Adams-Acton, John

Sculptor, born John Adams on 11 December 1830 at Acton Hall, Middx, the son of a WM mother. (He later adopted the hyphenated name.) He studied sculpture under Timothy Butler and Matthew Noble, and at the Royal Academy Schools between 1853 and 1858. A travelling studentship took him to Rome, where his gifts as a portraitist became recognized. After a visit to India, he settled in London (from 1882 in St. John's Wood) and became a prolific sculptor of royalty, statesmen and ecclesiastics and such prominent figures as Gladstone, Dickens and Spurgeon. He exhibited frequently at the Royal Academy. He was the only Protestant to sculpt Pope Leo XIII, also producing the tomb effigy of Cardinal Manning in Westminster Cathedral. Known as 'the Wesleyan sculptor' for his many prominent WM sitters (e.g.James H. Rigg, W.F. Moulton, J. Farrar, Sir R. Perks, Sir I. Holden, and H.H. Fowler), some of which may be seen at Wesley's Chapel, he was also responsible for the memorial to John and Charles Wesley (1876) in Westminster Abbey, instigated by F.J. Jobson, and for the bronze statue of John Wesley (1891) in the forecourt of *Wesley's Chapel. He died at Brodick, Isle of Arran, on 28 October 1910.

His two sons Harold and Murray Adams-Acton were also sculptors. His wife Marion (1846-1928) wrote fiction under the name 'Jeanie Hering' and her edited papers were published posthumously under the title Victorian Sidelights.

  • Methodist Recorder, 3 Nov. 1910
  • A.M.W. Stirling, Victorian Sidelights (1954)
  • Oxford DNB