Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1872-1906 - Upper Cheyne Row (Chelsea)

Sculptor Angelo Castioni was born in 1834 in Stabio in canton of Ticino. He took refuge in London in 1872 having been involved in the Paris Commune of 1871. There, as a member of the Central Committee and the Commander of a battalion of the National Guard, he was held responsible for the execution of several conservatives. By profession a sculptor who specialised in finishing the work of other artists, he established himself at no. 3 Upper Cheyne Row. By the 1880s he was assistant to the most eminent sculptor of the age, Viennese-born Edgar Boehm, close friend and maybe the lover of Queen Victoria’s rebellious daughter Princess Louise. Politically he remained a radical. In August 1890 Angelo Castioni was sent to Carrara to order marble for Boehm. He made a detour to Bellinzona, the cantonal capital, where on the evening of 10 September an uprising broke out. During the troubles a conservative member was shot dead by a figure with an enormous red beard. The assassin was Angelo Castioni. He remained at liberty for four days before being smuggled out of Bellinzona. The Swiss government formally requested his extradition. Since the crime had been political, the request was rejected. It set a precedent that established the principle of immunity for political crimes in English law. Castioni died in November 1906 at no. 19 Melfort Road, Thorston Heath in Surrey.

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