John Edward Taylerson's birth was registered in Stockton, County Durham in December 1854, but after his father died, his mother moved to Faversham in Kent, where he attended the Faversham School of Art. He took courses in modelling at the South London School of Technical Art, and also attended the Westminster School of Art, probably working for Thomas Earp before setting up on his own account in Wandsworth (see "John Edward Taylerson"). The association with Earp is confirmed by the fact that both were employed during the 1870s restoration of Holy Trinity Dublin (now known as Christ Church Cathedral) by G. E. Street, and Taylerson would have been a young man then. It is worth quoting an early appraisal of this work, as an indication of Taylerson's future strengths:

There are some very fine modern carvings on the capitals of the pillars around the apse.... They ... represent the Annunciation, Salutation, Adoration of the Shepherds and of the Magi, the Circumcision, and the Presentation in the Temple. Taylerson also carved the heads of G. E. Street, Archbishop Trench, Henry Roe, and Primate Beresford, which are to be seen on the pillars between the south transept and the nave. [Day and Patton 91]

It was assumed here that he was a local craftsman. Elsewhere, too, he was praised for these particular stone-carvings, and seen as someone "whose name deserves to be handed down to posterity as an artist of very considerable skill" (qtd. in "Taylerson, John Edward").

Taylerson was, therefore, far more than a run-of-the-mill artisan. Other indications of this are that he exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, "thirty-eight works in all (statuettes, reliefs, medallions, portrait busts and a war memorial)," and taught modelling and wood-carving at Battersea Polytechnic ("John Edward Taylerson"). He was responsible for a bronze bust of Byron on a plaque marking his birthplace in Holles Street, London (since lost) and a particularly fine war memorial on the village green of Warlingham in Surrey, unveiled in 1921. But he is still known largely for his architectural and ecclesiastical work. We know that when he was working at St Peter's Church, Staines, he was based at Lavender Hill, Clapham, and the 1911 census tells us that he was still there at the age of 56, as "Sculptor, Carver, Modeller. In marble stone, wood, Ivory &c.," employed on his own account. With him on the census return are his wife Louisa Ann, who was born in "Barbican, Middlesex" in 1858. They are recorded as the parents of four children, two of them still at home: one, a twenty-two-year-old daughter, working as an Elementary School teacher with the London County Council, and the other a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl. — Jacqueline Banerjee



"A Byron Memorial In London." Times. 15 May 1900: 12. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 16 May 2015.

Day, J. Godfrey F., and Henry E. Patton. The Cathedrals of the Church of Ireland. London: SPCK, 1932. Internet Arhive. Web. 16 May 2015.

"John Edward Taylerson." Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951 (University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, online database). Web. 16 May 2015.

"Taylerson, John Edward.". Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720-1940 (Irish Architectural Archive). Web. 16 May 2015.

Ward-Jackson, Philip. Public Sculpture of the City of London. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2003.