Subscribe for Unlimited Access to Turtle’s History Quarter.

Includes content from Vanishing Ireland, Easter Dawn, Dublin Docklands, The Irish Pub, Maxol and many more, as well as Waterways Ireland, the Past Tracks project and hundreds of historical articles on Irish families, houses, companies and events.

John Henry Foley, RA (1818-1874)

John Henry Foley. Illustration: Derry Dillon

JOHN HENRY FOLEY, RA (1818-1874)

John Henry Foley was probably the most influential sculptor in Irish history. The Dubliner’s breath-taking equestrian masterpieces strode across city squares and parklands from Dublin to Kolkatta to Virginia. His best-known Irish works include the towering monument of Irish nationalist icon Daniel O’Connell that dominates central Dubln, and the troika of Grattan, Goldsmith and Burke outside Trinity College. Queen Victoria personally requested Foley create the statue of her beloved Prince Albert for the Albert Memorial in London. When Foley died, she decreed that he be buried in Westminster Abbey

Few of those who attended his funeral knew about his h.umble 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 statues of Prince Albert and O’Connell, as well as the statue of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson in Richmond, Virginia.

The legacy of Foley’s imperialism continued to stir up controversy long after his death. Some of his works were destroyed – General Gough, blown sky-high in Phoenix Park; Lord Dunkellin, heaved into the River Corrib; his equestrian statues in Kolkatta, dismantled after Indian independence. Others continue to draw criticism, such as his statue of Prince Albert, which stands outside Leinster House.

Turtle was closely involved as both historical researcher and co-scriptwriter on Sé Merry Doyle’s 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 premiered at the 20th Galway Film Fleadh and was applauded by the Sunday Independent as ‘a work that was not just well done, but that needed to be done’. The Sunday Business Post concurred that Doyle’s film had ‘put [Foley] in his proper place – on a pedestal – for that’s what he deserves’.

To mark the bicentenary of Foley’s birth in May 2018, Turtle and Sé teamed up with the OPW to host ‘Ireland Salutes John Henry Foley’, an afternoon of evocative film, insightful talks and succulent debate at Dublin Castle. Among the other speakers who gathered to consider Foley’s life and times were Dr Patrick Wallace, Dr Paula Murphy, Jason Ellis and Ronan Sheehan. See ‘Foley’s Asia’ for more, while there is also a chronology of Foley’s works here.

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, the late Nikki Gordon Bowe, Terence Dooley, Mario Corrigan, Terence Reeves-Smyth, Jeremy Black, Frank Columb, Denis Bergin, Dr Leon Litvack, Roy Foster, Hilary Finlay, Rebecca Jeffares (former chair of the St. Helen’s House Preservation Group), Gavan Woods and Charlotte Cousins (Senior Researcher – Parliamentary Affairs, Library & Research Service, Houses of the Oireachtas).

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.
General Gough bought Lough Cutra.
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’, to honour the one-armed commander. It is 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. Brigadier John Nicholson of Armagh, the Hero of Delhi, was a brutal maniac but he is considered a God by some Indians. There is still an expression to this day: “Who do you think you are? Nicholson?” See article in History Ireland, January 2019. Freddie Roberts (Bobs) was Nicholson’s number one fan. A granite obelisk (Nicholson’s obelisk or memorial), was erected in 1868 in the Margalla hills near Taxila as a monument to his valour. Anthony Kitchin may be related to the A. Kitchin who told people not to mess with the obelisk in 1911.
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.
Thomas Moore statue unveiled by Earl of Carlisle, who takes the opportunity to recommend that a statue of Oliver Goldsmith go up outside Trinity. Within a year, Foley had the commission. And when the time came for him to launch Goldsmith, Lord Carlisle seized the opportunity to propose a statue of Burke to accompany him!

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.

1859: ‘Statute to Oliver Goldsmith. —The proposal the Earl of Carlisle to erect a statue to the memory of Oliver Goldsmith, Dublin, has met with a hearty response, and sufficient funds have now been subscribed to authorise the committee to give the commission for the work to Mr Foley, R.A. It is an essential part of the proposal of the Earl of Carlisle that the statue to be erected should be on such a site as would serve