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Charles Summers

1825 – 1878

Charles Summers (1825-1878) was an English born sculptor, who came to Australia in 1852. He studied carving with his father who was a stone mason. Summers had a successful career in London in the 1840s, however he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and advised to take a sea voyage to Australia as a cure. After arriving here he spent a brief period prospecting on the Victorian gold fields, before resuming his career as a sculptor in Melbourne. He was commissioned to supervise the stone carvings for Victoria's Parliament House and he designed the medal for the 1866 Intercolonial Exhibition. His bronze and stone memorial to the explorers, Burke and Wills, which stands that stands in the centre of Melbourne at 5.49m in height, remains the largest bronze ever completed by a sculptor working in Australia. It is considered one of the best examples of his work and established his reputation as one of the most celebrated Australian sculptors of his time. He returned to London in 1867 and after a tour of the Continent, established a studio at Via Margutta, Rome. His work appeared in the Bicentennial exhibition, The Great Australian Art Exhibition. He is represented in a number of state and regional galleries, the National Museum of Victoria, the NSW and Victorian Houses of Parliament, the Mitchell Library and State Library in NSW, as well as the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Updated 2018