COVENY, Christopher J.
3 August 1846
14 May 1941
Artist (painter) | Illustrator | Painter | Printmaker
Worked: Australia (NSW). Etchings
Born in Sydney on 3 August 1846, Christopher John Coveny was sent to England in 1858 to be educated at Oscof, a Catholic college near Birmingham. Although he showed artistic aptitude he studied law to please his father. He became a barrister and returned to Sydney and became an associate of W.B. Dalley.
He soon gave up the legal profession, being quite unsuited in temperament, and began teaching in Catholic colleges in New South Wales. He was self-taught in etching and made all his own tools. His etchings were printed by C.M. Buck in Sydney. In 1883 he published twenty scenes from the works of Dickens. The etchings, in style, technique and subject, owe much to the English artist Boz, so much so that some considered them mere copies and Coveny did two extra plates to clear his name.
In 1883 Coveny travelled to England to see if he could establish himself as a black and white artist. The following year he had a serious nervous breakdown and for the next fifteen years was completely incapacitated. After his recover in 1909 he seemed to have lost all artistic taste. In 1919, aged 73, he suddenly took up his work again and wrote poems which he illustrated in watercolour. He died 14 May 1941.
© Australianprints, 1996