John Hughes

Life
1865-1941; Dublin-born sculptor; ed. Dublin Metropolitan Museum, and appt. Professor of Sculpture to 1902, living thereafter in London and Paris; author of Queen Victoria, commissioned for Leinster House, Dublin, 1903, unveiled by Lord Aberdeen Feb. 1908, later removed to Royal Kilmainham Hosp. in 1948, and finally given to the Australian Govt., where it was adopted as centrepiece in a Sydney urban conservation scheme, 1991; supporting bronzes, incl. a dying Irish soldier [in the Boer War] overlooked by Erin, installed in the roof-garden of Dublin Castle Conference Centre, 1990; he was involved in ornamentation of Loughrea Cathedral and made altar reliefs for Queen’s College, Cork, 1916; also sculpted W. E. Gladstone Memorial figure, intended for the Phoenix Park, but installed instead at Hawarden in 1925.

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Criticism
Alan Denson, John Hughes, Sculptor 1865-1841: A Documentary Biography (Kendal 169), 516pp. 193 ills. [ltd. edn. of 150].

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Commentary
George (“AE”) Russell - letter to Sarah Purser, 5 March 1902: ‘Hughes has never betrayed to anyone here any sign that he once lived in Ireland. Nobody has heard from him. I expect he is working from before dawn to bed time on his Irish fusiliers who are to guard the statue of the Queen. I wish the Queen had never died and we might have had another Orpheus and Eurydice. I feel sad over it, but I suppose it will turn out all right. I can’t imagine John becoming an Onslow Ford. [...] ’ (Alan Denson, ed. Letters from AE, London: Abelard-Schuman 1961, p.40.)

Brian Fallon, review of John Turpin, Oliver Sheppard 1865-1941 (Dublin: Four Courts), ‘‘Brief’’ [notice], in Times Literary Supplement (3 Aug. 2001), p.28. remarks that Oliver Sheppards’ ‘richly gifted contemporary, John Hughes, never lived down his association with Dublin Castle’.

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