Andrews was probably the most prolific of the signature artists to appear in the earliest series of the Illustrated Sydney News. Most of his illustrations were of contemporary social life and its celebrities.
painter, engraver and designer, was probably the Mr Andrews who arrived at Sydney from Plymouth, England, via Melbourne, on 5 January 1853, as a cabin passenger in the steamship Cleopatra . Later that year C.W. Andrews applied for the position of drawing master at the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts. A motion that he be appointed was carried by the institute in September; however, no further reference to Andrews appears in the minutes and in April 1854 Joseph Fowles was engaged.
That month Andrews advertised his abilities as a 'Portrait and Miniature Painter’ of 219 Elizabeth Street North in the Illustrated Sydney News . There are no known examples of either portraits or miniatures, but Andrews became probably the most prolific of the signature artists to appear in the earliest series of that paper (October 1853-June 1855). His first signed work, a pair of moral strictures— Going to Botany and Return from Botany —appeared on 31 December 1853; his last, a print depicting Ashton’s Circus (then entertaining Sydney), appeared on 23 June 1855.
Most of Andrews’s illustrations were of contemporary social life and its celebrities, drawn in an apparently naturalistic style but often showing a somewhat ambiguous attitude to his subjects. He also illustrated music covers, an example being La Hayes’ Quadrille (ML). Many of Andrews’s illustrations, engraved by W.G. Mason , reappeared in Mason’s Australian Picture Pleasure Book (Sydney 1857), including the half-page New South Wales Volunteer Artillery and Yeomanry Cavalry and Sly Grog Shop at Hanging Rock Diggings . A full-page illustration in Mason’s book, Ceremony on Opening the Paris Exhibition at the Museum, Sydney 1854 , was by Andrews, but the subject was also illustrated by F.C. Terry – a second instance of the two appearing back-to-back. Andrews had been awarded first prize in the competition for a design for a medal to be presented to the New South Wales’ contributors chosen to exhibit at the 1855 Paris Universal Exposition and Terry’s second prize design became the obverse. That 'awarded to Mr. G. Hamilton’ was depicted in Mason’s book; an actual medal is in the Mitchell Library.
Andrews designed the drop-scene for the Prince of Wales Theatre when it opened in 1855. According to a description in the Illustrated Sydney News , this especially complex and ornate scene was 'as chaste and beautiful in the subject which it pourtrays [sic] as it is correct and appropriate to the place … in the foreground [is] a group of four female figures, emblematic of the arts of music, poetry, painting, and dancing, reclining at the foot of a fountain; in the background is an Italian landscape, painted with much taste and effect. Round the painting is an ornament frame or border, supported by two gigantic statues of the tragic and comic muse’.
There is no sign of any work in any medium by Andrews in Sydney after January 1857, when a view of a shop interior drawn by Andrews and engraved by W.G. Mason appeared in Punch as an advertisement for the tobacconist W.H. Aldis. Indeed, this may well have been published some time after Andrews had left the colony, perhaps to continue his travels. He may be the Andrews of the same initials who was at Dorchester, Dorset, in 1865, exhibiting paintings of indigenous life in the Philippines.