Born Arthur Stevens c1852 in the UK (Hinckley) – “an aristocratic Englishman” – Italinised his name for professional reasons (see article in Freeman’s Journal 3 September 1898)
He changed his name for the purpose of tutoring, his professional name became Signor Steffani)
Studied art as a student in South Kensington but also took up singing. Studied in Milan and sang in London – “Mr Gye Covent Garden Opera Company” (Illustrated Sydney News 14 November 1889)
Arrived in Victoria (likely) March 1877 aboard the vessel “Assam”. Listed as an “adult” but does not appear to have been accompanied. Was an opera singer with the Sam Lazar Italian Opera Company.
He became a singing teacher in Sydney – continued to paint and exhibit with Art Society of NSW. Was on Committee for several years. During this period, he lived on Hunter Street Sydney and was affiliated with the Italian Impressionists, Rubbo, Nerli etc. (Sydney Morning Herald (26th December 1909- Memiors of Phil May)
Several text books documenting this period of Australian impressionism, have indicated that Steffani was Italian.
In August 1898 Steffani and his wife left for Europe with the young Queensland singer, Florence Mary Schmidt (later married to the sculptor Derwent WOOD) who Steffani had tutored. They spent time and Florence studied in Italy, Paris and London.
Steffani and his wife returned to Australia in 1902 but then returned to London several years later.
Illustration of Steffani is in article he wrote about Australian singers in London – 3 August 1902.
Steffani died in London in March 1931 at the age of 79 (born circa 1852)
Arthur Stevens was born 4th Quarter of 1852 at Hinckley and an Arthur Stevens died 1st Quarter 1931 (Age 78) at Hinckley. This is likely Arturo Steffani (1852 – 1931)
Compiled with the help of Col Fullgar of Integrity Resolutions