Edward Delaney (R.H.A.)


Woulfe Tone Statue
Famine Memorial
Eve with Apple
Edward Delaney plaque


This talented Sculptor changed style various times during his Career: sculptures in Bronze, Steel, Lithographs etc.  He exhibited worldwide.  He was awarded the title of ‘Mayo Man of the Year’ during 1965.

Edward Delaney was born on 1st August 1930 (registered as Edmund Vincent Delaney) at Farmhill, Claremorris, Co. Mayo, seventh among nine children of Patrick Delaney (d. 1955) a small farmer who also tended to beehives & a Wood Mill on Lord Oranmore’s Estate also Browne & Catherine ‘Kate‘ Delaney (née Brannick; d. 1980(21st September 2016)  [i]

Edward Delaney was born on 1st August 1930 in Claremorris, Co. Mayo.  His father was a woodcutter on the Estates of Lord Oranmore & Brown.  He grew up at Farmhill, Crossboyne.  By his own account his forefathers the ‘De Laniers’ were French Stonemasons who immigrated to Co. Mayo during the mid – nineteenth century.  He recalled growing up ‘Surrounded by stone fireplaces made by my Grandfather.’ [ii]


Delaney married Nancy O’Brien from Cootehill, Co. Cavan, during 1961 they lived in Dunlaoghaire Co. Dublin.  They had four sons plus one daughter.  Following that marriage break up, he moved to Carroroe in Co. Galway.  There he met partner Dr. Anne Gillen with whom he had another daughter and son. [iii]

During the mid – 1980’s Edward Delaney relocated from Dublin to Connemara where he began a new phase of his life. [iv]

Further Studies

Edward Delanly received his primary education in the local national school up to the age of fourteen years.  His ambition to become an artist originated when he assisted the poster printer of a circus troupe that wintered within the area.  He tirelessly sketched in or about the family home. Moving to Dublin in his early twenties he ‘infiltrated himself’ into the National College of Art.  He attended classes also participated in student activities: without enrolling or even graduating!  Instructors such as Seán Keating  & Maurice MacGonigal from 1951 to 1954 were impressed with his talent also his diligence.  (21st September 2016)  (Larry White 21st September 2016) [v]

Drawn to the art of sculpture upon reading a book in the National Library on the traditional cast – bronze sculpture of Benin, West Africa: he obtained (with the assistance of MacGonigal) an Arts Council scholarship that facilitated his studies at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich (1954 – 9) There he learned the technique of lost – wax (cire perdue) casting (an ancient process whereby a wax – coated model is encased in an investment mould, heated in a kiln, then a molten metal is poured into the space left by the melted (‘lost’) wax.)  This technique allowed the detailing of a primary model to be faithfully reproduced in the finished metal sculpture.   Delaney attended Bonn Academy also the Salzburg Fine Arts Summer School founded by Oskar Kokoschka.  An Italian Government Scholarship facilitated further study at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome from 1959 to 1961. (Larry White 21st September 2016) [vi]


Delaney secured a Master’s Degree in bronze casting from the Munich Academy. [vii]


During breaks from the Arts Council he was employed at night – work as he welded tramway tracks.  He was employed in Foundries in Germany & Northern France.   (Larry White 21st September 2016) [viii]

Edward Delaney left school aged fourteen years as he had little interest in formal education.  He applied to the Royal Hibernian Academy in the hope of an entrance to the College of Art, but he actually attended classes without having been formally accepted!  He acquired a mentorship with the Painter Sean Keating.  Delaney discovered a book in the National Library about casting bronze that inspired his future work!  This also led to further study in Rome and Munich.  While overseas he worked also studied in seven foundries within Northern France also in Germany.  One Commission he received in Germany was from jazz musician Louis Armstrong for a commemorative statue for the children left behind by the departing servicemen. [ix]


Delaney was a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) &Aosdana.  He represented Ireland at the Paris Biennale in 1959 also during 1961.  Awards Delaney received included; Fellowships from the West-German Government for Sculpture during the years 1956 – 57 plus a Bavarian State Foreign Students Sculpture Prize in 1958.  During 1959 / 60 he was awarded an Italian Government Scholarship for Sculpture.  Delaney won the Irish Arts Council of Ireland Sculpture Prizes in 1962 & 1964. [x]


In Dunlaoghaire Co. Dublin Edward Delaney established the first Foundry in Ireland for Casting, He worked from there also he Exhibited.  His patrons included Architect Michael Scott, James White from the National Gallery plus Writer Mervyn Wall.  From 1980’s onwards Delaney concentrated on large-scale environmental pieces also stainless – steel works.  Initially he favoured creating ‘Horses.’  His most famous works created during 1967  are ‘Wolfe Tone’ & Famine Memorial’ both located within St. Stephen’s Green.  He produced ‘Thomas Davis for College Green.  Several titles of his work included ‘Forms,’ ‘Bather,’ ‘The Piper,’ ‘Bird alighting,’ ‘Dancer’ also ‘The Figure of Cuchula.’  Delaney’s ‘Celtic Twilight’ is a modern example of his change of style.  During the 1960’s – early 1970’s his main technique was in lost – wax bronze.  Delaney created major works for the E. S. B. in Galway.  He created an Altar piece for St. Michael the Archangel Church in Ballinasloe, Co Galway also work for Our Lady’s Hospital in Drogheda, Co. Louth.  [xi]

Edward Delaney created lithographs along with his small bronze works. [xii]

He designed Album Covers for The Chieftains. [xiii]

Edward Delaney illustrated Wolf Mankowitz’s play ‘The Samson Riddle.’ [xiv]

New York Fair

Edward Delaney Represented Ireland at the New York World Fair during 1965.[xv]

Screen Prints

Delaney executed twelve highly expressionist Screen Prints in a meandering black line, inspired by ‘The Samson riddle’ a play by Wolf Mankowitz several of them illustrated the published text during 1972. [xvi]


When he returned permanently to Ireland during 1961 he constructed a Studio & metal-casting Foundry at his home on Stoneview Place, off George’s Street, Dún Laoghaire.  He casted nearly all of his own work (assisted for some years by John Behan (b. 1938) he thus enjoyed complete control of every aspect of the sculpting process: a practice that was unique among Irish sculpturers of that period. [xvii]


Delaney’s first major Commission was for the Medical Missionaries of Mary in early 1960’s for whom he decorated the Dome of the Mortuary Chapel in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, Co. Louth, with bronze reliefs that depicted the ‘Life of Christ.’   He produced a cast of a nine – foot copper ‘Resurrection.’  Catholic Church Commissions included a crucifix with relief panels for St. Michael the Archangel Church, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway also panels for the new Altar (designed to conform with the Vatican II liturgical reforms) for St. Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny.  His treatment of religious subjects was especially influenced by the work of Giacomo Manzù, whom he regarded as ‘the greatest sculptor in Christendom’ (Guardian, 19 Oct. 2009); he perceived parallels between his own warm relationship with the progressive Bishop Peter Birch (qv) of Ossory also that between the communistic Humanist Manzù &  Pope John XXIII. (Larry White 21st September 2016) [xviii]

The ‘Fountain Tree’ was Commissioned for the Dublin Smurfit Head Quarters. [xix]

Major Exhibitions

Delaney exhibited in several group or one-man shows within Dublin during the course of his continental studies.  He Represented Ireland at the first two Paris Biennale exhibitions for young artists of all nationalities during 1959 & 1961.  He won the Arts Council prize for sculpture  in 1962 &  the council’s scholarship for sculpture with bronze casting during1964.  Delaney’s first appearance was at the Exhibition of Living Art in 1961 at the 1964 show where he came to wide attention upon receiving the inaugural Carroll’s prize for sculpture for ‘Flight’, a dynamic abstraction of a bird’s wing that exuded freedom also movement.  His work appeared in 1965 at the Irish Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair.  He represented Ireland in International Biennial Exhibitions in Tokyo in 1960, 1962 also in 1972 & Buenos Aires during 1968 / 9. [xx]

Edward Delaney’s Sculptures have been featured within Ireland at the Royal Hibernian Academy, the Hendriks, the Irish Arts Council. the Davis & Solomon Galleries, Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, the Project Arts Centre, Central Bank of Ireland, Allied Irish Bank, the Abbey Theatre, University College, Irish Management Institute, Jefferson Smurfit Group Ltd, the Office of Public Works, also in the Waterford Museum plus the Ulster Museum in Belfast.  Worldwide: Delaney’s art features in Tokyo, Budapest, Buenos Aires, in New York City at National City Bank, K.L.M. Airlines Headquarters, Normen B. Arnoff also the First National Bank of Chicago.  He represented Ireland at the Paris Biennale during the years 1959 & 1961 plus at the 1965 World Fair in New York. [xxi]

Edward Delaney’s Works feature in several major collections that include the Central Bank of Ireland, Dublin; Bank of Ireland; Allied Irish Banks; Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin; Ulster Museum, Belfast; Irish Management Institute, Dublin; Waterford Museum; University College, Dublin also the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, Jefferson Smurfit Group Ltd.; the Office of Public Works, Dublin; First National Bank of Chicago; First National City Bank of New York; An Chomhairle Ealaíon / The Irish Arts Council; KLM Airlines Headquarters, New York; Norman B. Arnoff, New York. [xxii]

The RHA’s Gallagher Gallery staged a retrospective of Edward Delaney’s Sculptures in 1992 then again in 2004. He moved from his previous style of sculptural pieces.

Sculpture Park

Edward Delaney created a Sculpture Park in Crossboyne with his stainless steel  Delaney’s ‘Trees’ sculptures were planted on twenty acres called ‘Beyond the Pale.’ [xxiii]

He founded a Sculpture Park. Later began a series of experimental works called ‘steel trees.’ [xxiv]


He was elected as an Academician of The Royal Hibernian Academy also Aosdana.  Delaney was a Member of the International Sculpture Centre in Washington, D. C. [xxv]

Later years

Edward Delaney’s health declined. He was afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease.  Delaney lived his last seven years in Áras Mac Dara Nursing Home at Carraroe. [xxvi]


Edward Delaney’s demise occurred on 22nd September 2009.  He was aged seventy –  nine years.  He is buried at Crossboyne, Claremorris, Co. Mayo.  [xxvii]

Following a bout of pneumonia Edward Delaney’s demise occurred on 22nd September 2009 at University College Hospital, Galway city.  He was buried at Crossboyne Cemetery, near Claremorris. (Larry White 21st September 2016) [xxviii]

Edward Delaney’s Obituary was covered on this site: https://notices.irishtimes.com/death/edward-delaney/2841960


Prior to his demise in the week of his death  Edward Delaney’s restored sculpture ‘Eve with apple’ (1958) was unveiled in an outdoor location on the IMMA grounds.  Edward Delaney was one of the forty one lives added to ‘The Dictionary of Irish Biography’ online during June 2016 by Larry White.  (Larry White 21st September 2016) [xxix]

During both 1992 also 2004 the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallagher Gallery presented a retrospective of his sculptures.  Re. Edward Delaney’s work the critic Anthony Butler stated that ‘Place these small sculptures on some Atlantic headland, letting the wind whistle through their complex spaces and cupping the rain on their raw texture, and they would be as natural as the limestone cliffs of Aran.’ [xxx]

In ‘The Irish Times’ 2004 Review the writer Aiden Dunne stated that “what all Delaney’s work shares is robustness but with an awkwardness yet tenderness about them.” [xxxi]

According to Arts writer Judith Hill the Wolfe Tone & Thomas Davis sculptures were ‘Rather than being political symbols, they seem to be studies of the weightiness and gravitas that we expect in political symbols.’  (Larry White 21st September 2016) [xxxii]

According to this link Edward Delaney’s work ranged from strongly Representational to almost pure Abstraction. Edward Delaney’s style of Sculpture up to the end of the 1970’s was noted in particular for its empathy of subject with its concern for texture. It was said that his expressionist abstraction lent his works a naturism also an egalitarianism that reflected a new sense of confidence within the nation. [xxxiii]

Edward Delaney’s son Eamon published a book entitled ‘Breaking the Mould – A story of art and Ireland’ stated that ‘My father’s ambition was to use the breakthrough period of the 1960’s to revive the best of Celtic art forms with a vigorous European modernism.’  Also that Edward ‘was a loving father – a colourful character and as a Sculptor left his own indelible mark on the landscape of Ireland.’  [xxxiv]

Edward Delaney was one of the forty one lives added to ‘The Dictionary of Irish Biography’ online during June 2016 by Larry White.  (Larry White 21st September 2016) [xxxv]

This site details the intricate work of several of Edward Delaney’s sculptural works: https://www.ria.ie/news/new-lives-dib-edward-delaney


Edward Delaney responded to criticism by saying: ‘Truth lies in proportions, not in size.’  When it was remarked that the three quarter tone Wolfe Tone Sculpture was too large: he replied; ‘Tone figured life – size in a park setting would look like a leprechaun.’ [xxxvi]

Asked to define a piece of art Delaney replied: ‘No one should ask what a work of art is.’  When asked why people purchased his art his reply was: ‘Fifty per cent because they appreciate them, fifty per cent as an investment.’  Edward Delaney once said he preferred to portray heroes ‘not old fogeys.’  He referred to his Famine Memorial as ‘this is not a victory moment.’  He considered the ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ Sculpture on Dame Street among his best work. [xxxvii]

Defending the anachronism of linking Tone to the Great Famine, Delaney asserted that the defeat of the 1798 Uprising allowed the pursuit of Policies that resulted in the 1840’s Famine also that any monument true to Tone should not strike a triumphant note: ‘I would like to have depicted him in French uniform, plumed hat and victorious sword. But history decided otherwise’ (Guardian, ibid.).  (Larry White 21st September 2016) [xxxviii]

His ‘Eve with Apple’ Sculpture was donated by a private collector to the Irish Museum of Modern Art. [xxxix]

During October 2009 three weeks following Edward Delaney’s demise his bronze King and Queen’  were sold at auction for a world record price of 190,000 Euros.  Several other sculptures ‘Anna,’ ‘Running Figure’ &‘Organic Form’ sold for a total of 110,000 Euros!  A portion of his Art was purchased back from the Karl Mullen Estate.

The Sculpture entitled ‘Integration’ (that comprised an abstract stainless steel globe) was donated by his family on 6th June 2013 to his native Crossboyne.  It was unveiled by his son the Author & Journalist Eamon Delaney in a specially developed Park also donated by his family.  An image of the sculpture features within this article.  (Lorna Siggins 8th July 2013) [xl]

On 23rd September 2009 The Arts Council expressed regret at the passing of Aosdána member Edward Delaney who was a Member.

The UCD News’ September 2007 published that Edward Delaney’s ‘Celtic Twilight’ Sculpture was moved to Belfield. [xli]

This site features works for sale by Edward Delaney: https://www.mutualart.com/Artist/Edward-Delaney/B9C75ED363B1C45F

These may be of interest:

Johnston Jennifer 12th March 2005 ‘Never mind the message, feel the family stuff’ in ‘The Irish Time.’[xlii]

Hill Judith 1998 ’Irish Public Sculpture’  Four Courts Press Dublin: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Delaney

Siggins Lorna 8th July 2013 ‘Sculpture donated to international artist’s home town’ ‘The Irish Times[xliii]

Dunne Aiden ’s ‘Casting new light on old bronze’ published in the ‘The Irish Times’ [xliv]


[i] https://www.ria.ie/news/new-lives-dib-edward-delaney

[ii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Delaney

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/irish-sculpture/edward-delaney.htm

[v] https://www.ria.ie/news/new-lives-dib-edward-delaney

[vi] Ibid

[vii] Ibid

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Delaney

[x] Ibid.

[xi] http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/irish-sculpture/edward-delaney.htm

[xii] Ibid

[xiii] Ibid

[xiv] Ibid

[xv] Ibid

[xvi] https://www.ria.ie/news/new-lives-dib-edward-delaney

[xvii] Ibid.


[xix] http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/irish-sculpture/edward-delaney.htm

[xx] https://www.ria.ie/news/new-lives-dib-edward-delaney

[xxi] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Delaney

[xxii] Ibid.

[xxiii] http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/irish-sculpture/edward-delaney.htm

[xxiv] Ibid

[xxv] Ibid

[xxvi] https://www.ria.ie/news/new-lives-dib-edward-delaney

[xxvii] https://www.irishtimes.com/news/sculptor-edward-delaney-dies-aged-79-1.743871

[xxviii]  https://www.ria.ie/news/new-lives-dib-edward-delaney

[xxix] Ibid.

[xxx] https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2009/oct/19/edward-delaney-obituary

[xxxi] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Delaney

[xxxii] https://www.ria.ie/news/new-lives-dib-edward-delaney

[xxxiii] http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/irish-sculpture/edward-delaney.htm

[xxxiv] https://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Mould-Story-Art-Ireland/dp/184840056X

[xxxv] https://www.ria.ie/news/new-lives-dib-edward-delaney

[xxxvi] https://www.360dublincity.com/blog/ArtsAndMusic/CultureSculptureHistoryandtheGreen.html

[xxxvii] http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/irish-sculpture/edward-delaney.htm

[xxxviii] https://www.ria.ie/news/new-lives-dib-edward-delaney

[xxxix] http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/irish-sculpture/edward-delaney.htm

[xl] https://www.irishtimes.com/news/sculpture-donated-to-international-artist-s-home-town-1.1456615

[xli] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Delaney

[xlii] Ibid

[xliii] Ibid

[xliv] Ibid.

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