John Adams-Acton (1831-1910)

The sculptor John Adams-Acton was born John Adams, but added ‘Acton’, the site of his birth (near Ealing, West London), in 1869 to avoid confusion with a then well known painter of the same name. He attended the Royal Academy Schools, then went to Rome for a period, where he studied under John Gibson. He exhibited from the 1850s at the Academy, for the next 40 years showing a stream of busts and portrait medallions of great Victorians, and a number of full statues.

His bust of John Gibson exists in more than one copy, with versions in the Cardiff National Museum and in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. Also in Liverpool he has one of the statues in St George’s Hall – Gladstone. A different version of Gladstone is in Blackburn. He is also known for his statue of John Wesley by the Methodist chapel in City Road, London, and his memorials to Titus Salt in Saltaire and Bishop Waldegrave in Carlisle Cathedral.

Although predominantly a portrait sculptor, Adams-Acton did some ideal busts and religious work, and we may note a nice bust entitled Pharaoh’s daughter in the Russell-Cotes Museum, Bournemouth.

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