Count Girolamo Nerli

Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850 - 1894. Essayist, poet and novelist (1892)

About this artwork

Robert Louis Stevenson, son of the lighthouse engineer, is best known as the author of 'Treasure Island', 1882, and 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde', 1886. His life began in Edinburgh and ended on Samoa in the South Pacific, which is where this portrait was painted. Dogged by tuberculosis for most of his adult life, the writer had to look for climates more favourable than that of his damp native city. In 1880 he married the American, Mrs Fanny Osbourne, who gave him much needed encouragement and affection.

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Count Girolamo Nerli

Count Girolamo Nerli

Nerli was born in Siena, the son of a minor Italian aristocrat and an English woman. He studied art in Florence and went to Australia in 1885. There he was associated with the Heidelberg painters and was an important influence on Charles Conder. He settled in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1893 where he opened a private art academy and again inspired a generation of young artists, including Frances Hodgkins. After eloping with a local woman, he returned to Australia but was unable to re-establish himself. In 1904 the artist and his wife returned to Europe, where he spent the remaining years of his life in relative poverty.