Octavius Oakley c.1864

Octavius Oakley RWS (27 April 1800, in Bermondsey – 1 March 1867, in London), was an English watercolour portrait, figure and landscape artist.[1]


Oakley worked for a Leeds textile company. He developed into a specialist of portraits in watercolour and was given commissions by the Duke of Devonshire. Whilst living in Derby where he painted rustic scenes until he moved to Leamington Spa in Warwickshire in 1836, but returned to London in the 1840s and worked there until his death, producing paintings of street scenes and gypsies and their lifestyle.[2] His emphasis on gypsy paintings which he exhibited at the Royal Watercolour Society earned him the name 'Gypsy Oakley'.

Oakley met Thomas Baker in Leamington Spa, where Baker was living and working and in 1841 did a portrait of the celebrated painter, who was an important figure in the Midlands and Birmingham art world.[3] His youngest daughter, Isabel Naftel was also an artist.[4]


  1. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1895). "Oakley, Octavius" . Dictionary of National Biography. 41. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 292.
  2. ^ Birmingham Museum
  3. ^ Birmingham Museum
  4. ^ HCG Matthew & Brian Harrison (Editors) (2004). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Vol 40 (Murrell-Nooth). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-861390-3.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)

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