John Graham Lough

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John Graham Lough (1798-1876), in His Studio, Artist: Ralph Hedley 1881
Puck by John Graham Lough, V&A, London

John Graham Lough (8 January 1798 – 8 April 1876)[1] was an English sculptor known for his funerary monuments and a variety of portrait sculpture. He also produced ideal classical male and female figures.


John Graham Lough was born at Black Hedley Hall near Consett, County Durham, one of eleven children, and may have worked as a farmer in his youth. He was later apprenticed to a stonemason, at Shotley Field near Newcastle upon Tyne.

Lough came to London by sea in 1824 to study the Elgin Marbles at the British Museum. He took lodgings in a first floor in Burleigh Street, above a greengrocer's shop, and there commenced to mould his colossal statue of Milo of Croton based on his studies of the Elgin marbles and the work of Michelangelo. He became the protégé of the painter Benjamin Haydon, and in 1827 he exhibited the statue. (A later 1863 bronze version survives at Blagdon, Northumberland). It so impressed London society that it brought him scores of patrons and established his career.

He began exhibiting ideal figures and heads at the Royal Academy from 1826. Between 1834-38, he spent a period in Rome where his portrait style was influenced by Neo-classicism.

Lough received a provisional commission to carve four granite lions for the base of Nelson's Column. However, in 1846, after consultations with the column's designer, William Railton, he withdrew from the project, unwilling to work under the constraints imposed by the architect[2] The commission was later given to Edwin Landseer who, with assistance from the sculptor Carlo Marochetti, carried out the work in bronze, finally completing it in 1867.[3]

He was a close friend of the surgeon Campbell De Morgan who sat with Lough as he lay dying of pneumonia. A bust of De Morgan by Lough was given to the Middlesex Hospital medical school and is on display there. Lough is buried in Kensal Green cemetery, London.

One of his younger brothers, Thomas,[4] was a talented musician, artist, and poet, best known for "The Ramshaw Flood" (1848), but declined into vagrancy and poverty, dying at Lanchester Workhouse only a year after John Graham's death.


Lough's memorial to Thomas Noon Talfourd, in the Shire Hall, Stafford

Lough's public works include a statue of Lord Collingwood in Tynemouth, a memorial to Thomas Noon Talfourd, in the Shire Hall, Stafford, and the bronze George Stephenson memorial of 1862, opposite the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers Newcastle upon Tyne.[5]

In London, he produced the monuments to Henry Montgomery Lawrence and to Bishop Middleton in St Paul's Cathedral, and made the Queen Victoria and Prince Albert for the Royal Exchange. In Canterbury Cathedral, he was responsible for the monuments to Bishop Broughton, and to Lt Col Frederick Mackeson.

Lough produced many ideal works on classical, historical and literary themes, including a series of marble statues of Shakespearean subjects for his chief patron Matthew, 4th Baronet Ridley.


  • John Lough (Author), Elizabeth Merson (Contributor), John Graham Lough, 1798-1876: A Northumbrian Sculptor Boydell & Brewer Inc (1987) ISBN 0-85115-480-8