Sculptor Agostino Carlini was born around 1718 in Genoa. He is recorded as working at The Hague under the architect Pieter de Swart for William IV of Orange from 1748 until about 1754. During these years he carved decorative wood fittings for Huis ten Bosch palace. By 1760 he had settled in Dean Street, Soho.
Carlini was a founder member of the Royal Academy in 1768. In 1783 he became Keeper of the Academy, succeeding George Michael Moser. Carlini was famous for carving marble tombs combining classical features with those of the Italian Baroque tradition. His most impressive tomb is that to Lord and Lady Milton at Milton Abbey in Dorset, which is signed and dated 1775.
The pose of the reclining figures, the deceased wife lying on her back, and the sorrowing husband resting his cheek on the palm of his hand to contemplate her, recalls seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century monuments.
From 1776 to 1778 Carlini worked alongside a number of other sculptors (including Joseph Nollekens) under the direction of the architect William Chambers on architectural sculpture for Somerset House. He carved two marble figures representing Prudence and Justice, and three keystones of river gods symbolising the rivers Dee, Tyne, and Severn. His last known works were two figures of Neptune and Mercury for the Dublin Custom House. Carlini died in London in 1790.