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Agostino Maria Aglio Senior  

(Augustino or Augustine)


Painter & Engraver


Self Portrait

Born 15 Dec 1777 in Cremona

Father:        Gaetano Aglio
Mother:      Anna Maria Mondoni
He had one brother and two sisters who died of smallpox within a year of his birth .

Married : Letitia Clarke 
16th March 1805 
Saint Anne Soho, Westminster, London, 

son Augustine Aglio
daughter Emma Walsh
daughter Mary Elizabeth

Died 30 January 1857  

Link to The Clarke Family

Link to the Walsh Family

Painting by his Great Granddaughter 
Marian Aglio Montford (nee Dibdin)

Other Links
First Scrapbook containing work by Agostino

Aglio Museum of interesting bits and pieces

Article by Yockney of the Aglio Family

Article regarding the design of Edwardes Square

Link to the complete work on Mexican Antiquities at 
Real Academia de la Historia

Agostino Aglio Sr. was born at Cremona in 1777 and came to England in 1803 at the invitation of Mr William Wilkins (architect). He married Letitia Clarke in 1805 and they had a son and two daughters.

The full details of his life is well covered in four major documents which are available 

Further insights into his life can be seen in the Chapters relevant to the Aglio family in the Book
The Life and Times of the Dibdin - Aglio Family

The son of a notary while living in Milan as a child, his artistic talent was recognized and his was promised a place at University by none other that the Holy Roman Emperor when he came of age however all this was pushed aside by the him joining, as did many other students at he time, Napoleon who was invading Italy and Austria with the view of creating a Republic.

At the age of 20 years old, Aglio was involved in battles near Venice as a volunteer in the Legion of the Cisalpina Republic in 1897, at the Bridge of Faenza under the command of General Victor, as also at the following surrender of Ancona and at Tolentino when the peace with Pius VI was signed He was finally stationed at Perugia where he was taken seriously ill was released from Napoleon's army and moved to Rome with the view of learning landscape painting with a renowned artist Campovecchio. 

Battle of Faenza

The Battle of Faenza, also known as the Battle of Castel Bolognese on February 3, 1797 
saw a 7,000 troops from the Papal Army commanded by Michelangelo Alessandro ColliMarchi
facing 9,000 troops from the French Army under the command of Claude VictorPerrin.
The veteran French troops quickly overran the Papal army, inflicting disproportionate
casualties. The town of Castel Bolognese was located on the banks of the Senio River 40
kilometres (25 mi) southeast of Bologna, and the city of Faenza was also nearby. The action
took place during the War of the First Coalition, as part of the French Revolutionary Wars.

Fall of the Republic of Venice

The Fall of the Republic of Venice was a series of events that culminated on 12 May 1797
that led to the dissolution and dismemberment of the Republic of Venice at the hands of
Napoleon Bonaparte and Habsburg Austria.
In 1796, the young general Napoleon had been sent by the newly-formed French Republic to
confront Austria, as part of the French Revolutionary Wars. He chose to go through Venice,
which was officially neutral. Reluctantly, the Venetians allowed the formidable French army to
enter their country so that it might confront Austria. However, the French covertly began
supporting Jacobin revolutionaries within Venice, and the Venetian senate began quietly
preparing for war. The Venetian armed forces were depleted and hardly a match for the
battle-hardened French or even a local uprising. After the capture of Mantua on 2 February
1797, the French dropped any pretext and overtly called for revolution among the territories of
Venice. By 13 March, there was open revolt, with Brescia and Bergamo breaking away.
However, pro-Venetian sentiment remained high, and France was forced to reveal its true
goals after it had provided military support to the underperforming revolutionaries.
On 25 April, Napoleon openly threatened to declare war on Venice unless it democratised.
The Venetian senate acceded to numerous demands, but facing increasing rebellion and the
threat of foreign invasion, it abdicated in favor of a transitional government of Jacobins (and
thus the French). On 12 May, Ludovico Manin, the last doge of Venice, formally abolished the
Most Serene Republic of Venice after 1,100 years of existence.
Napoleon's aggression was not without cause since the French and the Austrians had
secretly agreed on 17 April in the Treaty of Leoben that in exchange for providing Venice to
Austria, France would receive Austria's holdings in the Netherlands. France provided an
opportunity for the population to vote on accepting the now public terms of the treaty that
yielded them to Austria. On 28 October, Venice voted to accept the terms since it preferred
Austria to France. Such preferences were well founded, as the French proceeded to a
thorough looting of Venice and either stealing or sinking of the entire Venetian Navy and the
destruction of much of the Venetian Arsenal, a humiliating end for what had once been one of
the most powerful navies in Europe.
On 18 January 1798, the Austrians took control of Venice and ended the plunder. Austria's
control was short-lived, however, as Venice would be back under French control by 1805. It
then returned to Austrian hands in 1815 as the Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia until its
incorporation into the Kingdom of Italy in 1866.

Taken from Wikipedia

Once in Rome it was through Angelica Kaufmann and Canova that he obtained work with the Cambridge Professor of Architecture, Wilkins,  who wished to study the antiquities of Magna Graecia and Egypt and through this work Aglio ended up emigrating to England in 1803 to work at Cambridge.

For more details his life refer to Agostino Aglio in Historical Context  which leads to his work after leaving Cambridge and his work on walls frescos  and ceilings, drawings, mezzotints, aquatints engravings and lithographs. He became paralysed in 1849 and then produced a number of watercolour paintings with his left hand.

He was working in London at the same time as W.J.M. Turner and John Constable exhibiting at the Royal Academy at the time and he was a key artist in the work at Buckingham Palace in the Pavilion which needed frescos from 8 of the top artists of the time.

Details of his work can be explored through 
Picture Gallery containing work by Agostino

That he was well respected by Italy and particularly Cremona is demonstrated by the biographical references to him and to his having a road in the town named after him.
Federico Sacchi, arelation, wrote his biography in 1868
and  there is  reference to him in the Alphabetic Biography of Painters, Sculptors and Architects from Cremona, 1827 by Giuseppe Grasselli

This road is on the West Side of Cremona Cemetary.
Thanks to people in Cremona who directed me here.

Many of the above details came from research in Cremona during  2007

There is record the he lived at Edwardes Square, Kensington, for 1814 - 1820 and designed the gardens in the Square. His son Augustine was born during this period.

In 2012 the residence association of the Square were planning for a 200th  year celebration.

The Gardens of Edwardes Square

No. 15 Edwardes Square

More Photographs in the Aglio Gallery 

Edwardes Square -- Notable Residents

Residents in Edwardes Square have included: Agostino Aglio, artist and decorator, 1814–20 (No. 15); From: 'The Edwardes estate: Edwardes Square area', Survey of London: volume 42: Kensington Square to Earl's Court (1986), pp. 249-263. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=50323 Date accessed: 11 June 2012.

The garden of Edwardes Square was laid out, ‘in groups and winding walks, in a manner different from most other squares’, by Agostino Aglio, the Italian artist and decorator who lived at No. 15 Edwardes Square from 1814 to 1820. (ref. 92) Ref. 92.

Notes made and kindly lent by Dr. Stephen Pasmore from miscellaneous papers in the possession of the Edwardes Square Garden Committee: J. C. Loudon, An Encyclopaedia of Gardening, 1822, p. 1189: R.B.


Between 1824 and 1830 he worked for Lord Kingsborough  on a set of seven books called on the Antiquities of Mexico. http://www.famsi.org/mayawriting/codices/pdf/Aglio-KingsboroughParisCodex.pdf

Sir Thomas Phillipps was involved in this project. These books were published but the process resulted in bankruptcy for Aglio and Kingsborough who died 1837 after being in debtors jail. A very sad affair. Summary of the Story.  

Between 1831 and 1834, he worked at Manchester Town Hall doing the inside decoration. It was during this time that bankruptcy occurred as a result of the Mexican Antiquities affair.

As seen from the autobiography and biographies, Agostino was a hard worker and prolific artist working still at the age of 69, with the help of his son on the decoration of the Olympic Theatre.

Soon after this he became paralysed and spent the last 5 years of his life painting watercolours with his left hand. He died at the age of 80 and is buried in Highgate cemetery

Agostino was the Father of Augustine Aglio Junior, who painted watercolours 
and the grandfather of Marion Aglio who married William Joseph Dibdin.

Catalogue of Sources and links
Catalogue of Works and Books by A.Aglio Senior

More biographical details.

Autobiography by Agostino Aglio
Taken from a handwritten summary of his life by Augustine Aglio (junior)
ABECEDARIO BIOGRAFICO DEI PITTORI .....by Giuseppe Grasselli                   Italian
Translation of ABECEDARIO   by Giuseppe Grasselli  1827 with notes                       English  
Biography of Agostino Aglio Senior by FEDERICO SACCHI     as HTML                         Italian
Biography of Agostino Aglio Senior by FEDERICO SACCHI     as a PDF file       45Mg    Italian
English Translation of Sacchi Biography                                                                        English  
A Dynasty of Artists based on the work by Marian Aglio Dibdin
Article by Yockney about the Aglio Family
Selection of  Biographical Notes from the Internet
Copy of Passport from Agostino's tour of Europe