Eastlake, Charles Locke (DNB12)

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EASTLAKE, CHARLES LOCKE (1836–1906), keeper of the National Gallery, London, born on 11 March 1836 at Plymouth, was fourth son of George Eastlake, who was admiralty law agent and deputy judge advocate of the fleet. His father's brother was Sir Charles Eastlako [q. v.], president of the Royal Academy. He was educated at Westminster School, where he became Queen's scholar in 1846. He maintained through life his interest in the school and in later years joined the governing body. Showing a taste for architecture, he became a pupil of Philip Hardwick, R. A. [q. v.], and then entered the Royal Academy Schools. There in 1854 he gained a silver medal for architectural drawings, and he exhibited two designs at the Academy in 1855-6. Developing some skill in water-colours, he gave up architectural work and for three years studied art abroad. On his return to England his interest again changed, and he devoted himself to literary work and design in various branches of industrial art.

From 1866 to 1877 he was secretary of the Royal Institute of British Architects. In 1878 Lord Beaconsfield appointed him keeper and secretary of the National Gallery, and he performed efficiently the duties of this post till 1898. During that period he rearranged and classified all the paintings at Trafalgar Square under the different schools to which they belonged, and had them placed under glass to protect them from the London atmosphere. He opened several rooms for the exhibition of Turner's sketches and water-colour drawings, and increased the accommodation for art students and copyists. He was greatly disappointed that he did not succeed Sir Frederic Burton [q. v. Supp. I], who retired in 1894, as director of the gallery. The post then fell to Sir Edward Poynter, and four years later Eastlake retired from the keepership.

Eastlake made a substantial reputation as a writer on art, publishing several books and occasionally contributing to the leading magazines. His earliest and best-known book, 'Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery, and Other Details' (1868), shows strong Gothic bias; it at once became popular in England and America; it reached its fourth London edition in 1887. The sixth American edition (New York, 1881) has notes by Mr. C. C. Perkins. 'A History of the Gothic Revival' followed in 1871. In 1876 he issued 'Lectures on Decorative Art and Art Workmanship,' which he had delivered at the Social Science Congress. A series of illustrated 'Notes on the Principal Pictures' in foreign galleries dealt with the Brera Gallery at Milan (1883), the Louvre at Paris (1883), the old Pinakothek at Munich (1884), and the Royal Gallery at Venice (1888). In 1895, under the pseudonym of Jack Easel, he published 'Our Square and Circle,' a series of social essays.

Eastlake died on 20 Nov. 1906 at his house in Leinster Square, Bayswater, and was buried at Kensal Green. He married on 1 Oct. 1856 Eliza, youngest daughter of George Bailey; she survived him without issue until 2 Nov. 1911.

An oil painting by Mr. Shirley Fox belonged to Mrs. Eastlake.

[Art Journ. 1906; The Times, 22 Nov. 1906; Who's Who, 1906; Lady Eastlake, Memoirs of Sir Charles Eastlake.]

F. W. G-n.