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Born in 1793, Augustus Earle was the son of James Earl and the nephew of Ralph Earl (Augustus added the final ‘e’ to the family name), two well known American painters. He arrived in Australia in 1825, landing at Hobart Town. Four months later, after painting a few portraits he left for Sydney. There he quickly established himself as the colony’s leading artist, taking on many commissions for the wealthy non-convict Sydney society.
In July 1826, Earle advertised the opening of his art gallery in George Street, and by August he had been given a lithographic press on which the first lithographic prints in the colony were produced. Throughout 1827 he travelled extensively around the colony, and by October he had sailed for New Zealand, returning to Sydney six months later. He departed the colony in October 1828.
He continued to travel and whilst in London he completed lithographs and paintings from his Australian drawings.