John Henry Foley

Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A.

Not on display

John Henry Foley 1818–1874
Object: 2032 × 787 × 660 mm, 750 kg
Bequeathed by Henry Vaughan 1900

Technique and condition

The sculpture and base are made of one piece of creamy white marble, probably Carara, with minor black veining. The piece weighs 875 Kg. Point marks found on the surface indicate the piece was scaled up from a model.

The notch on the middle finger of the right hand and the crevice in the palm of the left hand may originally have been to position a brush in his right hand and a clutch of brushes in his left. However no brushes are present with the object and, as these pieces would have been made separately, they may not have remained with the rest of the sculpture.

The surface of the piece has a number of different textures created by the use of different types of tools. For example the base was left rough tooled from rasping and chiselling, however on more worked areas, such as on the back of the cape, tooth chisel marks are present. There are also drill marks present in the crevices and the hair.

No marks or inscriptions appear on the sculpture or the base.

The work would have been displayed on a stone plinth and a small protrusion sticking out 25mm from one of the sides of the base, would have acted as a handling aid and was probably intended to be chiselled off once the statue was finally placed.

The piece is in very good condition after surface cleaning in October 2004. This treatment and examination was assisted by a donation by Tate Members.

Emily Fryer
April 2005

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