EARLE, Augustus (c.1790-c.1839)


EARLE, Augustus (c.1790-c.1839)
artist
son of James Earle (1761-96), an American artist of ability who was living in London between about 1780 and 1796 (Dict. of American Biog. vol. V under Earle Ralph). Augustus Earle was born about 1790, and following his father's profession exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy in 1806. Six other pictures by him were shown at the academy between 1808 and 1835. He travelled in the Mediterranean, returned to England in 1817, and then went to the United States where he stayed for two years. In February 1820 he went to Rio de Janeiro, and spent about a year in various parts of South America before returning to Rio de Janeiro. There he stayed until the beginning of 1824 when he left for Calcutta. On the way his vessel called at the island of Tristan D'Acunha where he was marooned for several weeks, his ship sailing while he was on shore. He was taken off by a ship on its way to Tasmania, and arrived at Hobart on 18 January 1825. After a stay of about nine months he went to Sydney, where he lived for about two years. He did much painting in watercolours and obtained commissions for portraits from several of the leading colonists. In 1827 he sent a set of eight paintings of Sydney to London to be used for Robert Burford's panorama of Sydney. A similar set of Hobart views was forwarded in the same year. On 20 October 1827 Earle left for New Zealand where he spent several months before returning to Sydney. On 12 October 1828 he left Sydney and went to Madras, where he was successful as a portrait painter, but his health broke down and he was compelled to return to England. In 1830 he published Views in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, Australian Scrap Book. The eight views were all of New South Wales subjects. At the end of December 1831 he left England as draughtsman on the Beagle, which was making a surveying voyage with Darwin as its naturalist. Earle's health became so bad that he was unable to remain on board after August 1832. His place was taken by Conrad Martens (q.v.). Earle stayed at Monte Video for some months and then returned to England. He had two pictures in the 1837 Academy and one in the 1838 exhibition. His A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand had been published in London in 1832 and in 1838 appeared Sketches Illustrative of the Native Inhabitants and Islands of New Zealand. Earle died between 1838 and 1840. There is a portrait by him of Captain John Piper (q.v.) at the Mitchell library. A collection of 160 water-colour drawings by Earle, chiefly of scenes in New South Wales and New Zealand, was sold by auction by Sotheby and Company, London, on 4 May 1926.
Dictionary of American Biography, vol. V, under Earle, James and Earle, Ralph; Introduction to Earle's A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand; Sir William Dixson, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. V, pp. 287-291; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers, vol. II; Narrative of the Surveying Voyage of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle, vol. II, p. 20; Catalogue of an Important Collection of Water-Colour Drawings by Augustus Earle.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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