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John Henry Foley RA RHA (1818-1874)


bronze on black marble base

signed and dated lower left

19½ x 13 x 9½in. (49.53 x 33.02

Dimensions of base: 22 by 11 by 1in.

In 1834 sixteen-year old John Henry Foley left his native Dublin for London, following in the footsteps

of his elder brother Edward, already established at the sculpture workshop of the celebrated Mr Behnes.

He enrolled in the school of the Royal Academy and quickly won a studentship for ten years with The

Death of Abel. This piece and Innocence were exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1839 to great acclaim

and Foley’s talent was recognised by the influential Art Journal. The following year Ino and Bacchus was

exhibited, to even greater acclaim.

In both subject matter and style it is a neo-classical piece. That is to say it imitates the art of ancient

Greece and Rome. The infant Bacchus lies on his back, smiling, reaching for the bunch of grapes dangled

above him by the bare-breasted Ino who lies, smiling, at his side and leans over him.

Ino and Bacchus marked a turning point in the career of the twenty-two year old from Montgomery

Street, Dublin (Now Foley Street, just north of Talbot Street.) and launched him upon a career-path that

led to the heart of Victorian society and major commissions for projects across the imperial globe from

Galway to Calcutta.

A plaster-cast of the model can be found in the permanent collection of the Royal Dublin Society.

For an extended note on this lot see

€3000-€5000 (£2560-£4270 approx.)

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