What the Dickens Ever Happened To Perugini?

Italian-born English painter of the Romantic and Victorian era, Charles Edward Perugini was born in Naples, Italy, on 1 September, 1839, as Carlo Perugini. The family migrated to England when Perugini was six years of age. By the age of 17, he was back in Italy studying art under Giuseppe Bonolis and Giuseppe Mancinelli, and later in Paris under Ary Scheffer.

Perugini became a protégé of Lord Leighton, who brought the 24 year old back to England in 1863. Perugini may at first have worked as Leighton’s studio assistant. Under Leighton’s influence, he began as a painter of classical scenes; then “he turned to the more profitable pastures of portrait painting, and genre pictures of pretty women and children.” (as shown in ‘Dressing Up’ and ‘At The Well’, shown above).

Perugini married Kate, the youngest daughter of novelist Charles Dickens, in 1874. Kate (Perugini) pursued her own artistic career, sometimes collaborating with her husband.

  • Perugini’s portrait of Sophie Gray (see above), was the sister-in-law of Pre-Raphaelite painter Sir John Everett Millais, and was for many years, mistaken for a work by Millais himself.

Although Perugini and his wife Kate maintained an active social life in the artistic circles of their era, Charles Edward Perugini died in London, on 22 December, 1918.

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