Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Collins, Charles Allston

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COLLINS, CHARLES ALLSTON (1828–1873), painter and author, second son of William Collins, R.A. (1788–1847) [q. v.], was born on 25 Jan. 1828, and showed at an early age inherited gifts in art, which encouraged his father to permit him to study in the schools of the Royal Academy. On completing his education as a student, he attached himself to the once famous 'Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood,' and produced pictures which, after attracting general attention at the Royal Academy, took their place among the deservedly valued possessions of collectors of works of art. But it was in the modest and sensitive nature of the man to underrate his own success. His ideal was a high one; and he never succeeded in satisfying nis own aspirations. The later years of his life were devoted to literature. In 1860 he married Kate, the younger daughter of Charles Dickens. He was the author of the series of essays (first published in 'All the Year Round') called 'The Eye-witness;' a work distinguished by subtle observation and delicate sense of humour. 'A Cruise on Wheels,' 'A Sentimental Journey,' and two novels, showing rare ability in the presentation of character, steadily improved his position with readers and gave promise of achievement in the future, never destined to be fulfilled. The last years of his life were years of broken health and acute suffering, borne with a patience and courage known only to those nearest and dearest to him. He died on 9 April 1873, in the forty-fifth year of his age.

[Private information.]

W. C.