ANGAS, George French (1822-1886)


ANGAS, George French (1822-1886)
artist and naturalist
eldest son of George Fife Angus (q.v.) and his wife Rosetta French, was born at Newcastle-on-Tyne on 25 April 1822. As a youth he studied drawing and lithography and in 1842 published A Ramble in Malta and Sicily illustrated with his own sketches. In September 1843 he sailed for South Australia and arrived at Adelaide on 1 January 1844. Soon afterwards he went into the lake country near the mouth of the Murray with W. Giles, manager of the South Australian Company, hoping to find suitable country for sheep and cattle runs. In April he accompanied the governor, Captain Grey (q.v.), and his party on an exploring journey along the south-east coast of South Australia. Subsequently he visited New Zealand, came back to Australia, and spent some time at and near Sydney. He returned to England in March 1846. An interesting account of these travels with illustrations by the author was published in two volumes in 1847 under the title of Savage Life and Scenes in Australia and New Zealand. In the same year appeared two volumes of his drawings, The New Zealanders Illustrated, and South Australia Illustrated. Each book has many large coloured lithographs after paintings by Angas which show him to have been a very capable artist. The volume on South Australia is especially valuable for his reproductions of specimens of aboriginal art. He next travelled to South Africa and published The Kaffirs Illustrated in 1849. Returning to Australia he became secretary of the Australian Museum at Sydney, and held this position from 1853 to 1860. He was at Adelaide in October 1861 but returned to London shortly afterwards. He published Australia a Popular Account in 1865, and Polynesia a Popular Description in 1866. His book of verses, The Wreck of the Admella, which appeared in 1874, has little value as poetry. Angas was a fellow of the Linnean Society and of the Zoological Society. Several of his papers on land and sea shells and Australian mammals were published in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society, and he also did a large amount of miscellaneous writing for various periodicals. He died at London on 8 October 1886. He married in 1849, Alicia Mary Moran. There were four daughters of the marriage.
Angas was a competent writer and, allowing for the conventions of the time, an excellent artist. The national gallery at Adelaide has a large collection of his paintings, and he is also represented at the Mitchell library at Sydney and the Commonwealth national library at Canberra.
W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London, July 1887; E. Hodder, George Fife Angas; George French Angas, Savage Life and Scenes in Australia and New Zealand, and other works by him; Royal Society Catalogue of Scientific Papers; Introduction, Guide to the Australian Museum, 1890.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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