Opie was an artist, theatre painter, decorator and actor. Born England son of the painter Richard Opie and nephew of the celebrated Royal Academician John Opie. Arrived at Port Adelaide on the D’Auvergne on 21 March 1839. In the same year George Fife Angas founder of the South Australian Company commissioned him to make a view of the City from North Terrace.
Opie joined Samson Cameron’s theatrical company as an actor in 1839 making his first appearance in November 1839.On May21 1840 Opie advertised that he was painting portraits and later also that he could clean and repair oil paintings as well as teach drawing. By 1843 Opie had moved to Launceston and onto Hobart where he redecorated theatres and acting. By November 1845 he was in Melbourne where he painted portraits.
In May 1846 the Patriot reported that Opie had completed ‘several paintings of Melbourne, each taken from a different portion of the town’ for William Hull who intended sending them back to England. Opie was listed as an artist of Market Square in the 1847 Port Phillip Patriot Almanac.
By 1848 he had returned to Adelaide acting and as a scene painter in theatres. In 1851 he moved to Geelong and then to Melbourne where his life is largely undocumented. He is not known to have signed his paintings and few have been located. He died in Melbourne on 31 October 1879.
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