Jones, Francis William Doyle (1873–1938), sculptor, was born 11 November 1873 in West Hartlepool, Co. Durham, of Irish parents. He studied sculpture in London under the tuition of Edouard Lanteri (1848–1917), the first professor of modelling at the South Kensington Art Schools (Royal College of Art). He established a studio in London at 2 Wentworth Studios, Chelsea, London, where he specialised in portrait busts, bas-reliefs and heads. He first exhibited with the Royal Academy (1905), and became a member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors (1919). He received a substantial number of commissions for large-scale commemorative monuments in Ireland, and his sculptural work suggests that he had a keen understanding of Irish political and cultural affairs.
One of his most expressive early works in Ireland is the memorial to John Mandeville (qv) on Newmarket Square, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork (unveiled 1906), which alludes to the ‘Mitchelstown massacre’ of 9 September 1887. Doyle-Jones portrays Mandeville (who died after spending time in prison) in a heroic manner, pointing to the square as if referring the viewer to the dreadful events. Others of his public monuments in Ireland celebrate Gaelic and catholic subjects. The Gaelic Athletic Association commissioned a memorial in bronze of Archbishop Thomas Croke (qv) of Cashel, one of their first patrons; erected in Liberty Square, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, it was unveiled in 1922. The archbishop is presented, breviary in hand, mounted on a limestone triangular pedestal. Two of the niches in the pedestal contain symbolic bronze statuettes, St Patrick and Erin with a broken harp, and the third niche bears an inscription in Irish, referring to the GAA. Another important commission was for a memorial statue of the Very Rev. Canon P. A. Sheehan (qv) of Doneraile, Co. Cork. There had been local controversy and delay over the memorial, due to the rival claims of Mallow and Doneraile on the proposed location of the statue. When these were resolved, Doyle-Jones completed a life-size bronze of the canon with pen in hand, considered to be a great likeness. A local man, Mr Ellis of Cork, supplied the pedestal, on the advice of the sculptor. It was unveiled 18 October 1925 in the churchyard in Doneraile before a large and distinguished gathering. The transporting of the sculpture by horse and cart from Mallow railway station was a source of great excitement and ceremony.
He exhibited for the first time with the RHA (1923), entering a bust of Michael Collins (qv) set on an Irish marble plinth, which was purchased by the NGI (1924). He continued to show principally busts almost every year to 1930 in the RHA, although in 1925 he exhibited a relief, ‘The offering of youth on the altar of patriotism’. The last works he entered (1936) were three bronze busts, one being of Dan MacCarthy (qv). A bronze bust (1932) of Joseph Devlin (qv) is in the Hugh Lane Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin. He is also responsible for the enormous granite statue of St Patrick (qv) at Saul, Co. Down (11 m with plinth), which took three years to complete (unveiled June 1938). Frank J. McAleenan assisted him with this commission.
It seems Doyle-Jones was never short of work, as many examples can be found in London, indeed all over England. He executed a bronze bust of Lord Oxford and Asquith which was presented by a donor to the Reform Club; a cast was presented to Balliol, Asquith's college. His bust of T. P. O'Connor (qv) is on Fleet St., London (1936). He resigned from the Royal Society of British Sculptors (1937) and the following year, on 10 May 1938, he died in St Luke's Hospital, Chelsea, London, leaving his wife (name unknown) and two children.