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I am trying to find information on an english artist by the name of Herbert Colborne OAKLEY (1869-1944).  Other than a reference in a book entitled "Dictionary of Neglected Artists" and one entry in "The Studio" magazine (1937), I have been unable to find out much about him.  On the web, all I've been able to find are 5 works of his in storage in the Southampton City Art Gallery.  Any help you can provide in this regard (even to the extend of providing guidance as to the better UK libraries to visit) would be much appreciated.

Another question relates to how best to get notified about works by him coming up for sale at auctions.

Thank you.

Andrew Gray

Dear Andrew, I have searched for your artist in a number of reference books including several dictionaries of British artists, no luck. I would suggest that your artist's works were destroyed, or he was just a casual, part-time painter. One name you might explore is Sir Herbert Oakley. He was a vicar, writer of choir and orchestral music, and friend of Mrs. George Bernard Shaw. Oakley was president of the Bach choir in Edinburgh in 1892. His death date is shown as 1945. The dates of his choir presidency and his death would fit with your artist. One story told of Sir Oakley is that he heard a pig squeal and shouted "G sharp", someone went to a piano, hit G sharp, and said that's it. It would not be unusual for a talented person to dabble in several areas, and there were a number of artists in the circle of friends of George Bernard Shaw.
This is complete speculation on my part, but perhaps something you can explore.

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Daniel A. Hynes


Collecting, buying, selling, identifying, and caring for paintings, drawings,and watercolors (19th and early 20th century American and European). No prints, contemporary art, or works executed after 1940.


35 years as a fine art dealer, including 3 years as a gallery director. Also was art expert for Leslie Hindman's Auctioneers, and for Dunning's Auction.

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