Turtle Bunbury

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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).


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


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


Act of Union spells end of golden age for Dublin.


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



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.


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.


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


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.


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)


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.


Birth of Florence Nightingale.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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".


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.


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.


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).


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


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 -


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 to connect the memory of the poet in a particular manner with the university in which he received his education, while at the same time it should be open to the view of the inhabitants of Dublin. The site which has been selected perfectly fulfils these requirements. It is within the wall in front of the college, and is within view of the public.’ (Western Daily Press, 13 December 1859, p. 4)

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.


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.

November: Foley casts a one-off bronze statuette of Oliver Goldsmith. It bears neither the stamp of the foundry where it was made, nor Foley’s name, which marks it as an earlier cast to the Elkington and Co. bronzes. Its purpose was to win the approval of the committee behind the Goldsmith Statue, which had been obtained by the time the statuette made its public debut in the Alderman’s Court of the Mansion House, London, for the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in November 1860. [London Daily News, 9 November 1860, p.2.] Shortly afterwards it crossed to Dublin where it went on show at the Royal Irish Academy. * Foley’s ‘beautiful statue’ of Goldsmith appears to have returned to London by December 1860 when it was placed in a niche of the new hall at Mudie’s Circulating Library on New Oxford Street. [London Evening Standard, 18 December 1860, p.3.] In January 1861, ‘in consequence of the universal admiration’ it received, ‘that eminent sculptor [was] directed to commence the execution of the large statute.’ [Dublin Evening Mail , 23 January 1861, p. 4.] He duly set to work at his London studio on Osnaburgh Street, off Regent’s Park. The finished version had some subtle differences to the statuette, including a darker patina; some consider this diminutive prototype to be the fairer of the two. The latter was put on show at Thomas Cranfield’s gallery at 115 Grafton Street, and also went on show at the Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts, as well as an exhibition hosted by the RDS.[Irish Times, 25 July 1861, p. 2.] It was also shown at the International Exhibition, or Great London Exposition, of 1862; the Morning Post of 27 June 1862 observed, ‘Among the smaller works we may mention as specially deserving of notice the bronze of “Oliver Goldsmith” by Foley to be erected in Dublin’. The statuette was subsequently purchased by Se Merry Doyle, director of the film ‘John Henry Foley – Sculptor of the Empire’, and co-curator, with Turtle Bunbury, of ‘Ireland Salutes John Henry Foley’, an event held at Dublin Castle in 2018 to mark the bicentenary of Foley’s death birth

* ‘The Goldsmith Statue. —It may be interesting to state, that in one of the museum rooms of the Academy is placed the model approved by the committee for the statue of Oliver Goldsmith. The model, which is by Mr. Foley, an Irishman, represents the poet standing in easy and graceful attitude, with an open book, supported by his left hand, whilst in his right, which is placed by his side, is a pencil. The statue, which is to be about seven feet in height, is to occupy a pedestal in front of Trinity College, within the railings opposite College-green. It is understood that the committee want about 400/. to complete the amount which the statue will cost.’ The Evening Freeman, 13 November 1860, p.1.

Marochetti's bronze of 'Richard the Lionheart' erected outside House of Lords.

British Open Golf Championship established.

's "redshirts" capture Sicily & invade Italy.

Abraham Lincoln elected 16th President of USA


Jan: Foley’s marble Caractacus heads for the Egyptian Hall in the Mansion House, London.

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.

Jan: Foley's statuette of 'Oliver Goldsmith' goes on show at Thomas Cranfield’s Gallery, 115 Grafton Street, Dublin, in part to drum up more subscribers, earning much praise from Saunder’s Newsletter (30 January 1861, p.2) Queen Victoria and Prince Albert subscribed £100 to fund the work, as did Lord Carlisle. The total cost of the work was estimated at £1000. Among other subscribers was the polar explorer Sir Leopold McClintock. Two years earlier, he had led the party that discovered the fate of the Franklin Expedition. Among the scattered debris his men found on the ice were two books, a Bible and a copy of ‘The Vicar of Wakefield.’[McClintock and other subscribers listed at Dublin Evening Mail, 27 February 1861, p. 2].

[5] Of its appearance at the International Exhibition, or Great London Exposition, the Morning Post of 27 June 1861 observed, ‘Among the smaller works we may mention as specially deserving of notice the bronze of “Oliver Goldsmith” by Foley to be erected in 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.


Feb 22: Design for the Seal of the Confederate States of America, executed in silver. It bears a representation of Crawford’s statue of George Washington in Richmond, Virginia, which - it transpires - is highly visible from Foley’s statue of Stonewall Jackson.

The Dublin Albert Memorial Committee is set up to fund and find a location for the memorial to the Prince Consort. Several sites proposed by various groups before the statue was erected in Leinster Lawn. For more, contact Charlotte Cousins, Senior Researcher - Parliamentary Affairs, Library & Research Service, Houses of the Oireachtas, Dublin.

Cast of 'Ino and Bacchus' is at International Exhibition. Is that the one now at the RDS?



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.

July 1863: Foley statue of Oliver Goldsmith erected at Trinity College Dublin, unveiled in Jan 1864.

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.

July: Foley’s status as Irish-born but non-resident sculptor leads 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, July 1864: 125).

December: 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.

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.


Jan 3: A large crowd gathered outside the front gates of Trinity College Dublin to watch as the Earl of Carlisle, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, pulled a green drape off a hidden entity and revealed Foley's exquisitely chiselled 7ft 6-inch high statue of the poet, dramatist and essayist Oliver Goldsmith. It was Lord Carlisle who first proposed the idea of a Goldsmith statue and it was also his idea that it should stand outside of Trinity, where Goldsmith “studied” in the 1740s. Goldsmith was no model student; he learned how to drink, dress smart, sing Irish airs, play cards and master the flute, shortly before he was suspended for participating in a riot in London in 1747. Foley ignored such trivia, depicting a pensive, dignified Goldsmith holding an open book, a pencil to hand, with a fine neckerchief. Foley had been familiar with Goldsmith’s works since childhood when ‘The Vicar of Wakefield’ had been his favourite book.

‘In obedience to his Excellency’s command, the green drapery that concealed the statue was withdrawn, and the figure was displayed on its handsome pedestal, and in all its artistic beauty, amid enthusiastic applause. The pose of the figure [Goldsmith], the elegance of outline, and the dignity of expression so wonderfully expressed in the statue, whether viewed in its entirety or criticised in detail, commanded the admiration of all. The most fastidious taste failed discover a blemish.’ [Nottingham Journal, 8 January 1864, p. 3]

The original plaster model of Goldsmith by Elkington and Co. was held by the Birmingham City Art Gallery, later incorporated into Birmingham Museum. Badly damaged during a German air raid in 1940, it was subsequently destroyed. See 1860 for details of the maquette.

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.

Oct 10: 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. The whole of Cork took the day off in October 1864 when Foley’s statue of the Apostle of Temperance was unveiled at the foot of Patrick’s Bridge. Wearing a heavy coat and Hessian boots, Fr Mathew is represented in the act of blessing a multitude who have just taken the temperance pledge. The medal of the Temperance League is in his left hand. The event coincided with the centenary of his birth. When the Mayor called for ‘three cheers for Father Mathew,’ 100,000 voices replied.

'Mr. Foley, the sculptor, has just shipped, for erection in Bombay, a full-length marble statue of the late Lord Elphinstone, formerly governor of that city. It will be placed in the Town Hall, as companion to Chantry's Mountstuart Elphinstone.' (North Devon Journal - Thursday 13 October 1864)

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.


Stonewall Jackson Fund has enough money for JHF to get started.

'Goldsmith' bronze engraved by George J. Stodart for the 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.


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.


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.


April 21: John Henry Foley’s statue of Edmund Burke outside Trinity College, is unveiled from its green baize coating by the future king Edward VII (then Prince of Wales). The great orator stands tall, determined and eloquent, clad in gentlemanly clothing and sporting a fashionable Georgian braid. Foley based it on portraits of Burke by Sir Joshua Reynolds and John Opie, and a death mask.
'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)


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). Paid for by a combination of Gough's former soldiers and public subscription, it was originally to be sited at the junction of d'Olier Street and Westmoreland St, facing off Daniel O'Connell on the opposite side of the river, but as John McCullen observed, a dispute over this with nationalist leaders in the Corporation meant the statue was ultimately sent up to Phoenix Park. Gough was held in high regard by his soldiers and the people of Booterstown. When he died, the Stillorgan road was lined with people to St. Brigid's church where he is buried along with most of his family, the last one being in 1951. A Gough Society used to meet every year on his birthday to eat a meal and toast him. Foley actually uses the same mould he used for Hardinge’s horse, thus saving himself a few quid, presumably on the basis that nobody would ever know!
Edward Foley exhibits 'Oenone'.
Thomas Brock is married. He has eight children.
Suez Canal opened in Egypt.


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.


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.


April 19: Death of Richard Westmacott the Younger, former Professor of Sculpture at the RA.

June 7: A rowdy crowd turned out at Leinster Lawn to watch Prince Alfred, the then Duke of Edinburgh, inspect Foley’s statue of his father, the late Prince Albert, which was on Leinster Lawn. The work was incomplete - the four subordinate statues, representing Science, Labour, Agriculture and Art, were all ready but the bronze statue of Albert himself was still in London so they had to make do with the original model. Nor could they muster up the stone from Cork for the pedestal, prompting at least one frothy letter to the Freeman’s Journal on 10 June. The prince turned up shortly after a very string downpour of rain, and the crowd were so determined to push to the front that many dresses were apparently ripped and mudded before the police were obliged to ‘resort to active measures to keep back the zealous sight-seers.’ (Foley's Albert inspected in Dublin, Freeman's Journal - 7 June 1872.pdf)

June 9: (Sunday, 10:45pm): Foley’s statue of Prince Albert erected in the grounds of Leinster house was nearly blown up 3 days after a ceremonial inspection of it by the then Duke of Edinburgh. According to the minutes of the Royal Dublin Society (13 June 1872) this 'malicious attempt by some persons as yet unknown to destroy the Model Statue of the Prince Consort’ was ‘by the explosion of a large quantity of gunpowder at its base.’ As the Dundalk Democrat, and People's Journal remarked when they reported on the attack on Saturday 15 June 1872: 'Fortunately the ruffians were as ignorant of the art of blasting as their friends in the Park, and no mischief was done beyond a few pieces of the plaster of the model being blown off.’ By 'their friends in the Park’, they were referring to a simultaneous attempt to blow up Foley's statue of Lord Carlisle in the People’s Garden of Phoenix Park at approximately the same hour of the same night; a rocket was fired at it but missed. According to one suggestion, the caretaker of the National Gallery or a member of his family left the gate open.

July: 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.


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.


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, the eve of the Queen's birthday, Foley's statue of 'Outram, the Avenger of Lucknow', was unveiled in Calcutta by Lord Napier, governor of Madras. 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.

In his will, he left his plaster models to the RDS but I am not sure how many survive … the one’s I know of are:

Ino & the infant Bacchus.
The Mother.
Manockjee Nesserwanjee.
The Wanderer
There is a smaller model of Oliver Goldsmith - and possibly Burke? - in the RDS members restaurant ...

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

A SCULPTOR'S WILL. In the Probate division of the High Court of Justice yesterday, the case was concluded of Temswood v. Foley, and others intervening, in which the will of the late John Henry Foley, R.A., was in dispute. The will bequeaths one-half of his property to his wife for life and the other half to his two sisters for life, the wholeproperty going at their deaths to the Artists' Benevolent Society. A brother and sister of the deceased opposed the will on the ground that when deceased signed it he was not conscious, and some nephews and nieces also opposed it on similar grounds, and because it was at variance with the expressed wishes the deceased.From the evidence it appears that the will was signed at the lastmoment before he became unconscious; and the doubt was whetherhe was really aware of its contents, _ and did not intend to make some further provisions . Sir James Hannen said he would give his decision today. (Bradford Observer - Friday 05 November 1875)


'Grattan' unveiled by Home Rulers on College Green (Jan 6). Charles Stewart Parnell attends but he is not invited to speak, despite his family's historical links to Grattan.
'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.


'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.


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. Legend holds it has no tongue!


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.


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


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


The Central News states:— "In all probability the annual Convention of the National Land League of Great Britain will be held inDublin in August. It is understood that the reasons for this step are that during that month the Irish Industrial Exhibition will be opened, and the National Monument of O’Connell unveiled. It is also the centenary of the Dungannon Convention.” (Irish Times - Monday 12 June 1882)

O'Connell Monument unveiled in the pouring rain. (Aug 15). Foley’s elaborate monument to the Liberator is his best-known work in his native Dublin. The four winged Victories at the limestone base represent Patriotism, Fidelity, Courage and Eloquence while the figures surrounding the drum represents all classes ‘from the peer to the peasant’ who supported O’Connell, inclduing a bishop with his crozier, a workman with his hoe, and a bewigged lawyer; Foley himself is represented as a sculptor. O’Connell himself stands 14 foot in height, clad in his famous cloak and holding a roll of paper assumed to the Catholic Emancipation bill. In the front centre, the “Maid of Erin” points up at O’Connell, the liberator. There was much fury in nationalist circles that the commission went to Foley who, though Irish, was operating in London at this time. The subscription was started for his monument in 1862 “when O’Connell was still remembered primarily as the successful liberator of Catholic Ireland”; the granite foundation stone was laid in 1864. It was unveiled by Charles Dawson, Lord Mayor of Dublin (and a Home Rule supporter) on 15 August 1882, eight years after Foley’s death. The statue’s boots, some parts of the clothing on the frieze and the four winged Victories were completed by his apprentice Thomas Brock. The winged figures were not actually complete by the time of the unveiling and were added later. (Irish Times, 16 August 1882)


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)


John Hughes’ 15-foot statue of Queen Victoria unveiled at Leinster House, inscribed: 'Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India, erected by her Irish subjects.'


16 May: George V unveils the Albert Memorial in the presence of his cousin, Kaiser Wilhelm II. The king seizes the opportunity to bestow a knighthood on Thomas Brock who oversaw the completion of the project.


British soldiers use Daniel O'Connell for target practice (according to deductions by Jason Ellis, sculpture consverator who has studied the angles of the 29 bullets lodged in the statue); rebel marksmen likewise fire upon Nelson's Pillar.


The Dunkellin Monument Pulled Down and Drowned Amidst Plaudits of Thousands — Symbol of Landlord Tyranny — Extraordinary Occurrence

The Galway Observer, 27th May, 1922, by W. O'M.

On Thursday night a crowd numbering several thousands assembled inside the Square, and two men set to work sawing at the base of the life—size bronze monument of Lord Dunkellin, a brother of the late Lord Clanricarde. A rope was afterwards procured and fastened around the neck and with a strong pull, over it went amidst great applause.

This monument was erected in the year 1873, and subscribed for by the Clanricarde tenantry, a good deal of which it was stated, was obtained from the people by threats. When the monument disappeared in the rere, the pedestal was mounted by Mr W. J. Larkin, Mr S. J. Cremin, Secretary of the Transport Workers Union, and Mr P. Kiely, Secretary Galway Tenants' Association.

Mr Cremin made a lengthy speech, in which he said they went before the Urban Council that day and told them they would pull down that monument, which had just fallen to the ground. It was a symbol of landlord tyranny, and they intended to pull down every symbol of its kind in Ireland and put a monument of some good Irishman in its place. The speaker then went on to denounce the present members of the Urban Council, as also the new magistrates as not being representatives of the people, and being indifferent to the wants of the workers. There was no justice to be had for the workers in the new courts any more than the old courts. They had, he said, 375 houses in town certified by a doctor as unfit for human habitation, and they had sewerage running into the main water pipe. At the Urban Council meeting that day they wanted to see the schemes of the new houses which they said was drafted, but they were refused a look at them, and he would not be surprised if those schemes were drafted in the back parlour of some landlord in town. The tenants of Galway were not out to abolish all landlords, and would not stop till they had every tenant the owner of the roof over his head.

Mr Larkin also spoke.

After the meeting a rope was put round the neck of the statue and it was drawn by thousands through the main streets with band playing Irish reels and hornpipes and taken out to the pier head where it was thrown into the water.

The scene at the pier head was of the most extraordinary kind. The thousands who followed (and dragged the 'corpse') cheering wildly. As the 'body' was being hurried into the sea opposite Devils Head on the Claddagh side Mr Larkin stated that neither Gettysburg, Bodenstown or Greece had sufficient eloquence to panagerize such a "corpse" — "Let it go boys" said Mr Larkin "and may the devil and all rotten landlordism go with it." As the body was hurried into the sea, the band amidst a roar of joyous laugher, played "I'm for ever blowing bubbles."


Formerly on show at the Round Room in the Mansion House, the plaster casts of Prince Albert's Science, Agriculture, Arts and Industry by Foley were installed in the entrance hallway of what is now DIT Bolton Street, Dublin. It appears they were initially lent by the Mansion House as exhibits during one of two Civic Weeks. A memo in the Dublin City Archives from around 1930 states that the statues would probably be looked after better in the college rather than back in the Mansion House. However, there were a lot of broken parts on the plaster casts by 2018, as well as several layers of gloss paint put on by a CDVEC maintenance team.


Foley's statue of Prince Albert is moved from centre of Leinster Lawn in Dublin to its present, more discreet location.


William III statue on College Green blown up on Armistice Day.


May 13: Statue of George II blown up to coincide with Coronation.


Gough statue in Phoenix Park beheaded.


July 3: Foley's Gough statue blown up in Dublin. Kyle Leyden added in May 2018: 'After the 1957 explosion, the statue was put in storage at Kilmainham (where the Victoria Memorial had also ended up) until sold to Robert Guinness in 1986 by the government. When Phoenix Park was to be designated a world heritage site, there were moves to get it back on the basis that the government had no right to sell a statue raised by public subscription... Whyte’s sold a bronze head claiming it to be the decapitated head of Gough some years ago but given that the original was recovered from the Liffey and reattached this seems unlikely.'


25 July: Lord Carlisle statue blown up in Phoenix Park.


March: Nelson's Pillar blown up.


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


Edward Delaney's statue of Wolfe Tone at St Stephen's Green is blown up by loyalists.


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, without his sword.


Queen Victoria's statue by John Hughes is shipped to Australia.


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) He's still there.


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


Sé Merry Doyle’s film about John Henry Foley, ‘Sculptor of the Empire’ premieres at the Galway Film Fleadh. It was short-listed for Best Documentary at the 2008 Boston Irish Film Festival. The Sunday Independent hailed it as 'a work that was not just well done, but that needed to be done'. The Sunday Business Post concurred that it 'put Foley in his proper place - on a pedestal - for that’s what he deserves'.


Paula Murphy, an expert on Foley and Professor Emerita in the School of Art History and Cultural Policy, University College Dublin, is awarded the Royal Hibernian Academy’s Gold Medal.


Preperations underway to mark Foley's bi-centenary in 2018.

August: Authorities in Baltimore removed Confederate statues throughout the city early Wednesday morning, only a few days after the similar removal of monuments in Virginia sparked days of protests and violence. Meanwhile, the mayor of New Orleans announced the planned removal of Confederate statues from the city as they were also stirring up too many advocates of the Lost Cause. Foley's statue of Stonewall Jackson in Richmond, Virginia, survives the purge.

'Foley's Asia’ by Ronan Sheehan is being taught at 3rd level in post-colonial studies in some American universities. However, supporters of Lord Gough dispute his characterisation of the general as an opium warlord. One wrote to me in July 2018 stating: 'Lord Gough sent home letters to Frances and kept a journal while in China. He was appalled by the behavior of the soldiers. I believe that many soldiers were sent out but they were undisciplined and badly trained, and not part of Gough's force. Gough's orders were to combat with armed fighters, civilians were not to be harmed and he also forbade looting. He was so disillusioned afterwards that he retired. Times were different then but worse is going on now and nothing done about it because of vested interests.'



Feb 7: Oireachtas Petitions Committee addresses a petition seeking the removal of Prince Albert's statue from Leinster Lawn. The petition is rejected. The OPW-owned statue was erected in 1872 to commemorate Albert's role in the Great Exhibition of 1853, which was held at that site and showcased Ireland around the world. With thanks to Eunan O'Donnell who, objecting to the petition, outlined Prince Albert's reforming zeal in seeking the abolition of slavery worldwide, speaking out against child labour, his reforms in university education, his support for free trade, and influence on art, culture, and manufacturing.

May 18: The Irish Daily Mail writes: 'As we marks 200 years since the birth of the country’s most iconic and beloved sculptor … its Time to Put Foley on a Pedestal.’

May 20: To mark the bicentenary of Foley's birth, filmmaker Sé Merry Doyle and historian Turtle Bunbury teamed up with the OPW to host an afternoon of evocative film, insightful talks and succulent debate at Dublin Castle. The event included a screening of ‘Sculptor of the Empire’, a film by Sé Merry Doyle, plus talks by Jason Ellis (Face to Face: A Sculptor’s Response to Foley’s Statuary), Ronan Sheehan (Foley's Asia: Sculpture and Politics in Mecklenburgh Street), Dr Paula Murphy (J. H. Foley: Conservative - Controversial - Confederate!) and Dr Patrick Wallace (Foley & Hogan: Mistaken Identity in the Quest for Peter Purcell). One area where Jason and Paula Murphy concurred was that Foley was essentially considered a safe pair of hands for jobs such as Prince Albert and O’Connell. That same weekend, Jason Ellis was short-listed for the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland award, the RHA's biggest annual prize.

May 22: An Irishman's Diary by Brian Maye considers Foley's life.

May 24: Bicentenary of John Henry Foley's birth.

May 28: Whyte's auction two maquettes for Goldsmith and Burke.


March: Whyte's place Foley's original maquette of Oliver Goldsmith up for auction, but it does not sell, with accompanying text by Turtle in catalogue.

Sept 16: Whyte's auction miniature bronze of Ino, Queeen of Thebes, teasing her nephew Bacchus with a bunch of grapes. The sculptor is profiled in the Irish Independent in advance, along with high praise for Se's film.

Nov 27: Bonham’s sale of a sculpted white marble bust of Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness by Foley. Estimate: £ 20,000 - 30,000.



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.


Appendix D - Evidence of a familial link between the Foley family of Columbus, GA, USA and the Mathew family of Thomastown, Tipperary, Ireland (via Ed Jeep, Col USMC Retired), which I include here even though I do not think they were reated to JH Foley, sculptor.

The Foley family of the United States was founded there by two brothers, Daniel Mathew and Denis Foley. The two brothers were architects and builders; Daniel Mathew, born 1811 or 1812 and died 1896, settled in Columbus Georgia; his descendants remain there as well as Raleigh NC, Washington DC, and Chicago IL. [Ed Jeep, the author of this paper is Daniel Mathew Foley’s Great Great Great Grandson.]

Daniel Foley, who was called Daniel Mathew or Daniel M Foley, had a son named Theobald Mathew Foley, born 1856 in Iowa. Although these two gentlemen had, at various times, their second names spelled Matthew, in other places they were spelled Mathew. (See obit TMF). No information is known regarding the names or surnames of the natural parents of Daniel and Denis and their 9 siblings.

The evidence for a familial link, apart from the otherwise potentially circumstantial evidence of the middle names, comes from a series of documents in the University of Georgia Archives in Athens, GA. These archives were donated by the contemporary Foley family, descendants of Daniel M, and consist of scrapbooks and photos and documents. Three documents are of special value: 1) A parchment birth registry, listing the marriage date of the parents, as well as the birth dates for eleven Foley children (and the deaths of two); 2) a letter of recommendation for Daniel Foley as carpenter, written and signed by the Reverend Theobald Mathew, OFM; and 3) a newspaper obituary for DM Foley. A brief analysis of each document is followed by conclusions and open questions, as well as research priorities.

1) Parchment Birth Registry - This registry is written in pen on the reverse of what appears to be an agricultural freight delivery record. It is presumably written by the Father in the same hand on both sides. The freight delivery record refers, in the first person, to deliveries made from or to a Michael Green @ 1829, and the timeline of birth registry events on the reverse spans from 1802 to 1826/1833. In addition to listing both Denis and Daniel Foley as siblings, (in the case of Daniel, with a birth date that concurs with the later American obituary), the list includes, on the margin, an annotation of the death of Lord Llandaff, 12 March 1833.

Michael Green was an owner of property immediately joining Thomastown Demesne; his descendants were later tenants and owners of portions of the castle grounds themselves. This information is found both in the Aplotment records and in survey records in the National Archives in Dublin.

2) The letter of recommendation, dated 1838, and signed by Rev. Theobald Mathew, avers to Daniel Foley’s exemplary conduct, and states that the Reverend knew him for “over twenty years”. Daniel being born 1811/1812, this places their acquaintance as beginning when Daniel was 6 or 7 years old. The archives has additional letters of recommendation and of labor, placing the Foleys as carpenters in the US as well as in Ireland, especially Cork, during the years that the Rev Mathew was resident and influential there.

3) The obituary of Daniel M Foley lists his birthplace as Tipperary.

Space does not here permit recounting of the disorganized and even tragic decline of the Mathews of Llandaff in Ireland. However, briefly, a narrative involving the Foley line is useful as it relates to the annotation, on the birth registry, of the death of the second Earl.

Reverend Mathew’s father was the Estate agent for the first Earl, and perhaps the second Earl as well.

After his death in 1833, the estates passed to the Earl’s sister Elisha, who then passed them to her French cousins, et cetera. In any event, one may imagine that the role of Agent also passed from whomever occupied it to someone else as the estates changed hands.

I propose that the Foley children were the product of some union either by someone adopted by the Mathews or themselves heirs natural Mathew. They were, in some fashion (as evidenced by the freight registry) involved in the management of the estates. Upon the death of the Earl, they displaced - I would suggest to Cork. This list was obviously written to record the siblings births for posterity; perhaps as the male remained in Thomastown and the mother brought the children to Cork.

It would be very valuable to discover the names of the parents of the Foleys, and thus to establish the relationship to the Mathews. It seems possible that they are connected to a line collateral to the Earls’ but still Mathews as was Father Theobald Mathew.


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), 31 Osnaburgh Street (1869-77) and 11 Osnaburgh Street (1878-82).


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).