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Augustine Aglio

Photographer & Painter, Sculptor & Architect
son of  Agostino Aglio and Letitia Clarke


Taken from  The Life and Times of the Dibdin - Aglio Family

More details about Augustine Aglio

Married Margaret Absolon, the sister of John Absolon the painter, in 1846

They had 4 children

Augustine Joseph Aglio born March 1847  died 1848

Letitia M Aglio born Sept 1848 - Great Aunt Letitia  who married Frederick Pape [ In 1881 she lived with Uncle John Absolon, the painter, at 106 Palace Gardens Terrace - In 1891 she was married and was living at 105 Cavendish Road with a family around her including her own mother and her sister in law ]

Marian Aglio,  (or Marion) born 14 Jan 1851 - Christened 29 Aug 1852 Old Church, Saint Pancras,London, England, who married William Joseph Dibdin.

Mysie (Mytie Mydie) E M Aglio born about 1853

It seems likely that he lived with his parents at 2 Osnaburg Road, perhaps working with his father, until he married and move out to 4 Oval up in Camden Town. After some years the family moved to 87 St Pauls Road Islington

Augustine Aglio is an enigma. From the little we know about his life, it would seem that he dabbled in a great deal and achieved much. His paintings are recognised in the art world. Unlike the other main characters of this booklet we do not have biographies or autobiographies. An article by Yockney and a short comment on the website PhotoLondon is all we have to add to a handful of letters that give a clue as to his work activities.


Sadly these do not give much information with which to build up a picture of life for Augustine as we do for his father. It seems that he lived with his father near Regents Park until he got married to Margaret Absolon and then moved up to Camden Town.  We have the anecdotal evidence that it was here that he entertained John Absolon, his brother in law who was living near the south west corner of Regents Park and another family artist Thomas Colman Dibdin who lived at Somer Town nearby.


We have the note than during the period the T C Dibdin was living in Banstead with his family they would all stay with Augustine on his visits to London. It was during these visits the his daughter and William Joseph would have met up even at the

early age of 12 and initiated their lifetime relationship.

No.4 Oval Road is the second house to the right


We had record that after this Augustine set up business as a photographer in 201, Piccadilly with his nephew in law, Hugh Wolfgang de Mansfield Absolon, for a few years from 1852.

We have a summary biography from the PhotoLondon website

Aglio, Ludovico Cajetanus Augustinus
Born Kensington October 1816.
Christened October 16 1816 Hammersmith.
Md Margaret Absolon (daughter of John Absolon (q.v.) February 7 1846 in St Pancras.
Son of Agostino Aglio (1777 - 1857), engraver and lithographer.
3 daughters.
Partnership with Hugh Wolfgang de Mansfield Absolon, as Aglio & Absolon.
Absolon Family 

STUDIO: 201 Piccadilly, Westminster 1852 - 1853. Successors to Friedrich Droege.
Exhibited at various galleries 1836 - 1875. (including RA 1854 & 1864).
1851: as artist, painter, sculptor & architect 34 Sidney Street, Brompton, Kensington.
As artist and drawing master 4 Oval Road, Camden Town, St Pancras 1858 - 1863.
At 87 St Paul's Road, Camden Town, St Pancras 1864 - 1881.
Died at 36 Gloucester Crescent, Regent's Park, St Pancras March 11 1885.
Sister Mary Elizabeth Aglio exhibited at RA 1851 from Sidney Street, Brompton, Kensington.
LITERATURE: Alfred Yockney. The Aglio family in Apollo Vol 38 November 1943 pp 145 - 146; Boase Vol 4; Graves.

 The above emphasises his work as a photographer and mentions other types of artistic work that he did.

The reference to Mary Elizabeth, his sister is interesting as she was obviously a capable artist and exhibited in the R.A.


By Mary Elizabeth  Aglio

It seems likely that Augustine worked closely with his father particularly as he lived with the family until he was 30 and got married and the lived nearby. By the time his father had reached the age of 69, he had complete the Buckingham Palace work but was still painting. In that year he painted several rooms in Woolley Hall in Yorkshire and in 1848 took on the job of decorating the Olympic Theatre. It is recorded in Agostino’s autobiography that his son helped him with the painting of the Olympic theatre. This was when Augustine was aged 31 years old and his father was 71.

The following year Agostino had a stroke and was partly paralysed using his left had for doing a few watercolours.

It seems that although buried in Highgate cemetery, he was living beforehand at Beresford Road which may have been in Greenwich which is rather strange.

Regarding Augustine Aglio’s painting, there is an article by Alfred Yockney. (1878-1963)

 “Like his father, the young Aglio developed a taste for sculpture and his first exhibit were in this medium. He also inherited an aptitude for lithography and print however, as a painter in water colours that he is usually "placed." He showed at the Royal Academy, the British Institution, the Society of British Artists, and elsewhere, re­vealing an instinct for nature which established him in favour as a practising artist and as a teacher of landscape painting. His output was restricted through his duties as an Art Master. He worked mainly in the Home Counties, and when he travelled further a field he preferred Devon, Cornwall, York­shire and Shropshire, in which county, particularly at and around Ludlow, he found good inspiration, like many other XIXth century artists from Turner to Steer. With a good eye for a subject. Aglio chose broad acres and wooded country, revelling in the effect of sunshine on foliage, the play of strong shadows on verdant fields, the mystery of dis­tant landscape dissolving into the sky. Spaciousness was one of his guiding motives, and his rural panoramas in full colour give a vivid impression of the England of his day. A church lower, a farmstead, a thatched cottage or a village entered naturally into his compositions. He seemed to prefer these features as accessories, but when he took an architectural theme, such as Ludlow Castle, he understood the structural values and gave due weight to his interpretations. His clean brush work appealed to his fellow artists and remains as a distinctive characteristic of his style.

The work of artists whose names reappear are some­times of more interest in history than time has allowed.

It may be so in the case of Aglio. well known for two generations and not forgotten but absent from notice through the scarcity of their works.

Drawings by such artists as Aglio, father and son, were typical of the talent common in the XlXth century.”


Yockney refers to Augustine being a teacher and there is a letter from Bedford College in regards to his application for a post to which Eyre Crowe was appointed as Professorship of Drawing.


Eyre Crowe (1824–1910) was an English painter, principally of historical art and genre scenes, but with an interest in social realism. He was born in London but grew up in France.


Artists like many other creative artisans often have to supplement their living by teaching, privately. Agostino did some teaching early in his career in London and it seems that his son did likewise. In 1861 Augustine was paid £6.15.0 by Lady Warwick of St James Palace, Stable Yard for work which was perhaps teaching her family, although it may have been for portraiture.


Between 1870 and 1878 he was living at 87 St Paul’s Road  Islington with his family.


In 1875 he produced a summary biography for Sam Redgrave who was producing a Dictionary of Artists to include Agostino Aglio.


Augustine would have had similar issues as his father when traveling round London although after 1834 the Hanson Cab was available but not the horse drawn tram.

Alfred Yockney ( See article by Yockney regarding the Aglio Family) suggests the he did travel round England visiting and painting landscapes and but it is likely that he would have been able to travel by the new mode of transport, the train which was becoming established during the 1840’s.  The journey from London to Yorkshire by stage coach would have taken a couple of day whereas by train it would be only a  few hours.

It is difficult to identify exactly what  Augustine did for a living  as he seems to have had a finger in so many pies and been competent in so many creative areas. The fact that he was able to devout what ever time was necessary at the age of  thirty one to helping his father with painting a theatre and then about 6 years after getting married he sets up a photographic studio in Piccadilly suggest that he was entrepreneurial as well as being a jack of all trades. In 1840 when he was twenty three it is suggested from letters that he took on a project of creating replica stone “Medici Vases” with a view of selling them to various nobility and well to do gentlemen for their county houses. Sadly there are 11 letters of rejection and none of acceptance.

These letters were all addressed to 2 Osnaburgh St but it is unlikely that his father would have been taking on such a project.

In 1860 Augustine asked the singer, William Ley to sing for him at the newly opened St James Hall in Regents Street. The invitation was accepted.

The Railway Station by William Frith 1862 giving some idea of the bussle surrounding travel at that time 
and the style of train

Augustine obviously would have used a train at sometime in his life to travel around the country and there is a possibility that to get around London he may have hired a Sedan chair. These functioned in London like a hackney carriage but although one had protection against the filthy streets they could be slower than walking.


It is worth mentioning that Frederick Rowntree when visiting Chengtu to design the University buildings was carried in a Sedan Chair. See Fred Rowntree in Chengtu 

It may be that Augustine saw himself as an extension of his father, in so far as it must have been him that fed Frederico Sacchi all the information for the Italian Biography written in 1868 and also wrote out by hand the English translation in full.


One letter, in 1877, indicates that he submitted a drawing for publication to the Illustrated London News but this was rejected


Augustine Aglio was a competent water colourist and amongst the paintings in the archive there are many which are signed A.Aglio and which are difficult to identify as to which Aglio painted them.

The classical drawings and paintings are obviously by Agostino as are any prints published of antiquity and some portrait drawings.  There are some landscapes which are “classical” in style and so would naturally be assumed to be by Agostino but it would be foolish to assume that all the others which tend to be freer were by Augustine.


Bearing in mind that Agostino had a stroke and still continued to paint with his left hand for a few years, it would be reasonable to assume that some of the landscape sketches were by him.


A thorough analysis of all the available works of art may be able to sort out this issue in the future. It is interesting to note that sometimes one comes across paintings on the internet that are attributed to the wrong Aglio, but this is hardly surprising bearing in mind that the father found it beneficial to use the name Augustine on occasions in England.


A collection of painting by both artists are available to view on www.guise.me.uk


Photograph of Augustine Aglio Sketching


It is interesting to speculate as to who all the people in the photograph, but there is a possibility that they may be the grandchildren of Thomas Colman Dibdin or those of his wife’s brother John Absolon.


A close look at paintings by Augustine and John Absolon suggests that they spent time together painting.


Augustine Aglio died at Gloucester Crescent, Regents Park. 1885


His wife Margaret Aglio nee Absolon lived on till 1906 and died in the Epsom area.