John Lawlor, Sculptor

(b. 1820, d. 1901)


From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was born in Dublin in 1820, and received his art training in the Royal Dublin Society's School. In 1843 his "Cupid pressing Grapes into the Glass of Time," was purchased by the Royal Irish Art Union, and was won as a prize by the Countess of Ranfurly. He exhibited a "Boy and Dog" at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1844, and in 1845 he went to London where he soon gained recognition as an accomplished sculptor. He modelled many of the statues adorning the new Houses of Parliament, and was one of the eight artists chosen to do the plaques at the corners of the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens, and was also entrusted with the execution of the large group, "Engineering." He began to exhibit at the Royal Academy in 1848, and was a frequent contributor of subject groups and statues, and of portrait busts, down to 1879. After that, on account of some misunderstanding or variance with the Academy, he ceased to exhibit. From the time of his first contribution in 1844 he continued to exhibit at intervals in the Royal Hibernian Academy, and on the 1oth July, 1861, he was elected an Associate of that body. His "Bather," exhibited in the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1851, and at the Dublin International Exhibition in 1853, was afterwards executed in marble for the Prince Consort and placed at Osborne in 1856. His statuette of "Solitude," and a group, "Suffer little Children to come unto Me," purchased by the Art Union, were in the London Exhibition of 1851.

Others of his works which attracted attention were "Titania," a marble statue in the Royal Academy in 1868; the "Emigrant," 1853; and "Clio." In 1886 Lawlor visited America, where he received several commissions, and remained there until the autumn of 1888. He was afterwards in Cork for a time, and did the statue of Bishop Delaney, erected outside the Cathedral, as well as several statues for Queenstown church. He was also the sculptor of the statue of "Sarsfield," erected in Limerick, and did busts of "Daniel O'Connell," "Smith O'Brien," "O'Connor Power" and "James O'Kelly, M.P." Lawlor was well known and popular in artistic and literary society in London; his tall, handsome figure, his fund of witty anecdotes, his genial manner and his fine baritone voice making him a welcome guest and a favourite with all who knew him. In his profession he was irregular; working only when he felt inclined or when necessity compelled him; and was thus unable to make much provision for his old age. He died in London in 1901. He never married.

His nephew, Michael Lawlor, born in Dublin in 1840, was, after studying in the Royal Dublin Society's School, his pupil, and is now practising in London as a sculptor.

John Lawlor's works include:

Engineering; group on the Albert Memorial. An engraving, by G. Stoddart, is in "Art Journal" for 1871.

Gulnare. R.H.A., 1845.

The Mourners. R.A., 1848.

The Emigrant. [Crystal Palace.] R.A., 1853.

Hermione. Marble. R.A., 1859.

The Wrestlers. Marble. R.A., 1867.

Titania. Marble statue, R.A., 1868.

Reflection. Marble. R.A., 1871.

Argyra. Marble. R.A., 1874.

Solitude. Dublin Ex., 1853.

The Bather. R.H.A., 1851. Dublin Ex., 1853. Executed in marble for the Prince Consort, and placed at Osborne.

Meditation, Marble bust. R.A., 1879.

Dr. Delaney, Bishop of Cork. Statue. [Cork.]

J. O'Connor Power, M.P. Bust. R.H.A., 1881.

John O'Leary. Bust. R.H.A., 1885.

Daniel O'Connell. Bust.

W. Smith O'Brien. Bust.

Patrick Sarsfield. Statue. [Limerick.]

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