John Henry Foley: Sculptor of the Empire

Loopline Collection, Documentary, Irish Culture
Directed by:
Sé Merry Doyle
Produced by:
Martina Durac, Loopline


56 mins

John Henry Foley was one of the most influential sculptors in Irish history. The Dubliner’s breath-taking equestrian masterpieces strode across city squares and parklands from Dublin, to Kolkata and Virginia.

Foley’s best-known Irish works include the Daniel O’Connell monument on O’Connell Street and the Henry Grattan statue on College Green, as well as the figures of Goldsmith and Burke outside Trinity College. Queen Victoria personally requested that Foley create the statue of her beloved Prince Albert for the Albert Memorial in London. When Foley died, she decreed that he should be buried in Westminster Abbey, an extraordinary honour for a man born into relative poverty in Dublin’s northside. And yet the legacy of Foley’s imperialism continued to stir up controversy long after his death. Some of his works were destroyed: General Gough was blown sky-high in Phoenix Park; Lord Dunkellin, was heaved into the River Corrib and his equestrian statues in Kolkata were dismantled after Indian independence.

This film is part of The Loopline Collection Volume 1. To watch more of the collection click here.

Bonus Content