Edward Gilks

Edward Gilks
Plan of valuable suburban property near Castlemaine and known as the celebrated Taylor’s paddock Campbell’s Creek : for sale by Messrs. Richards & Carey. 1856. Lithographed by Edward Gilks. © National Library of Australia. Call Number MAP NK 2456/323.

GILKS, Edward (1822-1897) — London & Melbourne

Wood engraver, artist, draughtsman and lithographer. Produced George Allen, Plan of the ruins of the late fire at Needingworth 1847; New England, formerly known as … Kruysfontein and Weltevrieden … in the colony of Natal 1848; The digger’s road guide to the gold mines of Victoria and the country extending 210 miles around Melbourne 1853; Peter Davis, Plan of villa allotments at South Richmond, on the Yarra bank 1853; Part of the county of Bourke in the colony of Victoria ca. 1855; Drainage area of the River Plenty ca. 1855; Thomas Watson, Country lands in the parishes of Codrington & Eumeralla 1855; James Bonwick, Victoria with parts of New South Wales & South Australia 1855; W. T. Dawson, Plan of the township of Stratford on the Avon River 1855; Thomas Couchman, Plan of allotments at East Elsternwick in the parish of Prahran 1855; James Reid, Plan of suburban and special country lands, in the parishes of Marong and Leichardt about 10 miles west of Sandhurst 1855 — and numerous similar plans of around this date for the Surveyor General’s Office; Percy F. Bromfield, Country allotments in the parish of Rochford between Lancefield & Drydens Station county of Bourke 1856; The township of Beechworth 1856; The village of Warringal in the parish of Keelbundora, county of Bourke 1858; The township of Gooramadda 1859; William Martin, Plan of the parish of Gruyere. County of Evelyn 1859; Plan of Melbourne and suburbs ca. 1860; work for the Geological Survey of Victoria ca. 1860; Town and suburban lots, township of Templestowe, parish of Bulleen 1862; Robert P. Whitworth, Gazetteer map of South Australia 1867; work for J. F. Nerevy, “The torrent of the French revolutions, or, a guide to the reading of the history of France from 1789 to 1873 : with chronological and genealogical maps of the different dynasties” 1873, etc. Also produced “Sylvan’s pictorial handbook to the English Lakes” 1847 and other similar and much praised guides — “plentifully besprinkled with engravings from original sketches by Thomas and Edward Gilks. Of the illustrations, especially, we can speak in the highest praise” (The Sun, 23 Jul 1847). Also known for views, portraits, cricketing scenes, valentine cards, etc.

Born in London 11 May 1822 and baptised 4 Jun 1822 at St. Dunstan, Stepney, the son of Thomas Gilks, a West India Dock official, and his wife Sarah Creasey, who had married in 1811. Recorded as living at 21 London Street, Ratcliff, when apprenticed (Stationers) as a lithographer to Thomas Dean 7 Jun 1836 (£20). In partnership in London as “T. &. E. Gilks” 1844-1851, with his elder brother Thomas Gilks (1813-1877), author of “The art of wood engraving” (1867) and “A sketch of the origin and progress of the art of wood-engraving” (1868). Free (Stationers) 5 Jun 1849. This partnership was declared bankrupt and formally dissolved 18 Dec 1851. There is an undated trade card in St. Bride Library. Gilks married Elizabeth Morton Grant (1827?-1890), an artist in wax, at Hackney in the autumn of 1852 and then emigrated to Australia, arriving on the Alipore 19 Jan 1853. He advertised himself as a “Plan and architectural draughtsman and lithographer … Estate and survey plans, views of buildings, &c., drawn and printed with neatness and despatch” (The Banner, 23 Aug 1853), winning a prize medal for lithography at the 1854 Melbourne Exhibition. In April 1855, he became a lithographic draughtsman in the Department of Crown Lands, resigning to set up his own business once more in April 1858. He soon became insolvent, but applied for his discharge in June 1859. He applied to exhibit a “screen with fragmentary illustrations of the processes of engraving, lithography, printing, and photographic art in Victoria” at the Victoria Exhibition in 1861 (The Herald, 23 Jul 1861). He became insolvent once more in 1862, listing as “Causes of insolvency: Loss on a contract, and unprofitable employment, inability to repay borrowed money, and pressure of creditors. Liabilities, £226 14s 10d; assets, £15; deficiency, £211 14s 10d” (Mount Alexander Mail, 28 Oct 1862). His estate was sequestered. His two-year-old daughter Alice died suddenly in 1864 — a doctor giving “it as his opinion that death was the result of congestion of and effusion into the brain, produced by teething” (The Argus, 20 Jul 1864). The theft of a number of chickens and ducks from his home in West Bank Terrace was reported in 1865. Gilks again applied to exhibit specimens of printing at the Intercolonial Exhibition of 1866. He became insolvent again in 1869 — “Causes of insolvency: Loss of situation under Government, want of employment, and losses sustained through publishing a lithographic work. Liabilities, £250 6s 6d; assets £83 10s; deficiency £166 16s 6d” (The Herald, 26 Jul 1869). A few days later he was charged with disobeying an order of the court in neglecting to appear to a summons concerning Nora Connor, to whom he owed £10 in wages. In 1874, Gilks sought to have his eldest son Percy Grant Gilks bound over to keep the peace, having threatened his father with an iron bar as well as ill using his mother — the boy agreed to leave the colony, although was living at home once more when he died young in 1885. Gilks worked for the Victorian Railways through the 1870s, but his estate was sequestered for insolvency yet again in July 1881 — a detailed examination of his continuing debts was given in The Herald, 19 Oct 1881. Gilks and his wife subsequently returned to England, where she died 27 Aug 1890 and he 22 Jun 1897, both at Wandsworth. Probate on his effects of £80 was not granted to his niece Annie Gilks until 9 Sep 1911. Some of his watercolour and pencil sketches of Melbourne are now in the Mitchell Library and an album of Australian trade-cards, tickets and flyers compiled by Gilks, presumably from his own designs, survives in the State Library of Victoria.

Crown Court, Threadneedle Street, London — 1844-1846
4 Fenchurch Buildings, Strand, London — 1846-1851
170 Fleet Street, London — 1851
93 Flinders Lane East, Melbourne — 1853
66 Hanover Street, Collingwood — 1856
84 Little Collins Street West, Melbourne — 1858
Swanston Street, Melbourne — 1860
Douglas Parade, Williamstown — 1862
West Bank Terrace, Richmond — 1865-1870
Bulleen Road, Kew — 1870
Cotham Road, Kew — 1871
Hull Street, Richmond — 1873-1874
Clifton Street, Richmond — 1876
1 Park Hill Terrace, Hoddle Street, East Melbourne — 1878
3 Wellington Terrace, East Melbourne — 1881-1884
42 Cologne Road, Battersea, London — 1890
19 Salcott Road, Wandsworth Common, London — 1897

BM. BNA. Census 1841-1851. COPAC. DAAO. Engen (1985). LG. NLA. Smith (Victorian). Tooley. Trove. Twyman. Wakeman & Bridson.

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