Edward Foley, Sculptor

(b. 1814, d. 1874)


From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Elder brother of John H. Foley, R.A., was born in 1814 in Montgomery Street, Dublin. Having early shown a talent for modelling he received instruction from his step-grandfather Benjamin Schrowder (q.v.) and at about the age of 13 he was apprenticed to the sculptor John Smith (q.v.)—who was a near neighbour in Montgomery Street—and became a pupil in the Royal Dublin Society's School in 1826. He worked industriously, but before the termination of his apprenticeship his master found himself unable to provide him with work, and Foley resolved to go to London in search of employment. For some time he met with no success in his applications for work, but finally was taken by Behnes into his studio. A coat of arms carved by him so pleased Behnes that he was engaged as an assistant at four pounds a week. Foley as an expert carver and an artist of some talent soon found a footing for himself as a sculptor and worked successfully, especially in the modelling and carving of portrait busts. He began to exhibit in the Royal Academy in 1834, and his busts, with several graceful ideal works, appeared almost every year down to 1873. Amongst his works were busts of "Samuel Lover," 1839, now in the National Portrait Gallery; "Catherine Hayes," 1855 and 1861; "Helen of Troy," 1866; "OEnone," 1869; "Penelope," 1870; and "The Morning Star," 1873. He sent his "Canute reproving his Courtiers" to the exhibition in Westminster Hall in 1844. He died by his own hand early in the year 1874.

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