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Charles Abraham

1816 – 1885

Charles Abraham, son of a London architect, trained at the Royal Academy schools under the sculptor Sierier, and for a further three years in Paris and Rome. In March 1843, The Australian reported that Abraham had arrived in Sydney following an ‘unsuccessful adventure’ in New Zealand and had received the commission to sculpt the heads of saints and apostles on the Roman Catholic Church then under construction at Church Hill. In 1844, Sir Thomas Mitchell commissioned him to carve a bust from the Australian marble that Davidson discovered in 1842. By 1845 Abraham had established a studio at corner of Elizabeth and Market streets, Sydney working in clay and plaster. In February he held the first exhibition of colonial sculpture in New South Wales and was broadly praised. Many prominent figures sat to him, including Governor Sir George Gipps and Charles Windeyer; William Wentworth commissioned a bust of his eldest daughter Thomasine. Abraham’s work appeared in the Society for the Promotion of the Fine Arts’ inaugural 1847 exhibition and its second exhibition in 1849. Advertising new busts sold from his studio in Pitt St South, by 1866, he had moved to a studio behind ‘Mr Billyard’s residence, at Darlinghurst, near St. John's Church’ - an indication that demand for his work had diminished. When Sir John Young ended his term as Governor in 1867, Abraham advertised casts of the Governors’ bust as mementoes.

Updated 2018