Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Aglio, Augustine

AGLIO, AUGUSTINE (1777–1857), painter, decorator, and lithographer, was born at Cremona and educated at Milan. About 1801 William Wilkins, the architect, afterwards R.A., made his acquaintance abroad, and travelled with him in Italy and Greece. Aglio executed in aquatint the illustrations to Wilkins's ‘Magna Græcia.’ He returned to Rome in 1802, and afterwards came to England, where he settled and spent the remainder of his life. He decorated the Opera House in 1804, Drury Lane Theatre in 1806, and the Pantheon in 1811. In 1819 he painted the ceiling and altar-piece of the Roman catholic chapel in Moorfields, and he decorated the summer-house in the gardens of Buckingham Palace and the Olympic Theatre. From 1807 to 1846 he was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy, and sent many works to the exhibitions of the Society of British Artists. His contributions to the Academy were principally landscapes, but to the society he sent many scriptural pieces. A portrait of George IV as a Knight of the Garter was lithographed by Aglio in 1823. In 1840 he exhibited at the Royal Academy a picture of ‘The Enthronisation of Queen Victoria,’ which, with two portraits of the queen and others of his works, have been engraved. In 1844 and 1847 he competed unsuccessfully for the decoration of the Houses of Parliament, sending on the first occasion a large landscape with figures in fresco, and on the second a large oil picture of Rebecca. He was an artist of much industry and versatility, but of no great talent. His most extensive performance was a work called ‘Antiquities of Mexico,’ illustrated with a thousand lithographic plates from ancient Mexican paintings and hieroglyphics in the royal libraries of Europe. This work was executed at the expense of Lord Kingsborough. Nine volumes out of ten projected were finished and issued in folio (1830–48). A set at the British Museum contains sixty pages of the tenth volume. Aglio also published ‘Twelve Pictures of Killarney,’ ‘A Collection of Capitals and Friezes, drawn from the Antique’ (1820), ‘Sketches of the Decorations in Woolley Hall, Yorkshire’ (1821), and ‘Studies of various Trees and Forest Scenery’ (two numbers only, 1831). Aglio died 30 Jan. 1859, and was buried in Highgate Cemetery.

[Bryan's Dict.; Pilkington; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Catalogues of Royal Academy and Society of British Artists; Nagler's Künstler-Lexikon(edited by Meyer, 1872).]

C. M.