passed from father to son.
Christopher Moore's statue of 'Thomas Moore' unveiled on College Street, Dublin.
National Portrait Gallery set up.
Indian Mutiny begins with revolt of Sepoys. Cawnpore & Delhi seized & Lucknow besieged.
John Nicholson killed in action; Foley commissioned to execute his statue.
Second Opium War in China occurs.
Great Eastern (Leviathan) being built by Brunel (May).
Postal District Map of London.

1858

On January 13th, JHF becomes one of those few Irishmen elected a Member of the Royal Academy. At the age of 40, he had reached "the highest position which an artist in our days and in these countries can attain".
JHF presents 'The Elder Brother in Comus' (1230x 550 mm), crafted from Carrara marble, as his Diploma work to the Royal Academy.
JHF completes "Caractacus" for Corporation of London's Mansion House.
JHF exhibits 'GB Airey, Astronomer Royal' for RA, 'General John Nicholson" monument for Lisburn and posthumous bust of 'General William Nairn Forbes' of the Calcutta Mint for RA.
London Omnibus company is founded.
Frith paints "Derby Day".
Brunel's Leviathan launched at Millwall (Jan 30); later renamed Great Eastern, unprofitable and dogged by disaster.
Irish Republican Brotherhood founded in Dublin by James Stephens.
Indian Mutiny put down; administration of India transferred to Crown.
Treaty of Tientsin ends war with China.
Lord Derby becomes Prime Minister.

1859


JHF exhibits 'John Jones of Crosswood'at RA; monument later erected at Guilfield Church near Welshpool by Jones' three daughters.
Darwin's On the Origin of Species and J.S. Mill's On Liberty published.
Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope.
Building of the Suez Canal begins.
Lord Palmerston, Prime Minister of Britain.

 

image title

In 1860, Foley had a serious
disagreement with the Royal
Academy over the hanging
of his works. Such was his
fury, Foley never exhibited
at the Academy again.

1860

The Art-Union (later Art Journal) commissions a statuette in bronze of 'Youth at the Stream'.
JHF exhibits busts of 'John Purcell FitzGerald' and 'RSBJ Vaughan' for RA, as well as a posthumous bust of 'Mrs Samuel R Healey', also for RA.
Marochetti's bronze of 'Richard the Lionheart' erected outside House of Lords.
British Open Golf Championship established.
Garibaldi's "redshirts" capture Sicily & invade Italy.
Abraham Lincoln elected 16th President of USA

1861

JHF has major fall out with the RA's Hanging Committee over way they display his works. Committee refuse to concede and Foley refuses to exhibit at RA thereafter.
JHF designs 'Oliver Goldsmith' for Trinity College Dublin.
Crimean War Memorial in progress.
Foley exhibited the plaster model of his Brigadier Nicholson Memorial at the Royal Academy. It is erected in Lisburn Church on Sept 14.
Edward Foley completes second version of 'Catherine Hayes'.
Death of Lord Herbert of Lea, whom Foley goes on to sculpt.
First horse drawn tramway laid in London.
Death of Prince Albert from typhoid at Windsor (Dec 14) "to unspeakable sorrow of both Queen and country". Major depression sets in for Queen.
US Confederacy formed, forces capture Fort Sumter and American Civil War begins.
Serfdom abolished in Russia.
Frederick William IV of Prussia dies and is succeeded by William I.

1862

Cast of 'Ino and Bacchus' is at International Exhibition. Is that the one now at the RDS?
Original marble of 'Caractacus', executed for Egyptian Hall.

1863

JHF elected to Belgian Academy of Arts & Sciences.
JHF one of four sculptors asked to give evidence to Royal Commission of Enquiry into workings of RA.
'Goldsmith' bronze erected at Trinity College Dublin.
JHF exhibits 'The Norseman' (31 ½ inches), now held at Fine Art Society, London.
Death from pneumonia of Thomas J. 'Stonewall' Jackson (May 10)- 'the greatest personal loss suffered by the Confederacy' -after being accidentally wounded by his own men at battle of Chancellorsville 8 days previously. JHF chosen to execute statue to 'Stonewall Jackson', to be based on a recent photograph, possibly one taken "a week before the General received his fatal wound". Committee of 16 prominent Confederate sympathizers open 'British Jackson Monumental Fund', with Alexander J. B. Beresford Hope as treasurer & William H. Gregory, M.P, as Secretary. Obtain £50 donations from Liverpool businessman James Spence, (formerly Confederacy's financial agent in Europe), Alexander Collie (leading blockade-runner) & City banker J. Henry Schroder (the English agent for the Erlanger Loan). The Times compare Stonewall Jackson's death with that of Nelson at Trafalgar. Americans living in London surprised by public reaction to this event.
In In December, the Dublin Corporation passed a resolution regarding the O'Connell Monument that, 'in as much as first class artists would not send in competing designs, the principle of competition for the design could not be advantageously adhered to' (The Irish Builder, 1 December 1863: 192). Gray was consequently requested to confer with the sculptor J.H. Foley on the subject. Foley’s status as Irish-born but non-resident sculptor led to many debates over the course of the following year. The Irish Builder noted its respect for Mr Foley but went on to comment that ‘we most emphatically protest against sending £10,000 out of the country for the execution of an undertaking which, above all others should be thoroughly national, and as the monument originated from Irish hearts, so it should be sculptured by none other than Irish hands' (The Irish Builder, 1stJuly 1864: 125).

image title

Considered by many to have been his finest masterpiece,
Foley's statue of Sir James Outram on his charger stood
for many years on Calcutta's Madian.

1864

In February, JHF makes papers when he advocates placing of his statue to the 'Prince Consort' on College Green between Trinity and the Bank.
Foley starts on 'Sir James Outram on his Charger', probably his greatest equestrian masterpiece. Apparently he kept the work in his studio for the next 12 years (ie: until after his death), constantly recasting and laying fresh clay on the bronze to get it right.
Centenary of Rev Theobald Matthew marked by unveiling of Foley's bronze on Patrick Street, Cork, by Mayor John Francis Maguire, Catholic founder of Cork Examiner. FB Beamish, a Protestant businessman, also prominent (Oct 10).
Alderman McSwiney lays foundation stone for the O'Connell Monument in Dublin.
Foley's 'Elphinstone' is meanwhile installed in Bombay.
Death in poverty of William Behnes, the sculptor who gave Edward Foley his first break in London.
Death of William Smith O'Brien, the Young Ireland leader.

1865

Stonewall Jackson Fund has enough money for JHF to get started.
'Goldsmith' bronze engraved for Art Journal.
Death of Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, President of Royal Academy. He is succeeded by Sir Francis Grant, RA. Among Foley's apprentices is Mary Grant, niece of the new President of RA, underlying concept of Foley the Equalitarian.
Another of Foley's apprentices is an unnamed deaf and dumb sculptor who made bust of Sir George Hodgkinson's wife.

1866

JHF finishes 'Colonel Bruce' aka Robert Bruce, son of Lord Elgin of the Marbles and uncle of Mary Grant. Bruce was a friend of the Prince of Wales who died of fever in 1862.

JHF working on 'Lord Herbert of Lea'. Lord Herbert's widow, Elizabeth, meets Foley's neighbour Florence Nightingale, in Rome and they became friends
JHF wins the Daniel O'Connell commission (Oct)
JHF's 'Sir Henry Marsh' unveiled at College of Physicians in Dublin (Nov 7).
Edward Foley exhibits 'Helen of Troy'.
Art Journal published engraving of work by Artlett.
Clad in long grey coat and black silk cap, JHF now had an apprentice in the form of 19-year-old pupil, Thomas Brock (1847 - 1922) as one of perhaps 20 assistants or pupils at his Osnaburgh studio. Brock duly passes through schools of the Royal Academy and wins all honors. Brock went on to design the Imperial Memorial to Queen Victoria and was knighted by her grandson, George V.

1867

Model of JHF's 'Daniel O'Connell' exhibited in Dublin's City Hall, but only main figure and frieze completed by the time of JHF's death 7 years later. Bronze statue of 'Lord Herbert of Lea'unveiled at war Office in London (June 1) - The Times later deem it one of his less good works.
Death of Carlo Marochetti leaves vacancy for Prince Consort's sculpture. Marochetti had planned an equestrian figure of Albert but this was rejected. On 4th December 1867, Queen Victoria's Royal carriage again visited Foley's studio, partially to check on his progress with 'Colonel Bruce', but also to see whether he might now be suitable for the role of chief sculptor for the Albert Memorial. Foley was already designing "Asia" for the corner of the 'Albert Memorial'. It was considered an embarrassment because of the elephant. When asked to select which of the four groups he would like to make, Foley replied "Leave me any; I don't mind which". In her Journal that evening, the Queen wrote: 'Foley has fine things in his studio and his clay model for dear Albert's statue for Cambridge is remarkably fine and dignified and he seemed to understand so readily and intelligently any little remark I had to make....Mr. Foley is a man of much talent'. Foley's proposed statue, fitting with Scott's brief that it be seated, ultimately met with Royal approval. He was to be 'handsomely remunerated' from the Queen's 'private purse'.
December was a good month for Foley. The Times also noted JHF's visit to Dublin and that his designs for statues for 'O'Connell' and 'Sir Benjamin Guinness' had both met with "warmest approval" from their respective committees.
Death of 3rd Earl of Rosse. His widow commissions a statue from JHF, finally unveiled in 1876.
Death of Lord Dunkellin, son of Earl of Clanrickard. JHF duly commissioned to execute his statue in bronze.
Death of Michael Faraday, chemist and scientist. JHF commissioned to sculpt him. John Leighton, a close friend of Foley, recalled him sketching on the back of a letter a design for Faraday clad in apron, bib an cap on head while travelling out to Hampstead in a Hansom cab. Unfortunately the Committee demanded Faraday be kitted in the robes of the DCL which Leighton deemed ill-suited because Faraday was the last man to "pose" and only wore those robes once in his lifetime out of reluctant deference to the Emperor Napoleon who he was to meet at that time.
Fenian Rising in Ireland.
Diamonds discovered in South Africa.
Second Reform Act passed. In the build up to the Reform Act, Lord Dunkellin, Lord Weymss and Bob Lowe move amendment substituting rating for rental which ultimately brings the Gladstone- Lord Russell government down and Disraeli-Derby take power.

1868

'Edmund Burke' bronze erected in front of Trinity.
'Colonel Bruce'
erected in Dunfermline.
JHF is by now perhaps showing the sadness referred to by Atkinson "for then the expression of his countenance betrayed the suffering he experienced in contemplating the unfinished works, while he was all too conscious that the shades were falling and the night approaching wherein no man can work".
Marochetti's Albert and Victoria Tomb, Frogmore, with effigies of Albert (1868)

1869

JHF's marble statue of 'Sir Dominic Corrigan', former President for Royal College of Physicians, unveiled at College of Surgeons (June 3rd).
JHF writes letter expressing delight at commission to sculpt Lord Gough, thus aligning himself with imperialists (August 25).
Edward Foley exhibits 'Oenone'.
Thomas Brock is married. He has eight children.
Suez Canal opened in Egypt.

1870

JHF's bronze statue of 'Earl of Carlisle', former Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, unveiled in private ceremony in People's Garden of Phoenix Park.
Edward Foley exhibits 'Penelope'.
Foley's 'Asia' is installed at the Albert Memorial
20,000 show up for unveiling of a statue to Smith O'Brien.

1871

JHF seized with attack of pleurisy after exposure to cold while working on Asia, sitting on wet clay for hours on ends modelling the bust.
Doctor (Sir) William Jenner ordered him to take rest at Hastings. At seaside JHF composes song, "Here We Must Part".
JHF returns to Hampstead "where he had some time before brought a house with a fine conservatory and garden". Continues to work from here for next three years. Atkinson suggests that, unable to use a chisel, he simply remains seated while directing is assistants. Brock is close at hand.
Stanley finds Livingstone in Africa.

1872

The monument of Prince Albert is erected on Leinster Lawn of RDS in Dublin.
In July 1872, the Albert Memorial in London was thrown open to the public - 'the gilded cross crowned the dwindling galaxies of superimposed angels, the four continents in white marble stood at the four corners of the base' but Albert's statue would not be completed until 1875.
Thomas Brock is now chief assistant at JHF's London studio, carrying the burden of the work - two Prince Alberts (the colossal bronze for the Albert Memorial, and a marble for Cambridge),'Canning' for Calcutta, 'Jackson' for the USA, 'Michael Faraday', 'William Rathbone' for Liverpool, 'Rosse' for Birr and 'Grattan', 'Gough', 'Stokes', 'Guinness' and the 'O'Connell Monument' for Dublin. One imagines a certain degree of stress.
Death of Richard Westmacott the Younger, former Professor of Sculpture at the RA. (April 19)

1873

Permission granted to Dr WJ Monatt of Outram Statue Committee for temporary placing of JHF's equestrian statue of 'Sir James Outram' on space between Athenaeum and United Service Clubs "in order to show it to the citizens of London preparatory to its shipment for Calcutta". (March)
'Ulick, Lord Dunkellin', bronze statue, erected in Eyre Square, Galway, looking towards the County Club.
Edward Foley exhibits 'The Morning Star'.
Death of Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, RA.
Asante War occurs on the Gold Coast.
In the Police report published in The Times on Tuesday, Dec 16, 1873, there is a perhaps coincidental reference to a sculptor called John Edward Foley of 24 Tolmer's Square off the Hampstead Road who was charged on a warrant with defrauding two cabmen of their lawful fares. See that reference for further details but there's little more on Foley himself.
On Monday Dec 15th 1873, Foley's marble bust of the late Sir Charles Barry formally presented to the Royal Institute of British Architects as a gift by Mr. J.L.Wolfe, an intimate friend of Sir Charles.

image title

In May 1874, Foley's
brother Edward, threw
himself into a canal in
London and was drowned.
John Henry Foley was
himself dead witin a few
months. Above is one of
his earlier works, entitled
The Elder Brother.

1874

On Saturday May 2nd 1874 the President (Sir Francis Grant) and Council of the Royal Academy gave their anniversary banquet at Burlington House. The galleries were opened at 2 o'clock and many of the extremely distinguished guests arrived early to inspect the works. The Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) headed the guests and John Henry Foley was also amongst them. It was clearly a huge occasion and perhaps Edward Foley felt glum at being NFI'd. On Monday 4th, The Times carried a whole page to the event.

One week later, The Times of Tuesday May 12, 1874 carried the following report:

SUICIDES: Yesterday Dr. Lankester held an inquest in the Crown-dale Road on the body of Mr. Edward Foley, aged 59, sculptor, brother of Mr. John Foley, RA. It appeared that for the last 12 months the deceased had been very unwell, and would go out for a walk before going to bed. He was in pecuniary difficulties, and, though assured by his doctor to the contrary, believed that his illness was incurable. On Saturday night, about half-past 10 o'clock, he went out for a walk, his spirits being much depressed. At 2 o'clock on Sunday morning a young man named Pain saw him sitting on the ornamental rail of the Canal-bridge in the Albert-road, and in a few minutes heard a splash. He raised an alarm, but before the deceased could be got out of the water, he was dead. A constable said that had the drags been kept at the bridge instead of at the tavern the deceased might have been saved, as he heard the deceased cry for help. The Coroner remarked upon the dangerous character of the bridge as offering temptations to suicide, and said that if proper remedies were taken to procure sleep many suicides would be prevented, as in this instance the deceased repented of his rash act; had the railing of the bridge been higher, he might have reflected beforehand. Verdict: "Suicide while in a state of temporary insanity".

On May 22nd, Foley's statue of 'Outram, the Avenger of Lucknow', was unveiled in Calcutta. Many considered it to be his finest work. Stonewall Jackson was also completed at about this time.

In July 1874, the Metropolitan Board of Works reported that JHF has visited the proposed site for the statue of 'John Stuart Mill' at the Victoria Embankment near the Temple and approved the same.

On Saturday August 1st 1874, one of Foley's pupils - FJ Williamson - became centre of attention when his acclaimed Sicilian marble statue to 'Dr. Joseph Priestly' was unveiled in Birmingham to mark the centenary of the discovery of oxygen.

The Death of John Henry Foley

JHF was taken ill at wedding party on August 4th. He died on the morning of Thursday August 27th 1874 at his home, The Priory, Hampstead where, acc. Atkinson, he had "resided for some time". The following day The Times wrote: "The public will learn with great regret the death of Mr. J. H. Foley, RA., sculptor. An attack of pleuritic effusion, commencing about three weeks past, and rapidly followed by great prostration of general system, terminated fatally at a quarter to 11 yesterday morning".

On August 28th 1874, the Lord Mayor of London called in to see the Queen at Balmoral. She had been enjoying a calm day with her daughter, Princess Beatrice, Lady Abercromby and the Hon. Frances Drummond. He relayed to her the news of the death of Mr. Foley and she responded, according to the Court Circular of The Times, "with great regret". The article noted that, following Baron Marochetti's death, JHF had been "commissioned by Her Majesty to execute the great statue of the Prince Consort for the National Monument in Hyde Park; the model of which he had successfully completed, and was busy engaged in superintending the casting in bronze nearly up to the period of his lamented death'.

It would be worth checking the Queen's diary for this day - and indeed those of the Lord Mayor and his wife.

The Times originally announced that his funeral was to take place at Highgate, as requested by JHF himself. However, on Wednesday 2nd September, the paper was obliged to print new details. "In consequence of later arrangements the funeral of the late Mr J.H. Foley, RA, will be solemnised at St Paul's cathedral on Friday morning next, at 12 o'clock, and not at Highgate this day, as previously mentioned".

image title

Foley was buried in the crypt of St. Paul's
Cathedral, a rare privilege for a man of his
modest background. The above medal was
carved by his assistant, Birch.

Foley's Funeral

John Henry Foley, RA, was buried on Friday 4th September in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral. His desire to be buried in Highgate was overruled. The funeral earned another two inches in The Times who reported on the arrangements. 'The body will be removed from the Priory, Hampstead, where he died", the paper announced, "and go to the deceased's residence in Osnaburgh-street, where the chief mourners will join in the funeral procession. Thence the cortège will go directly to Burlington-house, Piccadilly, where the Royal Academicians who intend to pay their last tribute of respect to his memory will join the procession on its way to St. Paul's. From Piccadilly the procession will pass along Regent-street, by Pall Mall and the Strand, direct to the Cathedral. The funeral service is not to be choral, and ultimately the eminent sculptor's remains will be placed near those of Barry and other distinguished Academicians, architects, and painters, in the south east corner of the Cathedral'.

Sure enough, at noon the following day, John Henry Foley was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral. The service, which was without choristers or organ, was read by the Rev. Canon Lightfoot, assisted by the Rev. Mr Webber and others of the cathedral clergy. Many brother artists had come from far and near to stand by Foley's grave; there was a large number of relatives and friends, so that the choir of the Cathedral was almost filled by the gathering of mourners. Among them were many ladies, several of whom brought wreaths and laid them upon the oak coffin. The following well-known sculptors, artists and literary men were present, either as mourners following the coffin, or occupying seats in the choir - Mr. J Durham, ARA; Mr John bell; Mr Weekes, RA; Mr. Barry, RA; Sir John Gilbert, ARA; Sir William Boxall, RA; Mr. EW Cooke, RA; Mr Charles Landseer, RA; Mr. Thomas Landseer, ARA; Mr. Thornycroft; Mr M. Noble; Mr. Cave Thomas; Mr. George Cruikshank, and Mr. SC Hall. 'While Canon Lightfoot read the first part of the service, the coffin, covered with a black velvet pail, rested at the entrance of the choir. Preceded by the clergy, and followed by the mourners, it was then carried to the altar steps and lowered at the proper time to the crypt through an opening in the pavement, which was covered with black cloth, as at the funeral of Landseer. Being without music of any kind, the service seemed silent and dreary, but at least John Foley's burial did not want the tribute which all must covet - namely, the heartfelt sorrow of many friends'.

The following Monday, Mr. Woolner, ARA, asked The Times to include the names of himself, T. Wells, RA, and T.O.Barlow, ARA, among those RA members who attended the funeral. "Mr. Woolner adds that only absence from England prevented many members from paying a last respect to their distinguished brother". On September 17th, Sir Gilbert Scott declared that he too had been out of England and esteemed Foley "as both a friend and an artist".

An Obituary

Someone from The Athenaeum secured a full length obituary on page 5 of The Times the following Monday - September 7th 1874. The author lamented the death of a man "in the fullness of professional success and in what is, artistically speaking, the prime of his life, for a sculptor at 56 years of age has lost none of his powers by the course of time, and has gained all that can be expected to accrue to him by means of long practice and ample experience". He highlighted the great acclaim bestowed on his last most important work placed before the public, namely the Outram charger. He declared the death of a sculptor of such great skill to be a "national loss, for power to produce works so large and in so grand a style is very rare". They praised his "careful and scholarly" work, "good, honest and intelligent workmanship" and "through sense of style". "That his workmanship was faultless we do not, of course, assert; but that it was generally that of a learned, accomplished and conscientious artist no one will deny". They bestowed equal praise on the works he personally undertook as they did on those carried out "by other hands labouring under his direction". They felt he was more aptly described as "figure maker" than "sculptor". They also claimed Foley's understanding of the technique and logic of his art as invaluable in age when "the popular fancy - call it 'the fashion' - runs strongly in favour of picturesque statues and busts which, whatever may be their other merits, are anything but monumental". The author's surprising outburst against the "popular fancy favouring fallacious statuary" goes on to warn that "we are compelled to say that the conditions of current sculptures and the prospects of future art of that order are not exhilarating to the critic who cares to look ahead of his day".

Foley was not yet two days in the ground and already he was being hailed as a hero of the old guard. Even The Times describes his fall out with the RA as "some not very clearly-explained dissatisfaction with regard to the action of the Royal Academicians in a certain case". On account of this, Foley "persistently refused to contribute to the annual Exhibition, or take any part in the conduct of the institution of which he was a member. So strong was his feeling on this point that no one would have been surprised to hear that he had ceased to be a member of the Academy". That said, he did take dinner with them all a week before his brother's death. Nonetheless, The Times, continues, "More than ten years have elapsed since he sent anything to the Exhibition. We know that remonstrance's on the part of his brothers have been mad to Foley on this subject, and we have been informed that explanations were requested from him, and promises of satisfaction offered to the artist who conceived himself aggrieved if he could establish his case. We do not know what results followed these proposals, but hope they were in a way to bear fruit at the next exhibition, so that the scandal arising from the first sculptor-member of the Academy refusing to contribute might cease".

On Friday September 11th 1874, The Times made a passing reference to the O'Connell statue, acknowledging that the sculptor's death would still further delay the completion of "a work which has been carried on with singular tardiness". The paper acknowledged the laying of the foundation stone two years earlier but expressed surprise that, to date, only the pedestal had actually been finished, "although the preparations for the casting of the statue were in an advanced state". They also noted that "a sum of £2000 was paid to Mr. Foley on account an d there is still in hand a find of £8000 or £9000 besides the accumulation of interest". In October there was a meeting of the O'Connell Monument Committee, under the presidency of Alderman McSwiney, which - though poorly attended - resolved to write to Foley's representatives again "pressing for a reply to a communication sent to them three weeks ago, to which no answer was returned". Sir J. Grey also proposed getting an account from the Bank of Ireland of the money lodged to credit the fund. The Committee resolved to meet again to plan the centenary celebration of the "Liberator".

The Will

JHF's Final Will provides for 'his widow and two unmarried sisters' (Atkinson). He also 'devised to the trustees of the Artist's Benevolent Fund the property available after the life interest had expired'. He instructs GF Teniswood, one of his executors, that "the casts of his noble statues, magnificent groups and monumental relieve" from his studio be bequeathed to Dublin "in the proud desire of forming a gallery of his productions in his native city, and within the walls of that institution (ie: the Royal Dublin Society) to which he was indebted for his first art-teachings". Foley's brother Charles wrote to the O'Connell committee on 10 October 1874, offering to complete the statue. He also unsuccessfully challenged Foley's Will - see Teniswood versus Foley, The Times, 4, 5 and 6 November 1875.

Foley's statue Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness was cast by R. Mansfield in 1874 and unveiled in 1875.

1875

A posthumous exhibition of Foley's works is hosted at the Royal Academy.

According to John Sankey, twelve major works were in Foley's studio when he died, of which only two (Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness and Stonewall Jackson) were complete. Teniswood and Brock (Foley's chief assistant since 1870/1) agreed on an informal division of labour - Teniswood handled the correspondence and the money, while Brock was entirely responsible for the sculptural work. This worked well enough at first - Guinness and Jackson were exhibited at the Royal Academy and then despatched to Dublin and America. The Illustrated London News prasied the 'Jackson' for its 'thoroughly soldier-like carriage and physique, the sagacity and indication of heroic capabilities and fortitude'; it was unveiled in Richmond, Virginia, on 12th October.

The statue of Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness was erected in the yard of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, and probably unveiled by the Lord Mayor.

Meanwhile Thomas Brock undertook the delicate task of organising the casting, assembly, chaising and installlation of the Prince Consort's statue under its starry canopy at the Albert Memorial. As Lytton Strachey noted in his biography of 'Queen Victoria' (Chapter VII, Widowhood), Foley's design had been somewhat restricted on one particular by Gilbert Scott, who oversaw the whole project. ' "I have chosen the sitting posture," Mr. Scott said, "as best conveying the idea of dignity befitting a royal personage." Mr. Foley ably carried out the conception of his principal. "In the attitude and expression," he said, "the aim has been, with the individuality of portraiture, to embody rank, character, and enlightenment, and to convey a sense of that responsive intelligence indicating an active, rather than a passive, interest in those pursuits of civilisation illustrated in the surrounding figures, groups, and relievos... To identify the figure with one of the most memorable undertakings of the public life of the Prince--the International Exhibition of 1851--a catalogue of the works collected in that first gathering of the industry of all nations, is placed in the right hand." The statue was of bronze gilt and weighed nearly ten tons. It was rightly supposed that the simple word "Albert," cast on the base, would be a sufficient means of identification'.

Unfortunately Teniswood got carried away in his dealings with Buckingham Palace and managed to give the impression that he, rather than Brock, had completed the Albert statue. Hence the Art Journal (1877 p 120) gave the credit to Teniswood and numerous art historians, including Benedict Read, have perpetuated this story and even concluded that Teniswood must have worked in Foley's studio. As it happens, Teniswood was a minor painter who exhibited 'two or three rather gloomy oil paintings' (Sankey) at the Royal Academy. 'He was not a sculptor, knew virtually nothing about sculpture and never worked in Foley's studio in any capacity. He was a friend of Foley and was one of three executors named by Foley in his Will. The others (Radford and Egley) declined to act, so Teniswood became the sole executor'. Brock was naturally furious and threatened to pull the plug on Teniswood if, in future, he did not explain the true position. Teniswood duly gave Brock credit for the Faraday and O'Connell statues and, to make matters even clearer, Brock exhibited elements of the Gough and Rathbone statues at the Royal Academy under his own name in 1877/8. His name also appears jointly with Foley's on the Canning statue in Calcutta.


When the Royal Academy met for their annual banquet in May 1875, Sir Francis Grant, President of the Royal Academy, concluded a series of high-profile speeches by the likes of the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Benjamin Disraeli. Matthew Arnold and Sir John Lubbock, with a short ode to Foley. He described the sculptor's loss as "irreparable", the more so because he was "taken from us in the height of his fame (cheers), at a time of life when we had hoped the country would have been enriched by his works for years to come. (Hear, hear)." he directed his audience to behold again the fine bronze statue of Lord Hebert outside the War Office and spoke of some works in the RA's Exhibition. "One I desire specially to allude to, a full-length marble statue of the illustrious Prince Consort, an admirable likeness, and a work replete with grace, dignity and refinement. (Cheers) Foley was a great sculptor and his early death a national loss. (Cheers)." The Lord Chancellor secured permission for the site from the Corporation on February 16th. The Times noted that there was "unfortunately, still remaining among us a remnant of the Young Ireland party, which strives to inflame the minds of the working classes against everything English and to organise mobs where there is a chance of defeating a good object in which men of different parties are united". It noted that this element had got "some footing in the corporation" and that its leaders had managed to pack the galleries of the City Hall with "a most disorderly and disloyal mob" who displayed "outrageously offensive" behaviour and "repeated threats" to the Lord Mayor.

1876

'Grattan' unveiled by Home Rulers on College Green (Jan 6).
'3rd Earl of Rosse
' unveiled at St. John's Place, Birr, by his widow, Lady Mary Rosse (March 21).
Christians are massacred in Turkish Bulgaria.
Disraeli becomes Earl of Beaconsfield.
First telephone call made by Alexander Graham Bell.

1877

'William Rathbone' unveiled in Sefton Park, Liverpool (Jan).
Foley's studio at 10 Osnaburgh Street is taken over by Brock in 1877.
Queen Victoria made Empress of India.
First Wimbledon tennis championships are played.
"Prince Consort" engraved by Roffe in Art Journal.

image title

Foley's statue of Field Marshal Sir Hugh Gough was to have a
troubled fate. Unveiled in Dublin's Phoenix Park before a young
Churchill, the statue was persistently sabotaged by Republicans
until removed from the country for safe-keeping in the 1950s.

1878

Foley's 'Prince Consort' unveiled at Cambridge by Prince of Wales (March 9).
Foley's 'General Sir Hugh Gough' statue is cast in bronze from metal of guns taken in Sikh campaign. (Oct 15) Statue commenced by Foley, completed by Brock. The horse is the same model as that used for the 'Hardinge' statue.

1879

The full-sized models of 'Hampden', 'Selden', a 'Parsee Dignitary', 'Youth at a Stream', 'Ino & Bacchus', 'The Mother', 'Egeria' and a number of portrait busts were discreetly installed in the hall of Leinster House.
Outbreak of Zulu War; British humiliated at Isandhlwana.
Britain invades Afghanistan.

1880

Unveiling of Lord Gough (Feb 21).
The first Boer War.

1881

Boers defeat British in Boer War. Wales bans drinking on Sunday. Parnell is sent to prison in Ireland

1882

O'Connell Monument completed by Brock and unveiled by Lord Mayor of Dublin. (Aug 15).

1886

Riot in Galway in support of the Woodford prisoners, takes Eyre Square, denounces Earl of Clanrickard and threatens to blow up statue of the Earl's brother, 'Lord Dunkellin'. Meeting dispersed by police. (Sept)

1969

The O'Connell Monument in Dublin was bombed - see Irish Times 25-7 December 1969.

1986

The statue of Lord Gough was sold to Robert Guinness by the Irish Government. The sale was reported in The Irish Times on 10 September 1986. It is now in the grounds of Chillingham Castle, Northumberland

2003

Ken Livingston proposes replacing Behnes' Havelock and Napier in Trafalgar Square with something "more relevant".
Sinn Fein demand removal of statue of 'Prince Albert' from Leinster House to Australia. (May)

2006

Loopline Films recruits Turtle Bunbury to work as researcher and scriptwriter on upcoming documentary, 'John Henry Foley - Sculptor of the Empire'.

Appendix A 1862 Subscription List for O'Connell Monument

The Subscription List for the O'Connell Monument opened in 1862. Two years later a competition was announced but none of the entries met with the approval of the committee. After a second failure through competition, it was decided to ask John Henry Foley (1818-74), the leading sculptor of the day and who was then working on the Albert Memorial in London. He died before it was completed and his assistant finished the work. The monument is in three parts, surmounted by the figure of O'Connell. The base is heavy limestone with four winged figures representing Patriotism, Fidelity, Courage and Eloquence. Above this is a drum surrounded by figures representing O'Connell's labours and triumphs. Foleys early fanciful works have some charming qualities; but he will probably always be best remembered for the workmanlike and manly style of his monumental portraits. He died at Hampstead, London on the 27th of August 1874, and on the 4th of September was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral. He left his models to the Royal Dublin Society, his early school, and a great part of his property to the Artists Benevolent Fund.

Appendix B - Thomas Brock

"Twenty years ago his Irish warmth had attracted around it about twenty assistants or pupils, who formed a group of active workers, that school of Foley of which we hear so often. These men were scattered at the death of the master in 1874; some of them have passed away, one or two of them have taken a start in a new direction. The majority retain the tradition of Foley in a rather tame and mediocre form. The man among them all who has asserted the greatest originality and has become most widely known as an independent artist is one of the youngest of them, Mr. Thomas Brock, A. R. A" from Living English Sculptors. II.

Brock's group The Moment of Peril was followed by The Genius of Poetry, Eve, and other ideal works that mark his development. His busts, such as those of Lord Leighton and Queen Victoria; his statues, such as Sir Richard Owen and Dr Philpott, bishop of Worcester ; his sepulchral monuments, such as that to Lord Leighton in St Pauls Cathedral, a work of singular significance, refinement and beauty. In 1901, Brock was awarded the commission to execute the vast Imperial Memorial to Queen Victoria in front of Buckingham Palace. The colossal equestrian statue of Edward the Black Prince was set up in the City Square in Leeds in 1903. He also sculpted the statue of Queen Victoria in the grounds of Belfast City Hall. Also in the grounds is his memorial to the victims of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Brock was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1883 and full member in 1891. Brock was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1883 and full member in 1891. he died on August 22nd 1922. No. 10 Osnaburgh Street, St Pancras, NW London A few metres west of the junction between Great Portland Street and Euston Road, Osnaburgh Street enters Marylebone Road from the north, while Bolsover Street leaves the southbound arm of Great Portland Street and runs south.

Appendix C - Mr and Mrs S.C. Hall

In London during the 1840s, he befriended Samuel Carter Hall , editor of the Art Journal, and his wife, the novelist and travel-writer Anna Maria Hall nee Fielding (1800-1881). SC Hall later recalled their friendship in his "Recollections" aka Retrospect of a Long Life, from 1815 to 1883 (London, 1883). They were a famously happy couple but had one child Louisa who did not survive childhood. "Their efforts to help others were persistent and generous. They worked hard to promote temperance in drinking. She was ardent in the support of women's rights. She helped found and wrote in support of a hospital for consumptives, the Governesses' Institute, the Home for Decayed Gentlewomen, the Nightingale Fund; contributed special efforts to special charities; worked indefatigably in fund-raising efforts for this, that, and the other good work. In all these her husband gave encouragement and support, as she gave encouragement to him." Samuel Carter Hall (May 9, 1800 - March 11, 1889), Irish journalist, was born at Waterford, the son of an army officer. In 1821 he went to London, and in 1823 became a parliamentary reporter. He studied law in 1824, though he never practised. From 1826 to 1837 he was editor of a great number and variety of public prints, and in 1839 he founded and edited The Art Journal. His exposure of the trade in bogus Old Masters earned for this publication a considerable reputation. Hall resigned the editorship in 1880, and was granted a Civil List pension for his long and valuable services to literature and art. Anna Maria was one of the most prolific Victorian writers for children, best known for such moral tales as Grandmamma's Pockets (1849) and for her editorship of the annual, the Juvenile Forget Me Not (1828-1837). She left Ireland aged 15 but used her home country as the theme for several of her most successful books, such as Sketches of Irish Character (1829), Lights and Shadows of Irish Character (1838), Marian (1839), and The Whiteboy (1845). In 1870, she produced Midsummer Eve: A Fairytale of Loving and Being Loved (London: J. C. Hotten, 1870). Other works are The Buccaneer, and Midsummer Eve, a fairy tale, and many sketches in the Art Journal, of which her husband, Samuel Carter Hall (1800 - 1889), was editor. With him she also collaborated on a work entitled Ireland, its Scenery, Character, etc. Mrs. Hall was a prolific writer; her descriptive talents were considerable, as also was her power of depicting character. She wrote some 50 titles, mostly now forgotten. Unhappily a relentless and ever-present determination to edify her readers limited her audience. Her husband was a writer on art (ballads, sculpture, etc.) who wrote Retrospect of a Long Life, from 1815 to 1883 (London, 1883) in which he describes her very well.

Additional Notes

7 Osnaburgh Street was where the FABIAN SOCIETY was founded in 1884.

The photographer James Grant Macandrew had studios at 44 Regent Street W. (1868-74), 31Osnaburgh Street (1869-77) and 11 Osnaburgh Street (1878-82).

Bibliography


Graves, A, 'The Royal Academy - A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and their Work from its Foundation in 1869 to1904' (London 1905).
Monkhouse, W. Cosmo, 'The Works of J. H. Foley' (1875).
Murphy, Paula, 'John Henry Foley', Irish Arts Review Vol. 11 1995, p.155.
Read, Benedict, 'Victorian Sculpture' (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982).
Sankey, John, 'Thomas Brock and the Critics - an examination of Brock's place in the New Sculpture movement'.Sankey's thesis was written (under Benedict Read's supervision) at Leeds. It has not yet been published but there are copies in the Leeds University Library, the Henry Moore Institute (Leeds) and the Sculpture Dept. Library at the V&A. One of its main aims was to kill the myth that Teniswood was responsible for completing Foley's works.
Stocker, Mark, 'Brock, Sir Thomas (1847-1922)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford.
Strickland, 'The Dictionary of Irish Artists'
Whelan, Yvonne, 'Monuments, power and contested space— the iconography of Sackville Street (O'Connell Street) before Independence (1922)' (School of Environmental Studies, University of Ulster at Coleraine).
The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)
General Jackson's Statue, by John Bennett. This article appeared under the same title in 'Crossfire', the magazine of the ACWRT (UK) no. 75 - December 2004.
British Sculpture, 1850-1914. Exhibition catalogue, The Fine Art Society, 148 New Bond Street London Wl. 30th September - 30th October 1968, no. 37. The Century; a popular quarterly. / Volume 31, Issue 1, Nov 1885] by Edmund Gosse, Page(s) 39-50.
See also: J.T.Turpin's two articles in the Dublin Historical Record Vol XXXII - no.2 March 1979 on Foley's career and no 3 June 1979 cataloguing all his works.
Ben Read's article in The Connoisseur no.186 ( August 1974).



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