BRIERLY, Sir Oswald Walters (1817-1894)


BRIERLY, Sir Oswald Walters (1817-1894)
painter in water-colours
son of Thomas Brierly, was born at Chester, England, on 19 May 1817. He studied painting at an art school in London, and in 1841 started on a voyage to Australia with Benjamin Boyd (q.v.) in his yacht Wanderer, which reached Sydney on 18 July 1842. He was employed by Boyd as a manager at Twofold Bay for some years, then went to Sydney and in 1848 joined H.M.S. Rattlesnake on its surveying voyage to north-east Australia. In 1850 he went on a voyage to the Pacific in H.M.S. Macander and subsequently to England, which was reached in July 1851. In that year he married Sarah, daughter of Edmund Fry, and in 1854 he joined the British fleet during the war with Russia. He sent several sketches of allied operations to the Illustrated London News, and was thus one of the earliest war artists. At the conclusion of the war he was invited by Queen Victoria to make sketches of the great naval review from the deck of the royal yacht. In 1867 he joined H.M.S. Galatea as part of the suite with the Duke of Edinburgh, and again visited Australia. His name appears as part author of The Cruise of H.M.S. Galatea which was published in 1869, illustrated by him. After Brierley's return to England in 1868 an exhibition of sketches made during the voyage was held at South Kensington. He occasionally exhibited at the Royal Academy, and he also exhibited with the old water-colour society of which he became an associate in 1872, and a member in 1880. His first wife died in 1870, and in 1872 he married Louise Marie, daughter of Louis Huard. In 1874 he was appointed marine painter to the Queen, and in 1881 he became curator of the Painted Hall, Greenwich. He was knighted in 1885 and died at London on 14 December 1894. Brierly was a good looking man whose personality made him welcome wherever he went. He was an able without being a distinguished painter in water-colour, and is represented in the national galleries at Sydney and Melbourne, and in various Australian private collections.
The Times, 17 December 1894; The Art Journal, 1887, p. 129; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; Burke's Peerage, etc., 1894; Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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