Guide to the Papers of Charles Brown (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Brown, Charles Armitage
Papers of Charles Brown (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1841 - 1983
Collection Number
12 items
Language of Materials
Australian Joint Copying Project
The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) online portal was created with the assistance of the Australian Public Service Modernisation Fund, 2017-2020. The National Library of Australia gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the other foundation AJCP partners, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the UK, and all other organisations which supported the work of the AJCP, the world's most extensive collaborative copying project, operating from 1948 to 1997.


Scope and Contents

The papers include a notebook, correspondence and official documents. The notebook was kept by Charles Armitage Brown on the voyage to New Zealand on board the Oriental. Correspondents include W.S. Landor.

Conditions Governing Access

Available for Access.

Conditions Governing Use

Many of the records digitised as part of the AJCP are still in copyright. Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the owner of the original material.

Preferred Citation

Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to the location of the original material and to the Australian Joint Copying Project.

Items from this collection should include references to the location of the original material and to the AJCP nla.obj number, which serves as the online identifier for the digital copy.

Example: M Series: Journal of Capt. James Cook, 18 February 1770, British Library Add. MS 27885 (AJCP ref:

Archival History

Filmed as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1984. (AJCP reel M1877). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

The quality of this film is very poor and many pages are illegible.

Existence and Location of Originals

Keats Memorial Library. Keats House, Wentworth Place, Keats Grove, Hampstead, London NW3 2RR, England

Existence and Location of Copies

The original AJCP microfilm of the records filmed from this collection is available at the National Library of Australia [] as well as other institutions holding AJCP microfilm.

Finding-aid Notes

This finding aid is a revised online version of the original finding aid prepared by the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP), published by the National Library of Australia in 2018. The original AJCP finding aids were unpublished typescripts or photocopies available from libraries that held copies of the original microfilm.

Dates used in this finding aid refer to the date range of the records selected for filming rather than to the date range of the Series or Files.


Brown, Charles A.; New Zealand: immigration to; Landor, W.S.; Oriental (ship)


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 74, p25.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Armitage Brown (1787-1842) was born in London and had little formal education. He started his career as a clerk and as a young man was engaged in the fur-trading business in Russia. In 1817 he met the poet John Keats and together they did a tour of Scotland. For 15 months they shared lodgings at Wentworth Place, a house in Hampstead, and Brown cared for Keats when he developed tuberculosis. He was away in Scotland when Keats left England for Rome, where he died in 1821. In 1822 Brown took his son Carlino to Italy and they lived at Pisa and Florence, sharing a house with the artist Joseph Severn. While living in Italy he met many writers, such as Lord Byron, Walter Savage Landor, Leigh Hunt and Edward Trelawny.

In 1835 Brown and Carlino returned to England and settled at Plymouth. In 1840 he became a shareholder in the Plymouth Company, which aimed to colonise New Plymouth in New Zealand. In straitened circumstances, he decided that they should emigrate to New Plymouth. Carlino sailed on the Amelia Thompson and Charles on the Oriental, arriving in October 1841. He died suddenly in the following year.

Brown completed a memoir of John Keats in 1836, but it was not published until 1937.

Charles (Carlino) Brown (1820-1901) was the son of Charles Armitage Brown and Abigail O'Donohue. He spent his early years in Italy and, after returning to England with his father, he was apprenticed as a millwright. He migrated to New Zealand in 1841 and established a successful timber business at New Plymouth. He later founded a newspaper, the . He became a member of the militia in 1855 and fought against the Maoris in the Taranaki wars. In 1853 he was elected the first Superintendent of the Taranaki Provincial Government, holding the position until 1857 and again in 1861-1866. He served for brief periods between 1858 and 1870 in the New Zealand Parliament. He lived in New Plymouth for the rest of his life. In the 1890s Brown donated Keats memorabilia to the Keats House in London.

Item Descriptions

Notebook of Charles A. Brown, 1841 - 1842 (File 1)

Written in a 1838 diary and partly in code, the notebook mainly comprises notes made on the voyage of the Oriental to New Zealand (June-Oct. 1841), with daily longitudes and latitudes and copies of letters.

C. A. Brown (Plymouth) to Carlino Brown, 13 April 1841 (File 2)

Details: preparations for departure; selection of properties in New Zealand; sale of cottage.

Portrait by Joseph Severn of Carlino Brown as a boy (File 3)

Certificate, signed by Governor T. Gore Brown, appointing C. Brown as Colonial Treasurer of New Zealand, 20 May 1856 (File 4)

Certificate, signed by Sir George Grey, appointing C. Brown as a major in the Taranaki Militia, 17 November 1864 (File 5)

J. Trelawny (Monmouth) to C. Brown, 3 January 1852 (File 6)

Discusses: Brown's dislike of New Zealand; farming activities; Brown's marriage; lack of incentive for labourers to go to New Zealand.

W.S. Landor (Bath) to C. Brown, 29 October 1853 (File 7)

Thanks for Taranaki Herald; congratulations on appointment as Superintendent of New Plymouth.

M. Snooke (Chichester) to C. Brown, 4 November 1853 (File 8)

Thanks for Taranaki Herald; appointment as Superintendent.

Letter from Major Charles Brown to [?]. Re books sent to England with daughter Lucy (File)

Freda Harley. Painting of 'The Pines', the home of C. Brown at New Plymouth. (File 11)

W.S. Landor (Florence) to C. Brown, 16 July 1863 (File 9)

Thanks for New Plymouth Journal; shameful treatment of Maoris; American Civil War.

Letters of Mona Osborne (Auckland), daughter of C. Brown, to D. Kilgour and Joanna Richardson, 1948 - 1954 (File 10)

Includes: information and anecdotes about C.A. Brown; annotated books; portraits; Coronation celebrations in New Zealand; notebook of C.A. Brown; Richardson's book on Fanny Brawne. (10 letters)

Beverley A. Mitchell. Charles Armitage Brown family tree (New Plymouth, 1983) (File 12)

Contains entries for C.A. Brown, C. Brown and Mona Osborn nee Brown.