Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Julius Hogarth (1820–1879)

by John Wade

This article was published:

Julius Hogarth (1820–1879), sculptor, engraver and silversmith, was born on 24 December 1820 in Copenhagen, son of Jorgen Christian Hougaard and his wife Charlotte Kathrine, née Lauden. Julius reputedly trained under the Danish neo-classical sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. On 18 November 1842 at Trinitatis Church, Copenhagen, Julius married Christiane Ulrike Galle; they had one son and later divorced.

Hougaard reached Sydney in the César Godeffroy on 11 December 1852; Conrad Erichsen, a Norwegian engraver, was another passenger. Failing to make their fortunes on the goldfields, they became silversmiths and jewellers in Sydney, possibly first with Adolphus Blau. By March 1854 Julius had Anglicized his name and Hogarth, Erichsen & Co., jewellers and watchmakers, was in business in George Street. Talented artists, both created small sculptures in gold and silver of miners and Aborigines. Hogarth won attention with a three-inch (7.6 cm) high figure of a miner for J. L. Montefiore, and in 1854 exhibited figures of gold diggers at the Australian Museum in the preview of exhibits for the Paris International Exhibition next year. In 1856 Hogarth was naturalized. On 18 November 1858 at the Scots Church, Sydney, he married 16-year-old Charlotte Elizabeth, daughter of the bookseller James Tegg. They had seven children, one dying in infancy. Hogarth's first wife remarried in Denmark in 1859.

The workshop of Hogarth, Erichsen & Co. produced major testimonial pieces and sporting trophies incorporating Australian flora and fauna motifs. In 1855 subscribers put up £700 for a gold cup presented next year to the railway contractor William Randle, designed by William Dexter and John Smedley—'the most superb achievement of art yet executed in this colony', according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The firm also made the 100-guinea, silver Liverpool Cup, which Randle presented in 1856. It combined local and racing motifs: a kangaroo and emu, a native fig-tree with an Aborigine climbing up after possums, a racehorse and a jockey. As early as about 1857 Hogarth and his partner produced a range of silver-mounted emu eggs.

Heavy, well-crafted 'botanical' jewellery was his specialty, as well as presentation pieces in silver and gold, often combined with other local materials, which had a market as testimonials to visitors or public figures, such as governors, leaving the colony. The expensive raw materials, however, tied up capital in inventory. In January 1861 the business was declared insolvent and the partnership dissolved. Nevertheless, Hogarth exhibited 'strikingly Australian' gold statuettes at the 1862 London International Exhibition. Bankrupted again in May 1864, he none the less made the colony's gift for the Prince of Wales's marriage to Princess Alexandra of Denmark—a massive, gold casket, combining the influence of Thorvaldsen with Australian motifs. Hogarth then moved to Melbourne, where in 1867 he was bankrupted a third time. He produced work for other silversmiths, jewellers and medallists, including Thomas Stokes, and engraved medals for agricultural associations. His first son Hagbarth, a baker, migrated from Denmark to Victoria in 1876.

Superb casting and a fine sculptural quality marked Hogarth's work. He introduced a range of naturalistically presented Australian flora and fauna and human figures, and worked with artists such as Knud Bull, Alexander Habbe and Thomas Balcombe. Returning to Sydney with some of his family about 1878, Hogarth set up shop at Newtown, but died of chronic liver disease on 5 March 1879 at his Chippendale residence; he was buried in Rookwood cemetery. His wife and their three sons and three daughters and the son of his first marriage survived him. Although much was melted down for the bullion content, some of Hogarth's work survives. Pieces attributed to him are in the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, and the National Library of Australia, Canberra.

Select Bibliography

  • A. Andrews, Australasian Tokens and Coins (Syd, 1921), p 113
  • E. Czernis-Ryl, 'Early Australian Silver Statuette: A Story of Julius Hogarth and Ricketty Dick', Australian Antique & Fine Art Dealers’ Fair (Syd, 1996), pp 6-10
  • L. J. Carlisle, Australian Commemorative Medals and Medalets from 1788 (Syd, 1983)
  • J. B. Hawkins, 19th Century Australian Silver, vol 1 (Woodbridge, UK, 1990), p 130
  • J. Wade, ‘Julius Hogarth’, Gold & Civilisation (Canb, 2001)
  • Australian Business Collectors Annual, 1987/88, p 194
  • World of Antiques and Art, June-Dec 2000, p 12
  • Australiana, 22, no 2, 2000, p 36, 22, no 3, 2000, p 68
  • J. Wade, ‘Fanny Richardson’s Brooch’, National Library of Australia News, Oct 2003, p 3
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 18 Apr 1856, p 5, 2 Sept 1856, p 4, 19 Sept 1856, p 5.

Citation details

John Wade, 'Hogarth, Julius (1820–1879)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2005, accessed online 24 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Supplementary Volume, (Melbourne University Press), 2005

View the front pages for the Supplementary Volume

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Hougaard, Julius

24 December, 1820
Copenhagen, Denmark


5 March, 1879 (aged 58)
Chippendale, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.