Collins, Charles Allston

BORN 25 Jan 1828, London: Pond Street, Hampstead - DIED 9 Apr 1873, London: 10 Thurloe Place, South Kensington
CAUSE OF DEATH cancer of the stomach
GRAVE LOCATION London: Brompton Cemetery, Old Brompton Road, West Brompton (E 134,,0 x 18,,3)

Son of landscape painter William Collins RA and younger brother of writer Wilkie Collins. His paintings were conventional until in 1850 he changed his style under influence of his friend Millais. Without being a formal member of the Preraphaelite Brotherhood he was close to several members.

His most important painting is "Convent Thoughts", which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1851 along with paintings by Millais and Hunt. They were attacked savagely by the critics. John Ruskin wrote a letter to The Times (May 13th, 1851) in which he defended Collins. "Convent Thoughts" is now at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

Charles had so much trouble finishing his paintings (caused by both mental and physical reasons) that in 1857 he decided to try his hand on writing instead. He published a novel, "The Bar Sinister", but he hardly managed to earn a living and the couple had to be supported financially by Dickens and his brother Wilkie.

The religious Collins first fell in love with Maria Rossetti, Gabriel Dante Rossetti's sister, but nothing came of it. In 1860 he married Kate, the daughter of Charles Dickens, who was a close friend of his worldly brother Wilkie and not enthousiastic about his new son in law. It seems that the marriage was never consumated. Charles' health detoriated further and it was rumoured that he knew he was impotent before he married. Kate confirmed towards the end of her life that 'he ought never to have married'. She nursed him, but after a long struggle against stomach cancer he died in 1873, surrounded by his half-finished paintings.

• Father: Collins, William
• Wife: Dickens, Kate (1860-1873, Gad's Hill Place, Kent)
• Brother: Collins, Wilkie

Related persons
• is brother/sister of Collins, Wilkie
• was a friend of Hunt, William Holman
• was a friend of Millais, John

23/2/1847Burial of William Collins at Paddington Green Churchyard. At the Saint Mary on Paddington Green Churchyard in London. He was buried in the grave where his mother Margaret and his brother Frank were buried before. Among those present were his wife Harriet, his sons Wilkie and Charles, the painters Thomas Uwins and Charles Leslie and his friend Joseph Bullar as well as his brother John Bullar. [Collins, Wilkie][Collins, William][Leslie, Charles]


The grave of Charles Collins at Brompton Cemetery, London.
Picture by Androom (13 May 2011)


• Clarke, William M., The Secret Life of Wilkie Collins, Allison & Busby/W.H. Allen, London, 1988
• Hawksley, Lucinda, Charles Dickens' Favorite Daughter, The Life, Loves and Art of Katey Dickens Perugini, Lyons Press, Guilford, Connecticut, 2013
• Peters, Catherine, The King of Inventors, A Life of Wilkie Collins, Seeker & Warburg, London, 1991

Collins, Wilkie

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 08 Mar 2022