Alfred Charles Jerome Collins or Charles Collins, as he was known, was born in Hampstead in 1851. His father George Edward Collins was also painter and etcher by profession. Charles began painting pictures at a very early age starting with landscapes with cattle and figures. He studied at the West London School of Art – but soon realised the school was damaging his style of painting. In 1876 he was living at Sherwood House, 12 Arundel Road, Dorking and in this year married Georgiana Waddingham at St Martin’s Church. They had nine children together who he often included in his work. Two of his of his sons later became painters.
Collins became well known for his figure, rustic and genre paintings in watercolour and oil, but could also work in etching and drypoint, and for many years he illustrated books for the publisher Ernest Nister. He also produced postcards for the same firm. In 1915 he repainted the signboard of the White Horse Hotel. Although spending time in Cornwall with his friend; Dorking artist; George Gardiner, he remained loyal to Dorking. For many years he retained the post of Art Master at Dorking High School.
Charles Collins was popular and exhibited many pictures in galleries throughout the UK, including 225 at the RBA, 14 at the RA, and 108 at the RCA.
He died in September 1921, after being knocked down in Vincent Lane. Charles and Georgiana are both buried in Dorking Cemetery.