Charles Eastlake Biography

Charles Locke Eastlake (1836-1906) was an English architect who is more famous for his role as a writer and journalist. He was the one who gave his name and dedication to the new furniture style of the 19th century.

Charles Eastlake
Charles Eastlake

Family and Early Education of Charles Eastlake

Eastlake was born in Plymouth as the youngest son of George Eastlake, who was an agent of admiralty and a Judge-advocate. His father was known to have gifted with talent but he was an idle kind of person. His uncle was a Neoclassical painter and the first director of the National Gallery of London. His uncle was unmarried and hence childless, so he uses to spent most of his time with Charles Eastlake.

He started his early schooling at Plympton Grammar School. At the age of 14, he went to study at Charterhouse School in London. But he soon left the school for sake of art under his one of the townsman Haydon. He then entered the Royal Academy schools as a pupil in 1809.

Career and Achievements of Charles Locke Eastlake

In 1815, Eastlake was busy in studying the portraits of his native town when he Napoleon, the ex-emperor, arrived there to visit. He took a deep interest in him and observed him very carefully and then he painted a life-size picture of him. This workpiece of him caught everyone’s attention and the painting was then sold and Eastlake was given an opportunity to visit Italy in 1817.

In 1819, he was commissioned by his first patron Mr. Harman in Greece to sketch the architectural remains and also to work on the scenes surrounding. Mr. Brockledon, a painter and Sir Charles Barry, an architect accompanied him in some of his journeys to this task. He also visited Malta and Sicily while on his journey.

He then canvassed “Mercury bringing the Golden Apple to Paris” in the life-size picture. In 1820, he came back to England as a result of his father’s death. He then went to Hume and painted day to day life of the locals, customs and traditions of the new era Italy and many illustrations that depicted the local appearance of inhabitants.

In 1823 he first exhibited at the Royal Academy. In 1827 he was appointed by the Duke of Devonshire to paint a picture that depicts the story of “The Spartan Isidas” who were misunderstood as Gods as they were naked in the battlefield holding their swords and spears. It took almost two years for him to complete this picture and it then became a new sensation for another artist.

In 1827, he was also elected as an associate to the Royal Academy. In 1830, he was then elected as the full member of the Royal Academy. He then returned to England to get settled in London. he was then elected as a president of the Royal Academy and then exhibited five of his paintings on various subjects.

In 1841, he was chosen as the secretary to the Royal Commission to decorate the parliamentary new houses and also to promote the Fine Arts. In 1842, he was appointed as a librarian to the Royal Academy and in the next year, he was chosen as the Keeper of the National Gallery. However, he resigned from the post in1847.

In 1850, he was elected as the president of the Royal Academy after the death of Sir Martin Shee. Later he received the customary honor of the Knight-hood. Later he was also the trustee of the National Gallery and in 1855, for five years he was made the director. The tenure was renewed twice in 1860 and 1865 again.

He left England in 1865 to take a tour of the continent for taking inspiration for his new exhibition at the National Gallery. He became too ill while his stay in Milan, but he pushed himself to move to Pisa where he eventually died in December 1865. He was grounded at the English Cemetery of the Florence.

Works by Charles Eastlake

Some of his major works that were highly appreciated are

  • “Held for Ransom”

    Held for Ransom
    Held for Ransom
  • “A peasant Woman fainting from the bite of a serpent”

    A Peasant Woman Fainting from the Bite of a Serpent
    A Peasant Woman Fainting from the Bite of a Serpent
  • “Lord Byron’s Dream”

    Lord Byron's Dream
    Lord Byron’s Dream
  • “Moses and the daughter of Jethro”

    Moses and the Daughters of Jethro
    Moses and the Daughters of Jethro
  • “Haidee, a Greek Girl”

    Haidee a Greek Girl
    Haidee a Greek Girl
  • “The Trajan Forum Rome”

    The Trajan Forum
    The Trajan Forum

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