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Nicholas Chevalier (1828–1902)

from Sydney Morning Herald

It appears, from accounts of the late Nicholas Chevalier, published in the "Morning Post " of March 18, that since 1887 the deceased artist had been compelled to winter at Madeira. He had not painted since 1803, but lived in retirement at Sydenham Hill, where he died at his residence, Ashmore. He received his art education in Munich and Rome, and was then sent to Australia by his father to settle certain business matters Mr Chevalier was then about to sail for Europe, when the "Melbourne Punch" was started. He accepted a tempting salary for a young man to join the artistic staff of the new paper, and settled for several years in Melbourne, dovoting himself to every kind of pictorial work in black and white. In 1860 he started for New Zealand, and artistically explored many beautiful regions, always travelling with packhorses and camping out. The result of the tour was several hundreds of watercolour sketches, which were shown in the Australian colonies, and thence sent to the Paris Exhibition of 1867, coming afterwards to London for exhibition. Mr Chevalier was one of the promoters of the first national picture galleries in Australia. He gained a prize of £200 given by the colonial Government for a picture which formed the nucleus of the Melbourne Gallery. From the beginning of the Art Gallery of Sydney Mr Chevalier acted as honorary purchaser. In conjunction with Mr C. M. Smith, who performed the financial duties, he selected works of art for 18 years. For five years more he co-operated with Mr Devitt and the Earl of Carlisle in the interest of the Sydney Gallery.

Some 33 years ago Mr Chevalier decided to return to Europe, and had made all preparations for doing so, when he received an invitation from the late Duke of Saxo-Coburg and Gotha to accompany him in the Galatea on his trip round the world. Accordingly in January, 1869, he sailed from Melbourne with his Royal Highness on the interesting cruise, leaving the vessel ultimately at Ceylon. Mr Chevalier arrived in London in 1870, and settled at Portchester-terrace, Hyde Park. From that time he was actively employed. For the Duke of Edinburgh he produced 130 watercolour drawings of the Royal tour. By command of Queen Victoria he executed many pictures, the first being "The Thanksgiving Day at St. Paul's." Her late Majesty also sent him to St. Petersburg to paint the spectacle of the Russian and British ceremonial of the marriage of the Duke of Edinburgh. King Edward directed Mr Chevalier to accompany him to Vienna to sketch the scene of the opening of the great exhibition there, and in addition he was yearly represented at the Royal Academy. Mr Chevalier spoke English, French German, Russian, Italian, and Portuguese fluently. He was also a good violinist and was one of the founders of the Royal Amateur Orchestral Society.

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Citation details

'Chevalier, Nicholas (1828–1902)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


9 May, 1828
St Petersburg, Russia


15 March, 1902 (aged 73)
London, Middlesex, England

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