Charles Collins, Wick House, Dorking, c.1900, oil on canvas, Aigantighe Art Gallery Collection 1956.12
Since the South Canterbury Art Society was founded in 1895, the Society activity set about collecting art works by national and international artists to support its aim to promote the study, practice and enjoyment of the arts. By the 1950‘s the Society had a collection of over 50 works, which was generously gifted to the Aigantighe Art Gallery and the people of Timaru in 1956.
One of the paintings the Society purchased in 1910, and later gifted to the Aigantighe Art Gallery, was an oil painting by English artist Charles Collins (1851-1921), entitled Wick House, Dorking. Alfred Charles Jerome Collins was born in Hampstead in 1851. Encouraged by his father, who was also an artist, Collins began painting at a very early age, painting mainly picturesque landscapes with cattle and figures. He later studied at the West London School of Art. In 1876 he married Georgiana Waddingham and had nine children - who Charles often included in his paintings.
Collins was a prolific artist and exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy of Arts, in Burlington House, London from 1867 to 1903. He also exhibited at the Royal Society of British Artists, which was established in 1823, and at the Royal Watercolour Society.
For many years he illustrated books and produced postcards for the well-known publisher Ernest Nister (1841-1906). He also held the post of Art Master at Dorking High School for many years. He died in September 1921, after being knocked down in Vincent Lane, Dorking.