Charles Rodius, convict artist, Robert Stevens

Vol 42 no 1, Feb 2020
Article from Vol 42 no 1, Feb 2020

Charles Rodius, convict artist, Robert Stevens


Charles Rodius began his prolific art career in Paris and London. Convicted of thefts in 1829, he was transported to Sydney, where the convict artist produced landscapes, portraits of leading Sydney settlers as well as notable portraits of Aboriginal people, many translated into lithographs. Rodius had a good singing voice. From 1839, aged about 37, he began to suffer a series of strokes that severely affected his ability to draw. To compete with the new technique of popular, cheap but generally unsympathetic photographic portraits, in 1850 he travelled through NSW and Victoria offering his emotive hand-drawn portraits. Robert Stevens analyses his career in more detail than previously, alongside a selection of images from his large output.

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The Australiana Society acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples – the First Australians – as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this land and gives respect to the Elders – past and present – and through them to all Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.