Boston Art Commission

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John Boyle O'Reilly

Artist:

Daniel Chester French

Location:

Fenway  

Location

Fenway
United States
42° 20' 46.608" N, 71° 5' 27.8628" W

Neighborhood:

Fenway

Type:

Statue

Year:

1896

Medium:

Bronze and Granite

Collection:

City of Boston

Funders:

Gift to the City by the Trustees of the John Boyle O'Reilly Memorial Committee

Description:

The Irishman John Boyle O’Reilly (1844-1890) was banished to Western Australia for his part in Fenian resistance to the British rule of his homeland. He escaped to the United States in 1869, and made his way to Boston, where he became editor of The Pilot, a Catholic newspaper, in 1876. Much beloved as a poet and patriot, O’Reilly’s friends chose to remember him with this unique double-sided monument.

The front of the monument carries a bronze portrait bust of O’Reilly on a pedestal standing before a tall, broad stele. The stele is decorated by carvings based on Celtic motifs; similar carvings are carried to other parts of the monument as well. On the other side of the monument, the stele provides the backing for a trio of life-sized allegorical figures in bronze. The seated female figure in the center represents Erin, the personification of Ireland. The male figure to her right represents Patriotism, and the male figure to her left, Poetry. Patriotism gives Erin branches of oak leaves, and Poetry gives her branches of laurel. She twists them into crowns for Irish heroes. The monument was designed by the architect C. Howard Walker, and the sculptures are the work of Daniel Chester French.

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