The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Summers, Charles
Summers, Charles, whose work as a sculptor will always be associated with early Australian art, was born at Charlton, near Ilminster, July 27th, 1827. In early life he worked with his father as a mason in various English towns, and it was while so working at Weston-super-Mare that his innate artistic talent was brought under the notice of the eminent sculptor, Henry Weekes, R.A., who was then engaged on a monumental figure in that place. Young Charles Summers was taken into Weekes' studio, and began his art career; afterward he entered the studio of Watson, and assisted in the monumental group of Lords Eldon and Stowell, now at Oxford. He was admitted as student to the Royal Academy in 1850, and obtained the silver medal for modelling from the antique. In the following year he had the almost unique honour of receiving on the same evening the first silver medal for the best model from life, and the gold medal for the best piece of historical sculpture. After exhibiting with s access at the Academy, Charles Summers emigrated to Melbourne in 1853, and after trying the diggings, opened a studio in Collins Street, and followed his art with great success. His chief work was the colossal bronze statue of the ill-fated explorers Burke and Wills, which he not only modelled but cast in bronze with his own hands. In 1866 he left Melbourne for Rome, where he executed a number of works, some of special Australian interest, such as the recumbent figure of Lady Macleay in Godstone Church, Surrey, and a bust of Viscount Canterbury. In 1876 Mr. Summers received a commission from Mr. (now Sir William) Clarke, to execute statues of the Queen, Prince Consort, and the Prince and Princess of Wales, for the Melbourne Public Library. These were finished in 1878 and sent to Victoria, whither the sculptor himself intended to follow, but was suddenly seized with a fit, and died at Paris on Nov. 30th, 1878. He was buried in his favourite city, Rome.