Albert Bruce-Joy, 1842-1924
Bronze on a granite pedestal
St John's Gardens, Liverpool
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Albert Bruce-Joy was a Dublin-born sculptor who had worked under John Henry Foley. Amongst other fine works, his portrait bust of Matthew Arnold is in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey. Bob Speel considers this statue of Balfour to be one of his notable works, a "calm, aesthetic portrait, most sympathetic," and finds it more successful than Pomeroy's monument to James Nugent nearby. What might have prompted Speel to reach this conclusion?
Balfour (1824-1886) was born in Fife, Scotland, but became another of Liverpool's many merchants and ship-owners. According to the inscription on the monument, he devoted his life to good works on behalf of sailors, and "the education of the people." He funded orphanages for sailors' children, a seaman's institute, and so on, and actively supported the Temperance Society, turning sailors' taverns into cocoa rooms — not something that would have made him very popular these days (see "Balfour, Alexander").
Photograph and text by Jacqueline Banerjee, 2009.
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