RICHARDSON, Charles Douglas (1853-1932)


RICHARDSON, Charles Douglas (1853-1932)
sculptor
was born at Islington, London, on 9 July 1853, the son of John Richardson a painter of figure subjects. He came to Victoria with his parents in 1858 and was educated at Scotch College, Melbourne. On leaving school, having been apprenticed to a firm of lithographic printers, he studied at schools of design and the national gallery, Melbourne, and in 1881 went to London. He entered at the Royal Academy schools and was successful in winning the second prize for painting in 1883. In the following year he won the Armitage medal for painting and first prize for sculpture. Examples of his work in both painting and sculpture were shown at the Royal Academy exhibitions of 1885 and 1888.
In 1889 Richardson returned to Australia. He took an interest in the Victorian Artists' Society and for some time was its honorary secretary. In 1898 he founded the Yarra Sculptors' Society and was its president for several years. In 1916 he was elected president of the Victorian Artists' Society and held the position for 12 years, a longer term than that of any other artist. As president he showed a kindly interest in the work of younger men. He died at Brighton, near Melbourne, on 15 October 1932. He married in 1914, Margaret Baskerville (1861-1930) sculptor, who had been his pupil. The two large reliefs in the vestibule of the Capitol theatre, Melbourne, were their joint work.
Richardson did his best work in sculpture, but his gentle and unassuming nature made it impossible for him to push his claims, and his merits were too often overlooked. His largest work "The Discovery of Gold at Bendigo" scarcely shows him at his best. Of his war memorial work examples may be found in the shrine at All Saints', St Kilda, Strathalbyn, South Australia, and at Wangaratta, Kerang, Mount Dandenong and the Commercial Travellers' Association, Melbourne. Some of his best work, such as "The Cloud", "Cain", and "The Mirage", was never put into permanent form. He spent much of his time doing hack work, of which the copy of the Mercury of John of Bologna for the Age office, Collins-street, Melbourne, is an example. He painted in both oils and water-colours but his work in these mediums too often lacked strength. Several examples of Richardson's work may be seen at the municipal collection at Brighton, a suburb of Melbourne.
E. Fysh, Memoirs of C. D. Richardson; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; A. Graves, The Royal Academy Exhibitors; The Herald, Melbourne, 25 September 1930; personal knoweledge.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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