Summers studied under Henry Weeks and L.Watson, but after ill-health sailed for Australia in 1852 where he was a founder of the Victorian Society of Fine Arts in October 1856. He was commissioned to execute the sculptures of the explorers Burke and Wills and on completion, returned to Europe in 1867. After obtaining various commissions he went to Rome and opened a studio. In 1876 Sir William J. Clarke employed him to do four large statues in marble of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and the Prince and Princess of Wales for presentation to the Melbourne art gallery. .